A Step-By-Step Guide to Choosing a Portrait Lens

Ask 10 photographers what the best portrait lens is, and I’m guessing you’ll get something like five or six different answers.

There’s the brand loyalty, of course, so some folks will want a Canon lens over a Nikon lens.

There is also quite a bit of discussion about the best focal length for photography.

Some portrait photographers swear by their 85mm prime lens.

Others prefer something like a 24-70mm zoom.

That makes your job of getting a portrait lens just a bit complicated, right?

With that in mind, I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you find the answer to the burning question – “What portrait lens do I need?”

Step 1 – Check Your Bag

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I know that once you determine that you need a new lens that it’s hard to back off the drive to get one.

We’ve all been there – myself included!

However, taking a moment to survey what you’ve already got might reveal something pretty amazing…you might already have a lens that’s perfectly fine for portraiture.

One of the first lenses I bought (apart from the kit lens that came with my first camera) was a 50mm f/1.8.

Nifty fifty lenses have a great reputation for a lot of things, including being an all-around good lens for a variety of tasks, portraiture included.

Think about it…

No matter if you shoot with a full frame or crop sensor camera, a 50mm lens allows you to work in low-light situations, frame close-up shots, and get nice bokeh.

Plus, since they are so versatile, a 50mm lens can go from portraiture to landscapes to street photography and beyond.

Even if all you have is a kit lens, you’d be surprised at just how good of results you can get.

Sure, kit lenses aren’t the best in the world, but they’re among the cheapest – especially if you got one bundled with your camera.

If you’re just starting out in portraiture or just don’t have enough money to buy a high-quality lens, see what your old kit lens can do. You might be surprised!

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