Many photographers have their “go-to” lens. But once you restrict your shooting to portraits, your options shrink significantly. Polling other photographers can reveal a surprising range of opinions. Manny and Diana have tried to settle this long-running debate by shooting with Sony cameras and comparing fast-aperture lenses. They came up with a conclusion that a 50mm portrait lens would be the better choice for most portraits.
A portrait photographer’s preferred focal length is somewhere between 35mm and 70mm. But there are many different reasons for using different focal lengths. The main consideration is that you want to make sure your subject is in focus. A long-ish lens can blur distracting background elements. Also, a wide aperture can result in a blurred background. If your subject is in focus, his/her eyes and mouth should be in focus.
Portrait photographers should also be aware of the difference between zoom and prime lenses. Prime lenses typically have wider apertures and produce shallower depth of field. A zoom lens, on the other hand, produces a shallow depth of field, while a prime lens will produce a more expansive depth of field. If you plan to shoot a portrait with your camera, you’ll most likely want to use a prime lens.
A Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens has been a mainstay of portrait photographers for years. This lens is the pinnacle of DSLR lens construction. It provides exceptional sharpness at every aperture and is made to last for years of use. The lens’ customizable buttons make it easy to adjust the focal length. It’s also ideal for candid reactions inside of a church. If you’re a novice, a 70mm lens may be a good choice.