What Kind of Lenses Are Good for Taking Portrait Photography?

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You might not use the same lenses for portrait photography that you would for outdoor photography. Find out what kind of lenses are good for taking portraits with help from an experienced director of photography in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Photography Basics
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dan Reinecke with Unknown Media. Today, I'd like to talk to you about lens selection for portrait photography. Now photography is a very subjective thing and really you can use any lens that you feel is necessary for the shot. Now me personally when I shoot portraits I use an 85 millimeter lens. Now a 50 millimeter lens on a full frame sensor is basically what your eye sees. Your eye basically sees a 50 millimeter lens, right? Now an 85 millimeter it's going to be a bit more zoomed in than a 50 millimeter would which this will actually compress the background. It will make it a little bit more blurred out. So being that it's a little bit more blurred out, the picture will actually be a little bit more focused in on the subject in front of the lens. Now as well as compressing the background, it will actually compress the person's face a bit which causes it to be a little bit more of a flattering look than if it were a wide angle lens. Now the opposite of that would be if you were to take a 16 millimeter lens and put it real close. It would almost cause their facial features to be over-exaggerated and that's not really a flattering look. So what I would say is stick with an 85 millimeter lens with your portraits and you should be just alright. I'm Dan Reinecke. Take your best shot.


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