Ok, I get asked all the time what my preferred lens choices are… so here we go, I am about to put into simple terms why I use the lenses that I do.
After shooting for over 15 years, I have used pretty much every Nikon lens out there (besides the crazy sports type zooms- 300-400mm lenses). Over time I found my style of shooting through a lot of trial and error. I am a hands on learner, so I had to try each lens for myself and have those ah-hah moments while shooting instead of reading every article on the internet- I have no attention span for that… so here I am writing one for you;)
I have found that I really LOVE fixed lenses, so I got rid of all the rest and have stuck with the following:
Nikon 35mm 1.4
Nikon 50mm 1.4
Nikon 85mm 1.4
The reason I really love prime lenses is because they focus quickly, they are made from quality glass, amazing bokeh, and I have to work harder for my shot (forces me to move around my subject more and work for the shot instead of just zooming in and out and praying I got something amazing;)).
I use each lens for different purposes…
The 35mm is amazing for wide shots and backlit images. I use the 35mm often when the sun is setting behind my client. I place the sun behind them so I cannot see the sun through my lens but I get a perfect wrap of sunlight around my subject… makes it much easier to focus and voila you get images like this:
For wide shots of families playing I also use my 35mm… and this is the result:
Just remember to not shoot directly into the sun (unless the sun is behind your subject and not coming directly into your lens)… makes it really hard to focus and creates washed out images.
Onto the 50mm… I use this one mostly for head-shots. It has a beautiful bokeh and does not distort your subject when you going in for that close up.
I tend to use this lens for a close up family shot as well, but not very often. If you are just starting out, this is the perfect lens to learn on! Highly recommend and it’s affordable…
Ok, last but not least… the 85mm!
I have a special love affair with this lens. It was my favorite for years… but I really only use this lens every once in a while now because I have learned to love my 35mm even more because of the settings I am shooting in, I really want to include the backdrop as much as possible and paint a beautiful photo with the surroundings. I will say however that the 85mm is truly a gorgeous lens for portraits. It’s creamy bokeh is like no other, so I will continue to use this lens forever! It’s perfect to fade out your backdrop, especially if the backdrop isn’t very interesting. I love this lens for a great posed shot in open shade. I tend to not use it in backlit situations because it really doesn’t seem to perform as well (produces a lot of haze and makes it hard to focus).
Example from my 85mm (notice the sun is coming in from the right, I am not shooting directly into the sun which makes it a lot easier to get a sharp image without haze):
Another example using open shade:
The 85mm really hones in your subject and background becomes secondary, which is great for portraits.
What is most important is that you find lenses that fit your style and that takes time and effort to figure it out! I highly recommend renting lenses before you make the investment. Good luck out there!
You can watch me shoot 3 entirely different sessions HERE with my lens choices and settings and right now it’s on sale! ENJOY:)