Question about portrait photography...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Senor Hound, May 14, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    What sort of lens (mm wise) do you NORMALLY use for portrait photography, and how far away are you usually from your subject? The reason I ask is I am an aspiring portrait photographer (very long way away from being one), and I want to know kind of what the sweet spot is mm wise for a digital camera (1.5 sensor). Do you usually find yourself shooting between like 50-100? I'm looking at a lens combo (like 18-55 and 55-200), but I don't want a setup that's going to make me have to swtich back and forth between two lenses all of the time. I also know a prime lens (like a 50 or an 85) is what true professionals use, but for amateur, fun work (photos of cute girls in my class, my nephews, etc.), what would be a good lens?

    I also tried looking under the post of "great portraiture techniques" but I didn't find anything like this.
     
  2. Tiberius47

    Tiberius47 TPF Noob!

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    The usual focal lengths are between 50 and 80mm for a 35mm camera. An 18-55mm lens on a 1.5 camera will do the job quite nicely.

    But remember, you can take a portrait with any lens.
     
  3. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    I like using a telephoto. I really like my 18-200 at about 150ish because it compress' the features and keeps everything from getting out of perportion.
     
  4. ukreal1

    ukreal1 TPF Noob!

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    I love my 50mm 1.8, great lens for a great price!
     
  5. jlykins

    jlykins TPF Noob!

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    For low light, this is an awsome lens!
     
  6. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    I also have the 50mm f/1.8 that I use for portraits. I love it! Very fast lens!

    I've heard good things about the 85mm also.
     
  7. Kanikula

    Kanikula TPF Noob!

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    I use a 50mm 1.8 but im hoping to invest in the 85mm
     
  8. hedonia

    hedonia TPF Noob!

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    The 50mm 1.8 is sharp as heck and you can't beat the price. I think you should get this lens before any other and keep practicing. (Also, with a prime you can spend more time mastering composition and exposure without also being tempted to fiddle with focal length).
     
  9. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It really depends on the amount of area you have to work and the conditions. My favorite is either an 85mm or a 100mm lens. The characteristics of those lenses are my favorite. They tend to keep facial features nicely compressed where wide lenses will exaggerate them a bit. If you do not have that kind of room to work then the 50 is good. Try to stay away from anything below 35mm unless you are looking for that exaggerated look.
     
  10. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First off do not buy this junk lens if you are going to spend $600+ there are alot better portrait lenses to spend your money on. The focal length you use for portraits depends on your own personal style. Portrait photographers use the entire range of lenses that are available to them it all depends on what they like to use and the demands of a particular client.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ^^ curious why you say it's junk... just for this one purpose? Or in general.

    Anyway, back in my AE1 days I had a 100mm lense that someone actually told me was a "portrait lense". It really was AMAZING for taking pictures of people... something perfect about it and I never knew why. This was way back when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (vs just basically no idea like now) lol

    I always wondered why it seemed such a good lense for this... thought maybe one of you may have some insight. (not to snag the thread, but it may be relevant to the original question)
     
  12. goodoneian

    goodoneian TPF Noob!

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    i'm curious too, i know that it isn't the best choice for portraits but i find nothing wrong with it at all
     

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