Choosing A Portrait Lens


Canon® Lenses: The Complete Guide


Lesson Info

Choosing A Portrait Lens

If we're looking at portrait lens is one of the things that concepts I wantto put in your mind is that lenses do not have perspective okay lenses do not determine perspective on their own perspective is determined by your point of view now you will end up choosing a lands by the framing it has your particular distance and so framing is determined by the lens choice and so if I like the looks of the way a portrait looks from right here okay well then this is where I want to shoot now we need to choose a lance with the right angle of you this is going to make more sense I give you some visuals as we go into this so I wanted to shoot an object that showed perspective now what I'm photographing is a cylinder wrapped in this grid paper so that we can see how it changes with different lenses at different distances so what I am going to do is I'm going to photograph with everything from a twenty four millimeter lands to a four hundred millimeter lens our first images at twenty four and we're ...

going to run through these fairly quickly because we're going to look it frame cuts from each of these thirty five and just notice what happens to the grid pattern as we move through the siri's it is flattening out by choosing a longer lands and moving the camera further away were flattening out our subject so, let's, take a little square from all of these being very close, upto our subject with a twenty four millimeter lands. Notice what happens with the grid pattern here. Notice how its angle, by moving further away with the four hundred millimeter lands number, that compression effect or that flattening effect of using that telephoto lens, this grid has not changed. I have moved my position back further in order to flatten this out, to illustrate this further, because there's gonna be three examples of this let's. Now, do it with an eleven to eight hundred millimeter lands on a globe. Right now, I'm using eleven millimeter I am inches away from the globe, and as we move back, look at what happens to the globe. We're flattening this globe out. And I'm gonna see if I could go back to eleven and I want you toe identify and pay attention to india india is very important okay you see where india's is that kind of the top right of the frame you can't see it very well because we're up close with wide angle lands and we're shooting this straight on but we're moving further back and this really flattens the glow about shooting with these longer lenses and so if we were to look at a cut of india you can see how india changes with the different lenses that we're using by moving further back so where we stand and shooting our subject is going to have a big role in this is all leading into shooting people's faces and so this is gonna be a fun serious I think for some of you because we're photographing jen and we're going to do so with everything from eleven to eight hundred millimeter lands and you saw this before in the university washington but here we're doing a close up face shot with the fifty millimeter lands so what happens if we go to the next lens thirty five we've moved the camera a little bit closer as we move in closer you can see that we've now lost her ears because we're so close to her noise her knows that we can't see around her her ear to her ears and this is a sixteen and trust me you do not want to have your portrait taken with an eleven millimeter lands I was I was just inches away from the front of her nose while doing this okay so let's move back out so clearly and eleven millimeter lands is not our ideal portrait lens can we all agree on that? Can I get a yes okay so let's get ourselves back to at least a normal lands and at this point the normal lens is looking pretty good all right so let's dive in to this portrait range and the portrait range traditionally has been in this eighty five toe one thirty five range and so fifty even I put seventy in here there's a lot of lenses go twenty four to seventy so how good is a seventy compared to eighty five now as we go back notice her cheeks notice her ears as we move to longer and longer telephoto lenses notice we can see the earrings more clearly because we're a little bit further back we changed our perspective all the way up to eight hundred and you can tell like the facial muscles look a little bit differently as to how much skin and how much you can see so what we're going to do now is kind of look at these side by side so ah thirty five millimeter lands has a bit of distortion to it because it's that wide angle lens and this is why they prefer most photographers prefer something around that hundred millimeters. So I think the hundred definitely looks better than the thirty five. And so comparing it back to the fifty. And so looking at the shape of the cheeks is a lot of times what I'm looking at here. Can you see the eyes and the nose? How does the nose look? So the eight hundred is a really long lens, and sometimes using that long lens is almost adding a little bit of weight to the face. And so using too long, a lance isn't necessarily a good thing. So seventy is the top in on a lot of basic zooms, like you're twenty four, twenty eight to seventies. And so I think you can get very nice portrait ce with that. The longer end of most portrait ranges is a thirty one, thirty five. So that remember that one thirty five to that cannon has very nice portrait lands. The eighty five is kind of the classic go to standards. So something between eighty five and one thirty five. So in one end, we have distortion. On the other end, we have compression and it's, just kind of a matter of where we want to draw the line in between for taking a tight portrait shot. So for portrait lenses the characteristics that we should be thinking about and asking questions on when we're going to choose one his first and foremost what's the angle of you and what sort of working distances that going to give me because that's going to determine the perspective of the final picture and you might prefer a seventy or you might prefer one hundred or one thirty five or whatever the number but that's the first thing that you want to figure out to get right because that's the most important thing to figure out the next is to figure out the depth of field which is the aperture on the lens how wide and fast of linz a one four two point oh lends there's a variety of options in there the bouquet is the quality the out of focus and this actually goes beyond just whether it's a one four two or one point eight lands the actual look of that okay that out of focus siri is it a smooth out of focus or is it kind of a jittery that doesn't really look clean and even another factor would be the overall stark resilience you know in some ways too sharp a lens is not good in portrait photography you can always blur something down but if it's if it's not sharp as you would like you can't see individual hairs that you would want to see that would be a problem but most of these lenses are quite sharp. The size and weight of the lens I told you that the eighty five one two is a beautiful lens but that is a chunk heavy lens and if you're working in a studio all day raising that up and down you might have just put a bar bell in your hand that thing is so happy and so for some people that's going to be hard on their arms in their backs and it might be better to shoot within eighty five one eight even though they like the other characteristics of that lens and then of course you're all gonna have to consider the price according to what your own needs are so the portrait range that most people are going to be thinking about would start at fifty and they would go up to the two hundred millimeter range and so it's a normal to a telephoto lands and I can't tell you what you should buy I would have to know so many factors about it it would be a very long phone call all right so can you shoot portrait at twenty for well what do you mean by a portrait is it is it a tight headshot is a picture of a person I have no problem this is one of my favorite people pictures and it's with a twenty four white angle lens technically it has distortion but I've kept the faces towards the center of the frame so the distortion effect is happening more over here, where it's not as noticeable, and so shooting people in their environments. Yeah, you can shoot with the twenty four that's, not a problem at all. In my opinion, how about a thirty five millimeter lands up fairly close? Yeah, you could do that sometimes. It's. Just the lens you have on the camera. Sometimes you want to show the environment around, gives you that feeling that you are right there next to john. Yeah, we can have fortunes of animals as well. All right, what about a fifty millimeter lance shooting portrait's with fifty millimeter lens click very close. Yes, we can't. Would this look better with an eighty five? Maybe I didn't have the chance. I don't have an eighty five with me. I didn't have the opportunity to switch, move back and change it. It was a quick opportunity, and you take it when you can get it, and so, yes, you can get good porch it's with the fifty millimeter lens as I mentioned it's, very nice for head to toe portrait's, full length portrait, but you can get reasonably close up portrait and have them look very good. Seventy millimeters. The top into that, twenty four to seventy is a great place for getting portrait. And so, if you have that zoom lens, I would zoom in all the way out to seventy. Pretty close to that classic eighty five and that's, a great place for shooting people. Photos. So our classic focal length is eighty five that's, generally the goto. This is theeighty five one point two shot at one point, too. So when you want to blur that background, this does it better than anything else. And so if that, okay, if that, out of focus, that shallow depth of field is a paramount importance to you than the eighty five one two might. Very bill might very well be worth its money, but the eighty five one eight, it does a great job for many other circumstances. 00:10:04.19 --> 00:10:07. Hundred millimeter lands slightly longer gives you 00:10:07.59 --> 00:10:10. a little bit more working distance with your subjects. The more you want to shoot tight head portrait ce tighter the frame that you want, probably the longer the lens that you want, one hundred and hundred thirty five would be really good for those tighter portrait ce. Because to get full length, you need to get much further back from your subject. But that this is the one thirty five to and I'm able to blow that background test. Smither reid's completely out of focus, because it's the one thirty five to another factor just in the set up of the shot. He is very far away from that background. Further, that background is from him. The more I'm going to be able to get it out of focus. And so, rather than having him lay down on the grass right next to the fence, or to the bushes behind him, I got him very far away from those bushes. One thirty five put you a little bit further back, but nice for those tight headshots. Look at that background. This is with an f four lands. Look at how blurry that background is, even though we're only at half four, be nice to have a one thirty five, too, but I was traveling, and I couldn't take all the lenses. Had to trim down travel lightweight, two hundred millimeter lands. Great for those tighter, isolating details, type shots. And those two hundreds are really going to be able to blow that background out of focus very very easily so you can shoot portrait's in many many different focal links don't let anyone tell you it has to be one focal ing so if you were a pro and you said I want to shoot professional quality portrait and I need a top of the line lands what would you recommend? Well eighty five one two is pretty obvious choice very expensive lands but it gives you that super shallow depth of field the fifty one too if you want something a little bit wider angle more for full length portrait s'more more lifestyle if you're going to be working outside you want a little bit longer distance the one thirty five works really well if you're going to be shooting the cover of the sports illustrated swimsuit edition the two hundred millimeter lands working out on the beach where you have a lot of room to back up outdoor photographer there but probably more part portrait are shot with the seventy two, two hundred because of its versatility so they consume seventy and eighty five one hundred really nice you know if you were going to take someone's porter go down to the park and you want to photograph them you know sometimes there's walkways and there's places you can't back up into its so having that versatility of the zoom is just really nice to have yeah you don't get that fast aperture but that versatility allows you to shoot with so many different positions and by shooting at a longer focal length and backing up a little bit you can get that very shallow depth of field and so that would be the choice that is used by most professionals because of its versatility so that's going to cost you anywhere between a thousand and almost six thousand dollars next level is the mid level anywhere from three hundred thirty bucks which is very affordable in my opinion to twelve hundred dollars we have a fifty millimeter one four and the eighty five one eight eighty five one it's probably gonna be the best value good go to choice in here another good option and here would be the hundred millimeter which is the near sibling to the eighty five just a little bit more working distance the seventy two hundred of forest what I've shot a lot of my portrait's with because that's my favorite go to lens for travel photography and it's what's available it's the best portrait lens that I have when I'm traveling and so all of these could do good portrait's the fifty is going to be a little bit wider angle probably not suitable for head tight head shots if you were doing tight headshots I would think more than one hundred general purpose the eighty five but the seventy two two hundred isn't all purpose lands if you said I need an all purpose lands that's also pretty good at it portrait's as well like that one okay so let's move down to the next level just basic what do you have that's a basic portrait lands now forty millimeters now this kind of depends on what camera you are basing this on is that the full frame camera and I'm kind of thinking at the basic level you're working off of a crop frame camera so the forty millimeter translates somewhere to a sixty millimeter lens or so which is getting into that portrait range very small very lightweight very cheap in price the fifty millimeter one eight that's going to be the logical choice in most cases because that's gonna translate to about an eighty millimeter lands and that's a pretty fast aperture so you could get that shallow depth of field a couple of other options that may work is theeighty five one eight yeah we saw that over here I can put it in two places if I want to and it's just relatively cheap so it it's also a very good option there now it is a little bit longer lens if you are using a crop same parents you are going to need a little bit more distance but that's sixty micro we talked about that in the micro section that would also make a nice portrait focal length as faras the angle of you but it also gives you the ability to get up really close, it's. Not as fast in the aperture, because it's just a two point eight aperture, but that gives you a versatility in a different manner, so I could see using any one of these. I would be perfectly happy using any one of these to get a portrait. Now, if I had something specific in mind, I'd like to take my choice of which one of these to use. But I think you could get great portrait with any one of these lenses. So hopefully that will stem the tide of what lends should I use her portrait photography now I want to talk about something in particular and that is group shots I want to get a shot of a group of people how do I get a shot of a group of people and make everyone look right and so I was asked to do a group shot and I said if you guys don't mind can I shoot this with a bunch of different lenses and so I shot it with the fifty millimeter lands all the way down to an eleven millimeter lands and so let's look at the fifty okay things look pretty good here I'm pretty happy with this but let's try a thirty five and moving in twenty eight twenty four and okay with twenty we're starting to get to assertion noticed the people on the ants guy on the left girl on the right especially as we get down to eighteen sixteen I'm standing very close to them right now at eleven millimeters I'm almost standing on their toes is eleven millimeters the best place to get our group shots probably not were starting to were starting to stretch body parts here folks doesn't look good and so let's go back up and in my opinion I think this looks better the longer the focal length and so if you can shoot this at fifty I think it looks good at fifty and so I think for group shots. I would want to be in the thirty five millimeter to fifty millimeter range, assuming that you can back up and get the whole group, innit? I know their situations where you end up with extremely large groups and you're limited and you have to shoot with twenty eight, twenty four, and there it's more of a location issue. Do you have a location? Can you angle it yourself so that you need a less white angle lands? And so, in this case, normal lens, twenty four to seventy, is a great lands tohave, because you'll have that fifty, if you can get it. But if you need wider, you could get wider and closer if necessary. And so thirty five to fifty for your group shots.

Class Description

Working with interchangeable lenses can be both exciting and daunting to all levels of photographers. Canon® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will prepare you to select the right lens and get the most out of all of your lens investments.

John Greengo is the master of making complex photography concepts easy to understand and in this class, he’ll bring all of your Canon® EOS DSLR lens options and operations into focus. You’ll learn about: 

  • Focal length and aperture
  • Canon® zoom lenses
  • Which lens accessories to buy
  • Third-party lenses
  • Maintaining a lens system
John will cover the full range of Canon® lenses, from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, zooms to primes, fisheye to perspective control. You’ll learn how to match the right lens to your needs and get insights on the best ways to use it.

Whether you are thinking about buying a new lens or just want to get the most out of what you already have, Canon® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will help you out.


1Class Introduction 2Canon® Lens Basics 3Focal Length: Angle of View 4Focal Length: Normal Lenses 5Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses 6Focal Length: Telephoto Lens 7Focal Length Rule of Thumb 8Field of View 9Aperture Basics 10Aperture: Maximum Aperture 11Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length 12Aperture: Depth of Field 13Aperture: Maximum Sharpness 14Aperture: Starburst Effect 15Aperture: Flare 16Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance 17Camera Mount System 18Canon® Lens Compatibility 19Canon® Lens Design 20Canon® Lens Composition 21Canon® Lens Shape 22Canon® Lens Coating 23Canon® Lens Focusing 24Lens Autofocus 25Canon® Lens Image Stabilization 26Canon® L Lenses 27Image Quality 28Canon® Zoom Lenses: Standard 29Canon® Super Zooms 30Canon® Wide Zooms 31Canon® Telephoto Zooms 32Prime Lens: Normal Lenses 33Prime Lens: Moderate Wide 34Prime Lens: Wide Angle 35Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide 36Prime Lens: Short Telephoto 37Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto 38Prime Lens: Super Telephoto 393rd Party Lenses Overview 403rd Party Prime Lenses 413rd Party Zoom Lenses 42Lens Accessories: Filters 43Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods 44Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount 45Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes 46Lens Accessories: Extenders 47Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio 48Macro Lens: Technique and Choices 49Fisheye: Technique and Choices 50Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices 51Make a Lens System Choice 52Choosing A Portrait Lens 53Choosing A Sports Lens 54Choosing A Landscape Lens 55Best Lenses for You 56Lens Maintenance 57Buying and Selling Lens 58What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?