Most of the medium close-ups were taken with the combo of an X-T1 and 35mm f/1.4 with the aperture varying from f/1.4 to f/2. Occasionally, when I wanted to get in really tight, I switched over to the Zeiss 50mm f/2.8 macro. All the images were back lit with window light and no front fill at all. I simply opened the exposure to lighten the shadow and brighten the over-all scene.
The whole trick to this type of shooting is to choose a depth of field that is soft enough not to be intrusive, but does not lose its story-telling detail in the out-of-focus areas. The normal focal length adds more of a candid look that takes the viewer right into the scene. A long focal length would have added the separation of viewing from a distant perspective.