There are many portrait photographers who will only ever use prime lenses for portrait shoots, however I am not one of them. A photographer is entitled to use whatever lens they want, and if one prefers using prime lenses for their portrait shoots that’s entirely their lookout, however I don’t want to hear about prime lenses being superior to zoom lenses and stories of how it is “impossible” to capture commercial portrait shots with zoom lenses.
My go to lens for my portrait shoots is the 24mm – 70mm f2.8 and the reasons for these are:-
There are some negatives using a 24mm – 70mm zoom lens for portrait photography, however whether these will actually have an impact on your shoots will depend on your shooting style and the types of portraits you want to capture.
The first negative using a 24mm – 70mm zoom lens for portrait photography is the fact that it tops out at 70mm, so if you like to shoot portraits at longer focal lengths (such as the popular 85mm focal length) you are going to need a second lens. On a crop sensor camera this is not an issue because the effective focal range is 38mm – 112mm, which has the reach but you do lose it at the wide end. I have to say the 70mm long end (I use a full frame camera) is more than enough for the types of portraits I capture, so I am not bothered by this. If you want to capture portraits at longer focal lengths this is something you do need to consider.
The second negative using a 24mm – 70mm lens is the widest aperture is f2.8. Once again, whether this is a deal breaker or nor depends on your photography style and the effect you are after. I have to say that I find shooting wide open can be a bit hit or miss as there are times when using apertures of f1.8, f1.4 or f1.2 results in parts of the portrait that are a little soft and this seems to affect the tip of the nose and/or the ears the most. When I shoot at f2.8 or narrower I find it much easier to get the entire model sharp, therefore I seldom shoot any wider than f2.8 in any case. In fact, I prefer to shoot narrower than f2.8 most of the time so the fact the 24mm – 70mm zoom lenses aren’t any faster, i.e. go wider, really doesn’t bother me one bit.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.