If you have been photographing long enough, everyone habitually 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 Sony 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 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 whole dead arm thing from larger, bulkier lenses.
Sony 85mm f/1.4 GM
I simply 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.
I used to shoot with a 50mm prime lens only. I then sold it, as it NEVER came out of my bag. But then I was introduced to the little brother of my favorite 85mm lens.
Sony 50mm GM f/1.2 lens
I have only had it a few weeks and I adore it. I had borrowed a couple of lenses to try prior to buying mine. So I knew the results I would get. Pair it with my new SonyA7RV and I couldn’t be happier. The bokeh is not as creamy as the 85mm, but small and round. With portraits in the studio that doesn’t bother me so much. But in the garden with flowers and such, it’s just superb.
The camera? Well, initially it was a Sony a7R III. But I have just added a Sony A7RV to the kit too. So these are all E-mount lenses for Sony full-frame cameras.
Models: Andrea Gardiner, Nicola Paige, Emily Reinhard, Matthew Pick, Dexter & Trixi
HMUA: Teighan Felton