The Best Lens for Portrait Photography?

What is the best lens or focal length suited for alt/glamour portrait photography? There is no one definite answer. For fun we've asked several top photographers we admire: 

What is your favorite lens (or focal length) for portraits and why?


Model: Samantha Acampora. Photo by Ed Fox.



"My immediate textbook response was "85mm 1.8" because it's just a given to use a longer than 'normal' lens for portraiture. BUT depends on your subject. The last few unique looking models I shot were purposely shot using a 50mm to distort and accentuate their unique characteristics."



 Photo by Laura Dark.


"I like the 50mm prime lens. I like the depth of field I can achieve with it. I love that I can use it in just about any lighting, studio, outside, concerts, etc. It's really my main "go-to" lens."

Model: Sabrina Sin. Photo by Damian Hevia.


"85mm and up. 200-300mm even better. 105mm is classic. This is assuming 35mm size sensor. There's a lot to this topic but it gets technical. Sensor size is an issue in determining the actual focal length you are using. An 80mm lens on a DX sensor is not the same if the same lens is on an FX sensor. it's called the lens factor. Bottom line though, a "portrait" lens is like 85mm and higher. With some fashion looks, the lens can be pretty long to get the feel. More like 300-400. Of course, you have to have the room to get back and get your subject in the frame."


Model: Jessica Garza. Photo by Pretty and Inked.


"I use a variety of lenses for my shoots. Primarily the Canon 50mm 1.2 and the 85mm 1.2."

Photo by Lorenzo Chuca.


"My all time favorite is my 85mm, great quality up close."

Model: Angela Ryan. Photo by Obscuri.



"My lens of choice is the Nikon 24-70 2.8 a close second is the 70-200 2.8."


Model: Annabelle Lee. Photo by Peter Gonzales



"My workhorse has been the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS  for the last few years. Many photogs prefer the 24-70 from Canon, but since I almost always shoot handheld from weird angles, the extra focal length of the 70-200 really allows me to stay in my shooting spot and create a number of different compositions. And with the 70-200 being an IS lens, it offers me a built in safety factor when shooting handheld to reduce camera blur from moving around. Since I work mostly in studio, the Minimum f/2.8 Aperture of the 70-200 is more than sufficient for my shooting style."


Model: Elisanth. Photo by Zatsepin Alex.


"I usually use Canon 24-70mm or 24-105mm due to versatile focal lenght. L series offers great quality. I also like manual 85mm 1.4 Samyang for nice bokeh and aperture ratio. Besides, I can use it with continuous lighting."


Model: Tressa Louise
Makeup/hair: Jennifer Corona



"My Favorite lens is a 28-80 nikkor, so that I can have a wider angle for shooting cars, and a good normal lens for 3/4 crop to headshots of my models."


If you are a professional photographer and have your own opinion on the matter, please let us know in the comments. What lens do you like to use?


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