If you have been photographing long enough, invariably everyone seems to ask what gear you use. I still believe that it’s the craft that is important, but there are always a few things that really make an image stand out. One of those is the lens. So here are my favorite E-mount lenses for portraits.
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
This Tamron 28-75mm lens is my studio workhorse. I use it for group portraits, single portraits, close-ups and full-length shots. It is reliable and gives me a great image. It never fails (but occasionally I do).
I can shoot anywhere from 28-75mm in my small studio. and shoot from f/2.8–f/11 (for group shots). It’s quick to focus and quiet. It’s small, compact and lightweight, which means I can hold it for ages without getting the while dead arm thing from larger bulkier lenses.
Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM
I simple adore the Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM, and use it all the time for headshots and half body shots. Why don’t I use it all the time? Room. Simple as that. Being an 85mm lens means that in order to get full body shots, I need to stand outside the studio. When I am in a larger studio or outside on-location, I use it a lot more.
I adore the creamy bokeh and blur I get, and the focus is outstanding. It creates such dreamy images. I fell in love from the moment I took that first shot, and I doubt that will ever change. The other downfall is the size and weight … but oh, those images!!!
Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3
Technically the Tamron 70-300mm lens is not a portrait lens as such. But it is a gorgeous lens to use, OUTSIDE the studio. No, it does not have a wide-open aperture, like the 85mm. Nor is it good in tight spaces. But give it a little room and it can create magic portraits especially at 200mm or 300mm; that luscious creamy bokeh is divine.
Sadly due to lockdowns in Australia, I have not had much of a chance to get out of the studio with models with this lens, instead photographing just a friend and the dogs. But soon … very soon.
I used to shoot with a 50mm prime lens only. I have actually now sold it, as since I bought the above lenses, it NEVER came out of my bag. The camera? Well, that’s a Sony a7R III, so these are all E-mount lenses for Sony full-frame cameras.
Models: Andrea Gardiner, Nicola Paige, Emily Reinhard, Niki Rogalski, Dexter & Chloe. HMUA: Teighan Felton.