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Lens Selection for Portrait Photography Tips

There isn’t any solid rule for lens selection in portrait photography, but as rule of thumb many pro photographers prefer a telephoto lens for portraiture photography.

There are some photographers who use standard lens, or even wide angle lenses for portraits with great success. In this article I am going to discuss different lens options.

Lens Selection

Lens sharpness is the most important factor. Usually the Kit Lens (the lens that comes as a package deal with entry level cameras) is not your best option. Photographers prefer to use a sharp lens with wider aperture opening to control the softness of the background. Usually a 50mm lens with f1.8 or f1.4 aperture is a good starting point. These lenses are relatively not very expensive. They provide very sharp images as well as wide open aperture to blur the background (Bokeh effect).

Bokeh Effect in Portrait Photography

Photographer used a telephoto to capture a nice soft background and Bokeh effect
Photographer used a telephoto to capture a nice soft background and Bokeh effect

Lens Focal Length

I have covered the Lens Focal Length in this article. Check it out for more information in Lens Focal Length.

As I mentioned above many pro photographers prefer a telephoto lens for portrait. The main reason is the compressed perspective of a telephoto lens makes the face more beautiful. Here are examples of portraitures using telephoto:

Portrait Using Telephoto

Notice the Compressed effect of a telephoto in this image
Notice the Compressed effect of a telephoto in this image
Portrait_Workshop_-13

There are times that using a wide angle lens can tell a better story of subject’s personality, especially in photojournalism photography style. Here are more examples:

Using Wide Angle for Portraitures

Wide Angle lenses can be used for portraitures, they have a unique way to tell the story.
Wide Angle lenses can be used for portraitures, they have a unique way to tell the story.

wide Angle lens in Photojournalism

Many photojournalists use the wide angle lenses
Many photojournalists use the wide angle lenses

What is a good all around lens for Portrait Photography

I suggest using a 50mm lens for starting, as it creates the image very close to what human eyes can see perspective wise. This feature helps you to learn Portrait Photography quicker.  

Standard Lens (50mm) with a wide open Aperture, can capture amazing photos.

    

That is all for now. Stay tuned for my next article about Lighting for portraits as I will discuss different Light sources.

If you are like me and learn better by hands on and practical examples, check our Upcoming Classes in Portrait Photography. As always feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for upcoming tutorials and tips.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

Omnilargess Portrait Photography Classes

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Portrait Photography | Flash Edition

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