Lens and Focal Length 101
For portraits you have to be careful what you use in terms of focal length. A longer focal length is always recommended, especially with tight, close up shots. There are two reasons for this. The first is that when you are shooting on a wide angle, there will be distortion. In a landscape, it won’t be as noticeable but a portrait could come out looking like your subject has a giant or alien head. Neither of which are an effect that we are going for here. The second reason is that the more zoomed in your lens or longer the focal length, the shallower the depth of field will be. This will further blur out your background, creating separation and bringing focus to theÂ individual. So 50mm is really the shortest focal length that I would use. Ideally, an 85mm F/1.8 is what I would recommend for everything. The 85mm focal length is amazing at 1.8. Both Nikon and Canon have super sharp versions and they can be picked up for $300-$400 used on craigslist/amazon or new for around $500. If that isn’t possible for you, the 50mm will still blow you away with the quality of images produced.