Portrait lenses

“What do you use for a portrait lens”, is a common question.

Michael's lenses

Michael's lenses

OK. So my favourites include:

  • 50mm f/1.4 for half-body shots (1Ds) and headshots (1D). Especially for avaialable open light portraits.
  • 70-200 f/2.8 for flattering headshots, in big studios.  A favourite… man, that lens is sharp.
  • 24-70 f/2.8 for fashion, etc: great for generic portrait shots.
  • 100 f/2.8 Macro for headshots: did you know, macro lenses are also great portraits lenses?
  • 16-35 f/2.8 for party shots. Wide allows me to inlcude dramatic views of room, food, etc.
  • 35mm f/1.4 for “dark party” shots, and environmental portraits.

Huh? All your lenses, Michael?

Yes. And I hope that helps show that there is not one answer to this question.

The “50-100mm” standard answer is an oversimplification. There is not “one portrait”, and nor is there “one portrait lens”.

1 thought on “Portrait lenses

  1. Your blog is fast becoming the go-to resource for me especially when I have equipment questions. I’m looking to expand my lens arsenal. I have a Nikon D300. My most recent lens purchase was a 50mm (immediately after reading your post). I now have the 50mm, an 18-135mm kit lens, and a 70-300mm (no VR). I am primarily interested in portrait photography, what would you suggest as a good addition. I’ve been nurturing the idea of getting a macro lens but can’t decide on the length.

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