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Five Fantastic Prime Canon Lenses for Portrait Photography : The Friday Five

the best lenses for portrait photography by Canon

So you’re looking for a great lens to take portraits with? It’s an investment and you?re not quite sure which lens you should be spending your hard earned money on. I totally get it. When I first started really focusing on portrait photography, I wasn’t sure which one to buy either. I?m such a frugal person and wanted to make sure I was getting the best for my money. I did a lot of reaching to find what I thought would work best. And on this Friday Five, here are my picks for the five fantastic prime Canon lenses for portrait photography.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from new portrait photographers is: What lens do I use/recommend?And it’s a great question! So here you have it, my favorites. These are specifically for Canon (since I am a Canon girl) However, many of these Canon lenses are available with Nikon and other brands.

 Prime Canon Lenses for Portrait Photography Which ones should you get?

50mm 1.8

Now these are not in any particular order other than this one. If you are just starting out and looking to upgrade and step up your game, the 50mm 1.8 will give you the most bang for your buck. Inexpensive, sharp and clear, this lens will probably be in every photographer’s bag at some point. Great for both indoors and outdoors.

135mm 2.0

My personal fave and the 135mm 2.0 is the lens I shoot with the most. A little pricier, but if you have some money to invest, I highly recommend, especially if you shoot outdoors.

50mm 1.4

Like it’s sister lens, the 1.8, the 50mm 1.4 is similar to the 1.8, but just a little faster, sharper and clearer. You’ll love it! Great for both indoors and outdoors.

85mm 1.8

Fast and sharp , the 85mm 1.8 lens gives you a slightly longer focal length which is great for outdoor portraits AND can help in creating that beautiful blurry bokeh in the background.

35mm 1.4

The 35mm 1.4 lens is much wider than the others, meaning it will allow you to get more into your frame. Great for if you are working indoors or in tight areas a lot of the time. My only hesitation with the wider angles is that it can distort facial features and make them appear not so flattering if you’re not careful.

So give it some thought and decide which lens might be best for YOU! 

And hey, I’m always hanging out on Instagram and love hearing from you! When you post a picture using one of these lenses on IG, mention or tag me @cozyclicks, so I can take a look at your work!

Which lens do you use the most? Let us know in a comment below.

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  • vicki youngSeptember 27, 2018 - 7:50 am

    Hello, Emily, 
    I am looking to purchase a new lens for my canon rebel t6 so of course I have the nifty fifty but now I want to upgrade.  Although I love my canon 50mm I feel like I could be getting better images through a more tack sharp lens.
     I see alot of pictures taken with a sigma art 85mm and they are incredibly sharp.  I just feel like my canon 50mm  isnt as good as the sigma art lens.  My question is isn’t  the 50mm and the 85mm kinda the same type of portrait lens but the bokeh is better on the 85mm? I dont want to buy basically the same type of lens that I already have if you think I should try something else.  
    What are your thoughts on a 135mm?  What is the difference with this lens.   
    Thanks for your help

    • Cozy Clicks PhotographySeptember 27, 2018 - 12:45 pm

      Hey Vicki!
      My favorite lens is the 135mm…however, it won’t be compatible on your rebel. If you are looking for a lens to give you a slightly different look and give you sharper images, I’d go with the 85 1.8 🙂 EmilyReplyCancel

      • VickiSeptember 27, 2018 - 12:49 pm

        Thanks so much! Then my delimma is solved.  ReplyCancel

  • DEMIR OzerSeptember 6, 2018 - 10:59 am

    I usually use sigma 105mm. macro lens,I deal with macro,also have 50 1.8,canon 17-40mm.f/4,sigma 18-200mm.,sincerely yoursReplyCancel

  • SaraSeptember 4, 2018 - 10:43 am

    Great little article.  I would love to see a sooc pic from each lense.  I do have the 50mm/1.8 and it’s my only prime.  I’m new to photography and purchased my first dslr in March (D5600)- so thank you for sharing your wisdom!  Always appreciated!ReplyCancel