Use a High-Quality Prime Lens When Shooting Portraits

By Robert Correll

The photo shown was taken with a professional 50mm prime lens mounted on an entry-level consumer dSLR from Nikon. The portrait was taken early one summer evening. Although it looks like a bright afternoon, it’s past 7:30. The light is amazing.

When shooting portraits, try to open the aperture as wide as practical so that the background blurs pleasingly. The blur differentiates the background from the subject, which makes them stand out more.

The combination of crop factor and focal length makes this a near telephoto portrait. Open up the aperture nice and wide. That helped the camera set an acceptable shutter speed and ISO. This shot was taken using aperture-priority mode at 50mm, f/2.8, 1/80 second, and ISO 280.

Keys to this photo:

  • Framed off-center to include background (cropping optional).
  • Fast, professional near-telephoto prime lenses perform magnificently.
  • Smooth, aesthetic tone caused by natural light from windows.
  • Aperture not so wide that the depth of field shrinks to nothing.
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Quality lenses help you capture fantastic shots.