View Full Version : Best Lense for Portraits?

August 12th, 2009, 11:35 AM
I have my first session coming up in a couple weeks but am not sure what type of lense is best for portraits. I have the lense the camera came with, i believe it's 18-55mm but would like to rent and try out some other lenses and see what works out best for up close AND far away.

any suggestions? Also, is there a website that teaches you what the different lenses are used for? What type of shots a fisheye lense is best for, wide angle, etc?

I currently have a Canon Rebel Xs with the lense it came with and a sigma 10-20mm lense.


August 12th, 2009, 12:33 PM
Not sure if this is totally related, but it has good stuff in it...


August 12th, 2009, 12:51 PM
I have the Canon 15mm fisheye (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=151&modelid=7321) and without a full-frame camera it just doesn't do enough of the fish eye effect. I have the XTi and I rarely use it. I used a full frame camera last winter with the lens and it looked a lot better.

August 12th, 2009, 02:11 PM
I have the Canon 15mm fisheye (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=151&modelid=7321) and without a full-frame camera it just doesn't do enough of the fish eye effect. I have the XTi and I rarely use it. I used a full frame camera last winter with the lens and it looked a lot better.
For portraits?

Suki I use almost exclusively either my 50 1.8 or my 180 2.8 for portraits.

Most recently it's been my 180, but earlier in the summer it was the 50. You can pick up a used 50/1.8 for well under $100. Check www.photography-on-the.net/forum for great deals on used Canon equipment.

50 1.8
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3597/3631532396_d82c6c2d08.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/23photosdotcom/3631532396)

180 2.8
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3486/3772405636_601fd9459f.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/23photosdotcom/3772405636/)

August 12th, 2009, 02:40 PM
If you have access to one, a good telephoto lens is good too for blurring out the background and making your subject pop.

August 12th, 2009, 02:56 PM
I've been googling my eyes out and have found a few references to a 70-200mm F.2.8 IS, looked it up and a) that sucker is huge! and b) expensive!

Tiffany - I'll check that place out and see what I can find within my dwindling budget.

What about a local place to rent lenses from? I was sent a link for one online, based out of CA but would like to do something local because I fear shipping things, lol!

August 12th, 2009, 03:07 PM
you are right on both accounts regarding the 70-200. It's one of the most unused tools in my camera bag but I've been forcing myself to use it more.

You can rent lenses from Camren. I love working with them.

August 12th, 2009, 08:40 PM
For portraits?

No, not for portraits, just a general comment regarding a fish eye and a non-full framed camera.

August 12th, 2009, 10:18 PM
If your on a limited budget but need a good lens, start with renting. It will also let you try before you buy...which is a good thing dealing with expensive lenses...be sure you know what you really want or need before making any expensive purchase!

If your on a REALLY limited budget but want to buy something, the 50 F1.8 works well. Most primes make good portrait lenses...particularly as the focal lengths get longer as you'll get more bokeh(background blur) with wider apertures. An 85 F1.8 is also a super portrait lens and is somewhat inexpensive.

For studio work, i really like the 24-105 F4(or 24-70, equally pricey)...but its pricey...i havent bought one yet but its on my short list of must have lenses. Outdoors, where you can get farther away, the 70-200 F2.8 works really well. Ive actually come to really like my 100-400L as a portrait lens...the long focal length creates nice, creamy, flowing backdrops with just about anything in the background...but its super heavy, big and not much fun to haul around on a long photoshoot.

Most wide angles arent particularly good portrait lenses because of the distortion they create...it can make some totally out of proportioned heads, facial features and other unsightly things. If your going after something oddball or artsy, they can become useful though....

August 19th, 2009, 10:49 AM
www.prophotorental.com They are in Boulder and a breeze to work with if you want to pick up your rentals.

August 20th, 2009, 11:54 AM
best lens for portraits = 50 prime

edit: As Tiff said, you can get em pretty cheap too. The Canon 50 1.8 is only $99 new, and even cheaper used.

August 20th, 2009, 12:03 PM
I've got the Canon 50 1.8 and I like it, but IMHO it's too slow in focusing for portraits of children. Or at least my children anyway! I've got a 3 & 4 year old that won't stay still.