Top 10 Lenses for Shooting Pro-Caliber Portraits - Trust Me Shops
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Top 10 Lenses for Shooting Pro-Caliber Portraits

Top 10 Lenses for Shooting Pro-Caliber Portraits

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Many experienced photographers think of fast moderate telephoto lenses, as “portrait lenses” because so many professional portrait photographers rely on them. Lenses in the 85-105mm focal length range with maximum apertures between f/1.4 and f/2.8 can capture frame-filling headshots and head-and-shoulders portraits at moderate shooting distances, thus minimizing apparent perspective distortion—the dreaded “big-nose effect”—in close-ups.

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Many experienced photographers think of fast moderate telephoto lenses, as “portrait lenses” because so many professional portrait photographers rely on them. Lenses in the 85-105mm focal length range with maximum apertures between f/1.4 and f/2.8 can capture frame-filling headshots and head-and-shoulders portraits at moderate shooting distances, thus minimizing apparent perspective distortion—the dreaded “big-nose effect”—in close-ups. And they deliver very shallow depth of field at their widest apertures, creating compelling pictorial effects by isolating the sharply rendered subject against a pleasingly soft background. They also double the working (camera to subject) distance compared to normal lenses, making the photographer less intrusive and intimidating—a big plus when taking portraits of skittish subjects like children.
While fast moderate telephoto lenses do indeed make great portrait lenses, they’re not the only choices. Many legendary photographers have used lenses ranging from 21mm to 200mm (full-frame equivalent) to capture some of the world’s most memorable portraits. Innumerable examples have been shot with normal lenses, and telephotos ranging from 135mm-200mm have often been used to capture incisive, detailed, low-distortion portraits. Countless “environmental portraits” of artists and craftspeople have been shot with wide-angle lenses in the 24-35mm range, revealing the subject in the context of their studio or workshop to create visual composites that embody their true identity.
Since focal length alone doesn’t determine what makes a great portrait lens, what does? There’s no simple answer, but here’s a short list of the optical and operational characteristics that accomplished portrait photographers often look for.

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