Photography 101: My Favorite Lenses


When I first started shooting I was using my DSLR primarily to document all my military travels.  I used the standard 18-55mm lens kit that came with the Canon Rebel xTI.  Very early in my journey, I experienced aversions in my interest of the subjects I wanted to photograph.  While landscapes, sunsets, and architectural aesthetics were all beautiful to the eye, it was the people and the emotions captured that moved me...and I wanted more.  In this transition to wedding and portrait photography, I found that prime or fixed lenses helped me best to capture the magic between two people the way I saw it. 

Every photographer will have their own lens preferences but I wanted to share some tidbits of information on the lenses that I've used or am currently using. 

To make more sense of the following section, it would really help to read my previous posts on 1) The Elements of Exposure and 2) Knowing Your DSLR Body.

18-55mm: I liked this lens when I first started out because of its versatility--decent wide angle + the adjustable focal lengths (or ability to zoom in and out on subjects).  It also made it easy to travel light with one lens versus carrying around multiple.  Great basic lens for beginners that are switching back and forth with landscape and portrait photos.
70-200mm: This telephoto zoom lens really brings in subjects closer to the camera's sensor.  It has a narrower depth-of-field which means that the subject can be in focus with a blurred background which is why I like using this for portraits.  This also allows me to give some distance and privacy for a couple especially if they are camera shy.  It's also great for sports, landscape, and wild life captures.
35mm: This is a prime lens that I was talking about earlier which basically means they only have a single focal length or in other words, you can't zoom in and out.  Instead, you rely on your feet.  *YAASSS! Cue the happy dance*  Some might say this is limiting but I actually think it's freeing.  Fixed lenses encourage me to move around to find multiple optimal angles and gives me the freedom to be creative.  The other trade-off is that these babies come with wider apertures which means I can bring the F-Stop down to F1.4.  In other words, I can place the focus on the subject while the background is blurred--giving it the romantic, ethereal, dewy look that I love.  I specifically like using this 35mm when I am shooting a couple but want to incorporate the details of their surroundings whether it be a building, garden, mountains, etc.
25mm: This is a prime lens with a smaller focal length which is perfect for objects such as invitations, rings, dress details, hands, bugs, flowers, etc.
50mm: Also a prime lens but with greater focal length.  I love using this for portraits when I want to focus on the couple and nothing else.
85mm: Another prime lens with an even greater focal length and possibly my current favorite.  I love using this one to put more distance between me and my clients which allows me to capture them in a more intimate and private setting.  

Here's an image I found on B&H Photo Video that gives a great visual of the different prime lens focal lengths:


Again, every photographer is different and will have their own lens preferences that match their photography style.  Hopefully, my explanations have helped but if you have any specific questions on lenses or anything photography related I'd be happy to help answer them.

Hannah Q.