What Lenses are in My Bag?
Okay so today I thought I would tell you a little bit about what I shoot with - specifically when it comes to lenses. Why? Because just like the settings on your camera, lenses do have a profound effect on what the final image will look like. There are some lenses which are more ‘portrait’ lenses and lenses which are more for architecture or landscapes. However, there is no right or wrong on when to use a lens, but what lens you have can impact the final image.
Before I go into detail, I should point out that I shoot with a Nikon D750, which is a full-frame camera. If you are shooting on a crop-frame or crop-sensor camera, keep in mind that your lens will have a crop factor of about 1.5. So a 50mm lens on a crop-sensor camera will act more like a 75mm lens. I should say that I also shoot mostly with prime lenses. These are lenses that don’t zoom. It allows them to have a wider aperture, giving you great blurry background capabilities!
Now onto what lenses I keep in my bag:
1) 50mm 1.4
This lens was my first ever prime lens. With prime lenses, they generally have a lower aperture setting as well, allowing you to get really burry background.
Uses: Portraits, Details, Product Photography
When considering portraits you don’t want to shoot with a lens that is too wide because it starts to give into a lot of distortion. I generally don’t shoot wider than my 50mm for portraits, but occasionally I have used my 35mm if I want to capture some of the surrounding landscape that my subject is in.
When shooting details, the 50mm 1.4 is great. Again because you don’t get as much distortion as you would with a wide angle lens and you can really get a blurry background. I use it a lot for when I shoot weddings or even on Interior Shoots when I’m capturing detail shots.
And most of my product photography is done with my 50mm lens. Occasionally I will use my 35mm lens if I need a bit more width, but I will start to see some distortion in the image that I will have to take care of in post.
2) 85mm 1.8
This lens is one of my favorite portrait lenses because I get very little distortion in the face and also I get a nice compression between the subject and the background. I also love the fact it goes down to an aperture of 1.8 allowing me to get some really great blurry backgrounds.
I would say this lens is mostly a portrait lens. Mostly because is has very little distortion and allows you to very clearly separate your subject from the background. Its also a light lens, not hard to carry.
Again, the 85 gives great compression, really separating your subject from the background. Here I used a shallow depth of field to further call attention to my subject.
However, I do occasionally use it for detail shots in Interior Photography if there is enough space. Again mostly because the distortion is minimal and the compression from the background is beautiful.
3) 35mm 1.4
This lens is such a gorgeous lens and the quality is amazing. I spent a nice penny on this one, but totally worth it. I love it for lifestyle photos and portrait photos that are less about the face, but more about the context. However, because it is a wider lens there is a bit more distortion that will need to be corrected in post and it is not recommended to use on portraits that are close up - because their nose will quickly become super large!
Uses: Portraits and Lifestyle Photography
This lens is great for lifestyle photos because it gives you the sense that you are in the photo. Its a more ‘real’ lens in that case. However, if you get too close to someones face as a portrait shot, you will start to see that wide-angle distortion.
4) 24-70mm 2.8
This is my go-to landscape/travel/interior photography lens. I love it because it is so versatile. I have the ability to get wide (but not too wide) and also crop in close and get some nice compression for portrait shots. I take this lens when I travel and its the only one I bring. Its big, and heavier than all my other lenses so I have to bring my special travel camera bag but its totally worth it. I also use it for my interior photography as well as weddings. I use it almost exclusively at wedding receptions because it makes it feel like I’m right in the action!
Uses: Travel, Landscape, Architecture, Interiors, Wedding Receptions
Whats great about the 24-70 is that you can zoom to get a closer shot. The photo below was taken around 70mm, but I was really far away.
Okay friends - that is pretty much it for lenses in my bag! There are a few other lenses I don’t have in my bag that I rent. Its a great way to save money if you only happen to use the lens for a specific purpose. For example, the 70-200mm zoom lens is one of my go-to’s for wedding photography. However, because is a) so expensive and b) so freakin heavy I don’t like to use it other than weddings. Its like a workout!
If you have questions, feel free to get in touch! I also offer one-on-one mentoring if you think you want to take your photography to the next level.