Must buy lenses for Portrait Photography – Tips for A Perfect Click

February 24, 2015 Must buy lenses for Portrait Photography - Tips for A Perfect Click @TheRoyaleIndia 1646 0 0

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Being a photographer is indeed challenging and quite interesting too. You could be a travel photographer or a wildlife photographer professionally, but that doesn’t matter; at some point in your life, one of your friends or relatives would definitely request you to shoot a few portraits. That precisely, is the time you pull your socks, get yourself set to do some portraits. But hold on, shooting portraits aren’t as simple as it sounds. A portrait is a story by itself; it may contain emotions, expressions, culture, lifestyle etc. Capturing all this in a freeze is the challenge.

Sounds a little scary? Not to worry. Let’s look at how we would accomplish this. For now, relax!

Lens to Use

Lenses To Use @TheRoyaleIndia

The type of lens that you would carry depends on the type of portrait shoot you’ve planned. Each shoot is different and each subject is different. The challenge is how we handle them. Let’s look at them in detail.

Number of people

People portrait photography @TheRoyaleIndia

This could vary anywhere between one person to a group of tens. When we are out to shoot a single model or a small family, a 50mm prime or an 85mm prime is a good lens to start with. Prime lenses have a simple internal mechanism and give rich contrast and sharp images. The 50mm prime lens comes in f/1.2, f/1.4 and f/1.8.

24mm lense @TheRoyaleIndia
50mm lense @TheRoyaleIndia

The lens with wider aperture is more expensive and the quality of the image matches the cost. With the group size getting bigger, a 24mm prime gets handy. Wide angle lens like 16-35mm or 17-40mm can help. But remember, wide angle lens results in distortion at the edges, which sometimes can be erased but not every time.


Location Portrait photography @TheRoyaleIndia

Location plays a vital part in shooting portraits. When we need head shots of a model, a studio would suffice. A sea as the background would add spice to a fisherman’s portrait. Examples are in plenty. In short, the location brings the story into a portrait. I personally prefer shooting portraits at their own place. For example, while shooting kids in their place not only helps the kid to feel comfortable, but also helps me in using the kid’s own toys as props. When the client’s place is little small, a wide angle lens goes well. When outdoor, where we have to capture the surroundings, again the wide angle comes to the rescue. 

Canon tele zoom @TheRoyaleIndia

There are times a tele-zoom lens helps when the subject is far from the photographer. The advantage of a tele-zoom is twofold. One, as the name says, we can zoom into breaking the distance; two, a tele-zoom lens gives a very good depth of focus compared to a wide angle lens. A 70-200mm f/2.8 from Canon is a very good tele-zoom lens.

Kids portrait photography @TheRoyaleIndia
Kids portrait photography 1 @TheRoyaleIndia

Nature of the subject

A kid cannot fake an expression but an adult can. When dealing with a kid, the photographer must be really fast to capture the expressions. The expression lost is lost forever. Similarly, while capturing the portraits to establish lifestyle, the expressions of the subjects cannot be faked. The photography must be candid. It would be unjust of the photographer to request the subject to recreate a scene. The photographer must be really fast in these situations. When the sensor gets more ambient light, it becomes easy for the photographer to capture images at a higher shutter speed. We need a wide aperture lens to do this. An f/1.2 or an f/1.4 lens or even f/2.8 should help.

Other Accessories

Apart from the lenses, it is advised to carry a reflector or a flashgun depending on the need.


This is totally at the photographer’s discretion. A good photographer can make the best of a kit lens as well. It is better to explore the kit lens and the existing lens than to invest in the expensive lenses without knowledge. If you have the plan well in advance, you can actually make use of flashguns and reflectors to get the light you need and shoot accordingly.

Final Word

About 80% of the time, we would need a prime lens. A 50mm prime lens comes with different apertures and the cost varies from 5 Thousand to a lakh. A proper plan can help you save money and get excellent images. Welcome to the world of Portraits.

Categories: Camera, Technology/ Reviews