GALLERIES

        The Best Lenses for Fashion Photography

         A question I often get asked is which lenses are best for fashion photography. It’s a tricky question because the answer is not only subjective, it also depends on your budget and photography style. I made an easy overview to compare seven focal lengths!

        The first thing to consider is the focal length. If you use a camera with an APS-C format sensor, your focal length will be different from full frame sensor camera’s. For example, a 50mm lens will give an effective focal length around 75mm to 80mm at your APS-C sensor camera. I use (and prefer) a full frame camera.

        In general, prime lenses offer superior image quality to zoom lenses. This is also because they will have a wide maximum aperture that’s usually between f/1.2 and f/1.8. This enables a tight depth of field, so you can blur the backgrounds and make the person in your picture really stand out. And I’m quite sure this is where you were looking for. Besides the aperture, also the lens’s bokeh is all-important. This is the quality of defocused areas, and the aim is to produce a smooth blur effect. When your lens features a well rounded diaphragm, the bokeh will be good. The use of a maximum aperture is great for portraits and fashion shots, because this makes the focus of the viewer at the model and her clothes and not somewhere in the background.

        All the photos are made with the same camera (Canon 5D mark IV) and same settings. (S 1/320 – F/2.8 – ISO 100) And 3 meters distance between model and photographer. Minimum editing.

        24-70mm f/2.8 lens  |  3 meter distance to model

        Personally, I’m using the 24-70mm f/2.8 L very often for editorials and studio shoots. The 24-70mm is also a populair lens for every kind of photography because you can always use it. The 24mm is great for total shots and to give an overview of the location where you are working. With this lens you can also use the focal length of 50mm and when you would like to go closer, you just zoom in till the 70mm. I always use the 70mm for half-total or close-up shots. If you like to have the zoom function or when you don’t have the time to switch between prime lenses, this lens will be a perfection option for you.

        Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
        Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

        35mm f/1.4 lens  |  3 meter distance to model

        The 35mm f/1.4 is my favorite at this moment! When working on beautiful locations, this is the best option. With a 35mm I’m able to show enough details of the background (the location) but the focus is still on the model and her clothes. The wider focal length will make an interesting angle, where sometimes the 50mm can be a bit boring. The 35mm allows you to be more creative!

        Sigma 35mm ART f/1.4
        Canon 35mm f/1.4
        Nikon 35mm f.1.4

        50mm f/1.4 lens |  3 meter distance to model

        The 50mm is an all time favorite for every photographer. The focal length, when used with a full-frame sensor, has been widely considered to match the perspective seen by the human eye. There are three different types of the 50mm available, you can buy this lens with an aperture of f/1.2 or f/1.4 or f/1.8. The last one is a cheaper, but still a good option if you are new in photography. A few years ago I started to work with the 50mm f/1.8 and fell in love. Later I also worked with the f/1.2 and f/1.4 and didn’t saw a big difference between the results, so I decided to buy the 50mm f/1.4 and I’m using it every photo shoot again.

        Sigma ART 50mm f/1.4
        Canon 50mm f/1.4
        Nikon 50mm f/1.4

        85MM F/1.4 LENS  |  3 METER DISTANCE TO MODEL

        I absolutely love the focal length of 85mm for portraits and fashion and portrait work! The Sigma ART 85mm is tested as the sharpest lens ever and this is my favorite new lens that I will use for all my shoots, but the f/1.8 is great option if you want a good prime lens if you are on a budget. Click here to read my review of this lens. (In Dutch or in English).

         Sigma ART 85mm f/1.4
        Canon 85mm f/1.8

        Nikon 85mm f1/.8

        100mm f/2.8 L lens  |  3 meter distance to model

        This lens is great on location, because of the focal length of 100mm you need some space between you and the model otherwise you are really close! Or if you are working in a big studio where you have the space to take a step backwards, it’s also a good option to work with this lens. I use the 100mm when I like to have a very sharp focus and a perfect soft feeling in the background. Actually this is called a macro lens, so it’s great when you would like to make a beauty shot or a close-up of a product or the clothes.

        Canon 100mm f/2.8
        Nikon 105mm f/2.8

        + I can highly recommend these lenses too, but I don’t own them (yet?!)
        the 70-200mm f/2.8 L and the 135mm.

        The 70-200mm f/2.8 L telephoto zoom lens is also used for portraiture because you can decide to zoom between the 70 and 200mm. With this lens you can capture your model from a long distance and create the famous soft background.  Still not enough options? You can also have a look at the 135mm prime lens!

        For my Olympus Pen mirrorless camera, my absolute favorite is the Olympus 25mm f/1.2 lens.

        It’s also about personal preferences and of course about money. Some lenses can be really expensive, but in the end they are worth it. Just find out if you like to work with prime lenses or if you prefer to have the ability to zoom. Enjoy!

        Also read my post about: What Camera Should I Buy?

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        BY:
        Liselotte Fleur
        ×
        14/07/2016

        READ COMMENTS -

        24 COMMENTS

        AWESOME info! Thank you so much! Almost everything on this fashion site for men: http://www.perfecto.se was shot on a canon M50 with EF-M 22 and EFM 15-45mm. What do you think? Good enough? Been thinking of trying another zoom like the 11-22mm, but not sure about it. Also was not sure about anything longer than 15-45mm for fashion street photography or close up studio work, but your guide helped a lot!

        I want to buy a
        canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM for fashion and is not portrait, its for the whole body.
        Would u recommend?
        Or what else would you recommend as budget (but quality)option?
        Thanks

        Thank you for this. Just got a 24-70mm and was doubting. Loved the pics!

        Thank you so much! Using the 50mm for more than close up shots didn’t make sense until reading this. Brilliant!

        Love this! Thank you!

        Great post! I really appreciate the visual examples you provided to demonstrate each lens and lens use description. This gives me much needed insight into lens performance and output.

        Thanks Jelani for your comment!

        A better comparison would be to have the same crop on the model for all the images so one could see the difference the focal length has on dof, background compression and subject distortion.

        Thanks for your suggestion. That is also a good comparison!

        Hey Liselotte, thanks for this post! It is very helpful. I’m a starting fashion photographer and want to buy a new lens. I do not have a full-frame camera and I do not have a very big budget. Apart from the 50mm F/1.8, which lenses (preferably under 500 euros) can you recommend me? Thanks in advance.

        Dear Liselotte,Thanks for this great post. I am using Canon PowerShot G7 for my blogging use. It solves the purpose for me.

        Thanks for sharing great Blog, also learn a lot from these tips. it really informative and helpful.

        Thanks for sharing! I am on the market for a new lens and this was super helpful!

        Thank you! The photos with the explanation was very helpful. I think I will get the Canon 50 f 1.8

        Xoxo Falasha
        http://Www.bitemyfashion.com

        Good choice! I’m sure you will love this lens :)

        Thank you for a very informative post. I would add https://blog.qwikgear.com/ here you can get cameras, lenses for rental and can read blogs related to cameras,photography,lenses.

        Very nice article !

        Relaunching my blog/brand soon and this is by far my favorite, most comprehensive review+explanation of lenses yet. Made my decisions on how to upgrade my equipment thanks to this. Thank you!

        I’m very happy to read this, thanks Filomena! Good luck with your photography.

        Such an incredibly helpful guide! Can’t thank you enough!

        This is very helpful.

        Thank you for sharing!

        thank you for blogging about this, it was really helpful .

        Thank you for this interesting and useful post <3

        Hi,

        I found this very helpful so thank you for posting! I’m also working with a Canon 5D lll, but I’m struggling a bit with getting my focus sharp.. I was just wondering how you have your focus settings, in the menu and when you shoot?

        Many thanks!

        Frøy

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