Look at these two pictures, can you see the difference? Alright, now can you tell me what lens was used on which? I’ll give you a hint, one is a 14mm and one is an 85mm.
It is pretty easy to notice the difference in these two images. One is much less distorted and has a much less distracting background.
When shooting portraits, it is important to choose the right lens. I personally love doing portraits because I can move, the subject can move, and I can try different angles and lenses and not miss a shot.
Let’s look at this scenario, you are doing outside portraits, and you have your choice between two common kit lenses, the 18-55 and the 55-200. What one should you use?? They both have a maximum aperture or 3.5 and have virtually identical optics inside. The 55-200 is usually the best choice for shooting one or two people outside and here is why.
As you can see above, longer focal lengths give you less distortion and decrease your depth of field, making your background more blurry and less distracting.
With the wider angles, like my 14mm, the person looks pretty strange… I can see the tops of his shoes and sometimes you can see up the subject’s nose… never flattering.Human sight is about like a 50mm lens, so anything wider than that begins to look unnatural.
Sometimes you are in a situation when you must use a wider angle. If you are inside or simply cant separate yourself from the subject, you will have to use a wider angle. If you are photographing many people, you might have to be obnoxiously far away to use a telephoto lens, which means you should use your wide angle. Wide angles are also great for capturing more of the surroundings.
By no means am I saying you should never use a wide angle for portraits. I use mine pretty often. Wider angles are great for shooting down on subjects, like if they are laying down. I also use wide angles when I want to see more of the scenery. Wide angles are great for inside portraits because you cant always get far away from the subject.
Remember those few tips when shooting your next portraits!