Apart from 50mm lenses, 85mm lenses are among the most popular focal lengths for portrait photography. However, if you’re shifting from 50mm, you’ll most likely need a bit of getting used to. You’ll be getting more close-up shots with an 85mm lens, so adjustments to your composition will be necessary. Here’s where today’s portrait photography tips will come in handy for your practice.

In the video above, Sydney-based portrait photographer Julia Trotti shared some of her tips for improving your compositions with an 85mm lens. First, she explains why this focal length is perfect for portraits, especially if you do a lot of headshots and close ups. Then, she demonstrated how she usually frames her subject, and crops the shot later on if needed.

She also noted an important detail about the 85mm lens: it compresses the background so it looks less distracting. You can use it to your advantage to create more cinematic compositions, especially when shooting in landscape orientation. This compression also works great for making subjects stand out against flattering backgrounds for full body shots. 

Need more portrait photography tips like these? Make sure you’ve already joined the Photofocus Community so you can ask your fellow photographers for their portrait photography tips and tricks!