The best lenses for outdoor portrait photography
You’ll often hear people talk about lenses altering perspective, but that’s not strictly true. Changes in perspective are caused by the distance that you are shooting from; the lens just governs how much of the scene is included.
The idea that lenses affect perspective comes from the simple fact that to get the subject the same size in your shot you will be much further away if you use a long focal length lens than if you use a shorter one.
So shooting from a distance with a longer lens will make the subject appear closer to the background than if you shoot closer in with a shorter focal length.
The classic lens for portraits is a short telephoto. These are lenses with a focal length of around 40mm to 70mm on an APS-C camera or 60mm to 105mm on full-frame cameras.
These lenses are great for shooting head-and-shoulders portraits from a reasonable distance away. This means there’s little distortion of the subject’s features.
- The shooting distances mean that you get a ‘flattering’ perspective in your shots.
- Fixed focal length versions of these lenses offer wide maximum apertures, so are good for getting shallow depth of field.
- Because it’s a classic choice, it’s hard to make your shots look creative, as you’ll always be the same sort of distance from the subject, and get a similar perspective.
PAGE 1: Outdoor portrait photography overview
PAGE 2: Master the basics of outdoor portrait photography
PAGE 3: How to make the most of natural light
PAGE 4: Master depth of field in outdoor portraits
PAGE 5: The best lenses for outdoor portrait photography
PAGE 6: Using telephoto lenses for outdoor portraits
PAGE 7: Using wideangle lenses for outdoor portraits
PAGE 8: Essential flash techniques for outdoor portrait photography
PAGE 9: How to set up and use your flash outside
PAGE 10: Easy flash techniques and ways to fire your flashgun