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How to get Professional Photos with a Kit Lens: "Canon 80D" 5 Min Portrait

Canon 80D RAW DNG Files:Zip 1 (143 megs) / Zip 2 (120 megs)
Access all the FULL RES Exported and Edited JPEGS Right Here.

The Challenge: Use a Canon 80D and kit 18-135 lens for a “5 Min Portrait” at Norman Porter Jean Company. Similar to past “5 Min Portraits” I had never done a photo shoot with the Canon 80D or kit lens. This is honestly what photography is all about, it’s all about being able to pick up any camera, any lens at any time and get professional results.

Watch me edit all 360 RAW Photos from this photo shoot Right HERE.

Order a Canon 80D Kit: Amazon / B+H /


I tend to worry about every photo shoot I set out to do and I am sure you guys are the same way. Now it’s not a worry like I don’t know what i’m doing it’s more the not knowing what you may encounter and if you’re going to come home with keepers. I think it’s that aspect of it that worries me the most, the being able to come home with keepers and not let everyone down including the subject. On top of it all I not only need to get winning photos but I have to perform on camera while doing it.

The Canon 80D follows the very popular 70D and 60D all of which were great little cameras for stills and video. The 80D is not a major progression over the 70D but some of the new video features really make it shine. I will tell you I was never pleased with the quality of the photos I got from the 70D when I tested it out many years ago.


The kit Canon 18-135 USM lens is the newest lens of it’s kind and offers a large zoom range along with image stabilization and some electronic contacts on the bottom side to allow you to attach a power zoom module for zooming during video. We all know I rail on kit lenses but if it’s all you have you might as well do the best to get winning shots.

Lets look at some positives for this lens. It allows you to get a fairly wide angle at 18mm as well as giving you nice reach all the way out to 135 all with image stabilization. It’s not too heavy, it has a nice feel to it and seems to be well built and quiet when it comes to autofocus during video.


The cons are that it’s a variable aperture lens. What that means is at 18mm it’s a F3.5 as you zoom out towards 135 the aperture closes down all the way to 5.6. What is happening is you are losing light the more you zoom. This makes it more difficult to shoot in manual as your exposure will change automatically as you zoom. It’s a fun little challenge to wrap your head around.

If you’re stuck in the auto modes and looking to take your photos to another level be sure to check out the FroKnowsPhoto Guide to Getting Out Of Auto. This guide is going rapidly teach you how to understand the exposure triangle, master composition and send you on the way to capturing great photos.

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How did this shoot come about you may be asking. Simple, I got in touch with Mike at Norman Porter via instagram and said I would like to offer you free professional photos in exchange for allowing us to film the photo shoot and share it with the world. Like I have said time and time again, there are no more gatekeepers, you can get to anyone you want to with a little work.

My goal with this shoot was to capture Mike going through the process of sewing a pair of jeans. This means capturing the wides, mediums, tight and detail shots that make up a photo story. You know I am all about the photo story, the more images that work together to paint a picture as if you were there, the better.


On top of getting solid photos we wanted to make sure we put the camera through it’s video paces. We made sure to finish doing all the stills before switching into shooting video. I love this little guy for shooting video. The touch screen is ace for moving focus points around with ease. The dual pixel af works extremely well though we didn’t leave that on full auto most of the time because we wanted focus to be in a specific place.

One of the coolest features of the 80D is the ability to wirelessly connect it to a phone or tablet. From your phone or tablet you can control all the functions from focus point to exposure to the big one, starting and stopping recording. Most people think their cameras can currently do this but they can not. The Canon 80D is one of the only cameras out there that lets you start and stop recording video from an application.


How did the camera handle for stills? Honestly, it was very happy with how it handled. For me, once I got my exposure to a good place I was able to focus on shooting all while keeping the fact that I had to worry about the variable aperture lens at the front of my mind.

The camera feels fine in the hands, the buttons are in the places you would expect them for a Canon and the touch screen is one of my favorite things on a camera. Get this, the Canon 80D lets you touch the menu as well as swipe / pinch and zoom your images where as the Canon 1D X Mark II does not. Personally I love having the ability to touch the screen not only to look at images but to change my settings.


For the value this is a solid starter kit. It’s fine to start with a kit lens to get your shooting legs but over time you will see that the kit lens is holding you back. When you’re ready to step up your glass game for this camera be sure to check out something in the range of 17-55 2.8 as well as a 70-200 2.8. Don’t forget that Sigma is making some nice fast glass as well these days.

Am I happy with the results? Yes, I am 100% happy with how the photos turned out from the large 24×36 print to the photo books. Going into these shoots I always think to myself if they don’t look good i’ll come back with my D5 and all my lenses to redo it. In the end the images look fantastic, the colors and tones are very nice, my focus was really good and the final products both stills and video are extremely professional. That’s what it comes down to, did I get the shots, the answer is a big YES!!!

Canon 80D RAW DNG Files:Zip 1 (143 megs) / Zip 2 (120 megs)

Are you looking to use your DSLR or Mirrorless camera to capture video like a pro? If so check out the FroKnowsPhoto Guide To DSLR and Mirrorless Video. RIGHT HERE.

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Access all the FULL RES Exported and Edited JPEGS Right Here.

Canon 80D Playlist of all videos from this “5 Min Portrait”