Budding photographers often want to improve their portrait photography. They might even get approached to photograph a friend’s wedding and capture those priceless moments. Meeting these new challenges doesn’t require cumbersome telephoto lenses. You just need one of the following essential DSLR lenses for better portrait and wedding photography – although you have to compliment it with all the fundamentals of good photographic technique.

Keep in mind that a number of factors actually influence which lens is the absolute best for a shoot, including the lighting, how much space you’ll have, how many people you hope to fit in the frame, your experience and the camera housing you’re using, other gear you have access to, and a number of other things. That being said, if you are looking to pick up a new lens for one of these types of photography, a selection from this list is a great place to start.

1. A 50mm Prime Lens

Most brands have a prime lens with an aperture of up to f/1.8, which gives you a lot of flexibility and control over the exposure and depth of field. This is already a great beginner lens and its ability to capture beautiful, sharp portraits let you play with light and Bokeh without breaking your neck (they are small and light) or your wallet makes it a great starter portrait lens. 50mm prime lenses will grow with you as well as teach you a great deal about photography. They are fun to shoot with in a number of other settings as well.

You can also spend more than $100 for a bigger aperture, but you’ll be getting a heavier lens in exchange for the jump in flexibility and higher price. However, even with the intro version you’re going to see beautiful light and crisp details in your portraits without extra work on lighting.

2. 85mm Prime

This lens is the next step in portraiture, offering a dedicated portrait-length DSLR lens that still fits full frame cameras. It maintains a similar shot focal distance to the 50mm but offers even less distortion, which is preferable for headshots and other up-close portraits. 85mm prime lenses are a bit more expensive, but generally follow the same pricing patterns for aperture as the “nifty fifty.” While better for portraits, this lens is also slightly less flexible if you just want to use one lens for a range of shots, such as at a wedding.

3. 24-70 mm

A great alternative to a kit lens (usually 18-55 f/3.5-5.6), this kind of small zoom lens trades away a bit of flexibility and fast shooting due to the fixed f/2.8, when compared to the primes above. However, the benefits include super sharp shots and high-quality performance even in low light, complimented by the power of its great zoom length. If you don’t mind carrying a bit more weight, this is the perfect all-around lens for wedding photography.

You don’t need telephoto DSLR lenses or anything else to big and bulky to take great photos, whether you’re trying to shoot better portraits or help out at a wedding. One of these three upgrades from your kit lens and a bit of practice are more than enough to enjoy incredible sharpness, light of a beautiful character, and the flexibility needed to perform in these circumstances.


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