- Choosing your perfect beginner portrait lens
There’s a lot to consider when choosing a new lens – It can be quite daunting especially if you are new to the photography scene evaluating between the many lenses to choose from. Here are some tips on picking your perfect beginner portrait lens.
E.g., RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
RF - Mount system
50mm - Focal length
f/1.8 - Aperture
STM - Motor type
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you decide on a lens
• What are you shooting
• How could it elevate your current gear collection
• How it could change or add to your photography skills
Portrait lenses are best suited for general photography, they are commonly used for taking portraiture photos due to their ideal focal length, most natural and closet to the human eye for taking beautiful photos of people.
Portrait lenses are a great addition to your kit; either for parents who are wanting some photographs of your newborn baby or toddler. Events, in low light night for an affordable price point and, for couples wanting great portrait photos.
A portrait lens delivers an intimate feel to your shot, by softening out the foreground, background, and directing your eyes towards the subject. These lenses are also fantastic value for money, especially given the quality of the results of your shots.
By having a set focal length - usually 50mm, rather than a zoom (variable focal length), these prime lenses can be built with a large aperture which gives this iconic professional look. The name prime lens indicates that in order to zoom in on a subject, the photographer will need to physically move closer, unlike a lens with zoom which would allow you to change the focal length on the lens.
The quality of the soft out of focus areas of your image are described by a Japanese term “Bokeh” - the larger the maximum aperture, the greater the effect. An f/1.4 aperture is approximately 1.6 times larger than f/1.8.
Fun Fact: Prime lenses are often more compact and lightweight than zoom lenses.
Here are some beginner portrait lens suggestions for the different Canon systems
Here are some videos to give you a bit of an insight to a portrait lens!
Alisha Lovrich is a sports photographer based in Auckland who is in the Athletics New Zealand team photographer, at the Olympics in Tokyo 2021.
Originally from Hong Kong, Elaine Li is an experienced travel photographer and Instagram sensation based in sunny Sydney. She is immensely passionate about travel and exposing herself to new cultures around the world – always with her camera in hand. Here Elaine shares her favourite photography locations in Helsinki and Lapland. From snow-white fields to ethereal pine forests, Finland sure has a lot to offer.
Mike Langford, travel photographer, book producer, landscape photographer, educator and awards judge, shares his story.