50 mm lens for family portraits?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Haleighbeth, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Haleighbeth

    Haleighbeth TPF Noob!

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    yesterday was my birthday, so my husband surprised me with a 50 mm lens. I have been using a kit lens for a while now so I was pretty excited to have something new that would make my images have more depth of field... however, the portraits I normally shoot are families of at least 2-4. Most the time 2 adults, 2 kids.. should I return and get a 35 mm instead for what I normally shoot for?
    I've read to keep the 50 for closer shots, or shots of just the kids, and just the parents separately then use the kit for family portraits of 2 people or more.. just seems like a lot to have to switch the lens for one session.
    What are your opinions?
    (Images bellow on the type of shoots I usually do, done with kit lens)


     

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  2. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    what focal length did you shoot those three at?
     
  3. Haleighbeth

    Haleighbeth TPF Noob!

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    About 28-35 mm
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Greetings! And Welcome, since I don't remember welcoming you before.

    I would like to make sure I understand what you're trying to do. You wrote; "..have more depth of field...". The way I understand that is that you wish to increase the depth of field so that more of the fore- and background are in focus. If that's what you intend, then yes, the 35mm lens will keep more of the fore and background in focus. (or better focus anyway)

    Most portrait photographers are trying to do the opposite, that is to minimize the DOF to blur out the fore and background while leaving their subjects in focus.

    So please clarify your intentions so we don't get thrown off track. Thanks.
     
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My opinion is; you don't need to switch lenses. Just use the 50 for all your shots.

    If the 50mm forces you to step back a couple of steps, then do that.
     
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  6. Haleighbeth

    Haleighbeth TPF Noob!

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    I'm sorry for confusion! I'm basically just wanting to make sure all of my subjects will fit into the frame with a 50 mm since I'm usually shooting more than 2 people at a time:) or if I should switch the 50 mm to a 35 mm since those two are most in my price range at the moment.
     
  7. Haleighbeth

    Haleighbeth TPF Noob!

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    Okay thanks so much, wasn't sure if that would affect the quality of my images or not, but I'll go for that!
     
  8. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Oh, o.k. No, just step back a few steps.

    BTW: When you get closer to your subjects, you introduce another problem; that of lens distortion. If you get too close, you get noses and chins that look disproportionately large, and your subjects will hardly recognize themselves. So stay back.

    Also; many professional portrait photographers will use a much longer lens than 50mm. In my lens stable, I have (aside from my zooms) a50, a 58, an 85, a 105, a 135, a 180, and a 200, all primes and all intended for portraiture.
     
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    In the interests of family unity, I would keep the gift lens. A 50mm is a fine lens. ADD, later, a 35mm if you want one, but keep the gift, and learn when and how to use it. My preference is for the 50 overt the 35, and for working from slightly farther back, with a lens with a narrower angle of view behind the subjects.
     
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  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you will find that the quality of your images using the 50 will please you.
     
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  11. Haleighbeth

    Haleighbeth TPF Noob!

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    Okay, yank you! Great tips.
     
  12. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Remember, you change perspective by camera to subject distance. You change the subject framing with focal length. The 50 will take excellent images with the same framing as the 35. You just need to be a little further away. Since you value shallow depth of field, the 50 will do this better than the 35.
     
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