what’s the best starting lens for a portrait and fashion photographer?
There’s some must have lenses in a portrait and fashion photographers camera bag, but and there’s this one, to get any budding photographer started. It’s easy to get sucked in to the money hole of photographer but do you really need it? There’s the old adage ‘a bad worksman blames his tools’ and one of my favourite sayings ‘all the gear but no idea’. The best camera is after all the one that you have with you. So I suggest to get to to know your camera, learn to work with the light and see what you can produce with my suggestion for your first camera lens (canon biased)…..
The plastic fantastic Nifty Fifty! Probably the best piece of photographic equipment for under $500. Also known as 50mm 1.8 by canon. It’s a prime (it doesn’t zoom) so you will need to move around to make the composition work. Prime lenses in general mean a sharper image and it’s f1.8 aperture which is great for low light or those pretty blurry pictures with a low depth of field. If it’s good enough for fancy pants photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, then it’s good enough for me.
A 50mm lens on a full frame camera will have roughly the same view as the human eye, so it naturally works well with your ideas and creativity, perfect for those fashion shots and it works well with portraits too.
It started me on my photographic journey and yes, you can throw a lot more money at lenses for the highly acclaimed and beautiful L series, but the photo is only as good as the photographer, and there really is no better value glass. The old version canon 50mm 1.8 ii is what I used for some of my favourite photos in my portfolio and the newer canon 50mm 1.8 STM is unreal for $125. Here’s a quick comparison video I made..
and some portrait and fashion photography of my own taken with this little lens…..