Best Lenses for Fashion Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by gdeusthewhizkid, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. gdeusthewhizkid macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hey,

    ive been doing photography for about a year now.. I just started doing more fashion photography now and ive found I really love it. Question tho. what are the best lenses to use for Canon 5d mark 2. I currently have a 40mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4. 85mm 1.8, 24-85mm, and 70 - 300. I use them all but I have found that I enjoy my 50 and my 85 the most now. what are some of you guys suggestions.. and do I have to learn cs6 photoshop to get that magazine look I notice a lot of the photos that I like use photoshop.
     
  2. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    What do you find lacking about the lenses you already have?

    Also - what do you mean by fashion photography? There are a lot of different things which could be labelled as fashion photography.

    I'd suggest that learning lighting is a lot more important that the choice of lens - all of yours will work well stopped down with good lighting -- assuming that's an option in the style of fashion photography you're talking about.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #3
    You have lenses covered. Don't buy any more. I suspect the 70-300 sees little use. 50mm and 85mm would be my chooses. I have both of those, but Niokon's version.

    I'll assume you are happy with your compositions.

    Question: This "magazine look"? is done in the studio or on location? Either way they almost certainly are using both good lighting and a little photoshop too. But you can NOT fake the lighting in Photoshop. Without seeing the shots you like I'd guess they are controlling the lighting ratio and are keep ing a bit flat.

    Flash is more compact but I'd suggest using continuous lighting so you can see the effect in advance. It can be really inexpensive, like a masonite board with aluminum foil stuck on it with packing tape. Mmaybe some hinges made with clear packing tape so you can fold it up for storage. Or just a white bed sheet and a plastic pipe frame. Don't spend $1K until the $10 tricks don't work.

    The other thing you notice in that "magazine look" is professional makeup and hair.

    Then in Photoshop most pros will clone out skin blemishes and even aply a bit of teeth whitening. The trick is to make it look real, faked looks bad, so you don't leave a little in.


    In short, lighting, makeup and hair and then restrained retouching. You can do quite a bit of simple retouch now in Aperture or Photoshop Elements. You don't need CS.


    I think you will be better advice if you post a photo you shot and one yo like better and then ask "how do I mine my shot look like the example?" This is the way artists have learned for centuries, the copy the work of a master. Later they develop their own style (or not) I think the #1 best step is to identify photos you like. You've done that already it seems.
     
  4. gdeusthewhizkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Ok I will do that right now ....
     

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  5. gdeusthewhizkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I actually use the 24-85mm less. since buying the 85mm. I love 50mm 1.4 for video and portraits, 85mm for photography and 70-300 for portraits but when I need more length..
     
  6. kevinfulton.ca, Nov 19, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

    kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Like others have already suggested, I wouldn't bother getting any new lenses for the time being. You have a good selection of focal lengths. Best to learn lighting, how hair and makeup can help, composition, posing, and working with models. I'd put all of those ahead of lenses and even retouching to a degree. If you're doing all those things well during the shoot, it will give you a much better product and mean less work in post. Remember, that you're not using Photoshop to "get the look". You shoot to get as close as you can to the look you want, then use Photoshop to cinch it in and do some final retouching. If you approach it that way then there's a good chance you won't need much more then Lightroom and PS Elements unless you plan on doing HEAVY HEAVY retouching.
     
  7. kevinfulton.ca macrumors 6502

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    #7
    The focal lengths would most likely be 85, 135, 50. So you have those covered. But, the look is less about the lenses and more about the lighting. In this case, two of the three are in natural lighting and most likely using reflectors to add some fill. The middle one was shot in a studio and, judging by the catch light in her eyes, looks to be using a single light source placed almost directly above her or slightly to the right. The fall off to the shadows is pretty steep, probably a simple beauty dish or umbrella. Overhead lighting like that is called Butterfly Lighting because of the butterfly pattern is creates under the nose. Because her head is tilted, it removes that effect, but still keeps the strong jaw lines and cheek bone definition that butterfly lighting creates. It's a combination of the lighting and pose that's creating that look. Converting it to B&W, adding grain, and washing out the shadows is the easy part.
     
  8. Policar macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Those lenses should be fine for taking images like those above. The middle one is on a slightly longer lens with a very soft overheard source, but with enough light your zoom will work there. For the exterior shots you're good. There's a lot of photoshop used to pretty up models, but none of the "looks" there appear heavily processed.
     
  9. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    #9
    On a full frame, I would personally go with a 35mm prime and a 70-200mm. That will do pretty much do it all. If you get the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II, you're going to have something that can do it all. The 35 will come into play when you want some full body + environmental shots without distortion. I actually got my hands on the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 for Canon EF mount and it's really good, and I would probably recommend it over the Canon 35 f/1.4L, especially considering the Sigma is ~$600 less.

    I've never been a fan of the 24-70 lenses (or anything in that range) as far as portrait lens is concerned. I always end up shooting long (at 70) and always find barrel distortion in the lower half of the range unappealing, even with lens correction in post. I would like to try the 24-70 f/4L IS, though. The IS is beneficial when I have to shoot flash sync speed and with most fashion, you're not shooting large aperture anyway.
     
  10. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

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    #10
    Pretty much covers it off! Will cost as much as you're body, but about as good as it gets and other than the weight, it would never leave on my 5D Mk2. For a rest, I sometimes stick on a 24-105 or a small prime :D
     
  11. gdeusthewhizkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Im definitely thinking of this lens. It's def heavy tho but it does produce some great pictures lol..
     
  12. Noctilux.95 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    If money is no object, go with a Canon 35 1.4L, 50 1.2L, 85 1.2L, 24-70 2.8L II, 70-200 2.8L II and 200 F/2L.
    A more budget system could be a Canon 35 2 IS, Sigma 50 1.4 (assuming you can find a good one), Canon 85 1.8, and Canon 135 2L.
    Or just break the bank and pick up a used Hasselblad H4D 40 (around $9500-10K) and a 100 2.2 lens.
     
  13. blanka macrumors 68000

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    #13
    I don't know how it is on the Canon camp, but for Nikon the best portrait lens I have happens to be the 85mm 2.8 PCE. Canon has a 90mm T/S, which is similar I guess. It outperforms any other 85mm lens, including the big 85mm 1.4 and the legendary 85mm 2.0 AI. The 2.8 max aperture makes it flawless and insanely sharp, even wide open. The bokeh is the best, and I think there still is enough bokeh cream at 2.8 yet it focusses a lot easier than at 1.2/1.4
    Another benefit is that you have a T/S. A must have for product photography, and the modern hand-held T/S lenses are a breeze to work with without tripod.

    ----------

    Try the D800 with 85mm PCE. It will deliver way more for much less.
     
  14. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Canon 85 f/1.2L

    It's a nearly $2000 prime, but so worth it.
     
  15. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    #15
    I have the 85L, but I hardly ever use it. I still use the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II for portraits most of the time. Just too versatile.
     
  16. VI™ macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I used to but I've been moving away from my zooms for portrait work unless I need them. I had a nice set of primes for an OM-D and they just spoiled me. My 70-200 is mainly used if I need the reach now.
     
  17. Noctilux.95 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    For me the TSE/PCE lenses are too gimmicky for portraits.
    Also I prefer Canon skin tones over any other 35mm based camera by a long shot. The only sensor that delivers better skin tones is the Kodak based CCD sensors based in Leica M9, Hassy H4D/H5D 40 and 50MP cameras, and many of the older phase backs under 40 MP's.
     
  18. BuserataKim macrumors newbie

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    #18
    For portraits and fashion photography I highly recommend to try 35 f/2, 50 f/1.8 II, 85 f/1.8.
     
  19. gdeusthewhizkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I have the 40mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 85 1.8mm, and a 24-85mm lens.. I feel like the 24-70 is better than all of them combined. If I could get have my choice. I would only use 24-70L, 50L, 85mm & 70-200mm L for fashion.. for video I would use 24L, 35L & 50L..

    ----------

    I don't think I would drop money on a 70-200L & a 200L prime lens. I think it's redundant...
     
  20. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    #20
    The 200 f/2L he mentioned is a totally different beast than the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II. The 200mm f/1.8 and f/2 options in the Canon and Nikon lineups are utilized to get some pretty impressive portraits. Obviously very useable outdoors for full body when you have the room to step back.
     
  21. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #21
    There were lots of very good responses with logical and practical suggestions. The reality remains that there is no ONE lens that is perfect for all fashion work. I'll just give you one more peanut from the gallery -

    In general, faster lenses are more versatile given that you can have more control over depth of field. As well, in most cases, sharper lenses yield better results than mediocre counterparts. Consider perspective and "compression" as part of your though process which helps you decide whether it is better to work with a 'normal' to wide lens vs being further back with a longer lens. Zoom lenses like prime lenses come in all shapes, sizes, price and image quality. You will find some photographers insistent about using only primaries yet others are very successful with good zoom lenses. You need to find what works best for you.

    I have worked long ago doing the still images for industrial fashion film/vids as well as production stills for non-synched fashion shorts. I can tell you that I often got my work done with sometimes just one lens, sometimes two and then some that required 4 lenses throughout the day. Much of the work was with 35mm film, 120mm and 1-3 cameras. With the digital world, many can get away with just one camera and ideally a back up camera (often a lesser camera).

    As mentioned you have post processing to compensate and add to the quality of your image. Just learn how to make it work for you and not as a simple cover up for errors and sloppiness. Also learn the weaknesses of your camera of choice. Often there is a window of ISO values that yield the best results and ideally try to set up for that window when you have the option.

    If you are still unsure what to get or use - just practice with what you have already and learn which angle of view keeps popping up. As example you may have a zoom and find that you do most of your shooting at perhaps 80mm or 35mm etc. This should be an indicator (if you feel your lens are inferior) of what to lean towards in your next purchase and be sure to get both pro and forum reviews of those lenses to see how they rate and perform.
     
  22. swordio777, Jan 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

    swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #22
    It probably isn't. The 24-70 is a phenomenal lens for sure, but for fashion work it honestly doesn't do anything you can't already.

    I'm a nikon shooter rather than canon so am not familiar with your exact lenses, however I'm confident that your 50mm and 85mm will provide results that are just as good as (if not better than) the pro lens when you stop them down to f/2.8.

    I use Nikon's 24-70 f2.8 for weddings purely because it's convenient. It means I don't have to switch lenses and I can zoom faster than I can move through a crowd. But the lens is boring - it's nothing but a workhorse. For fashion work I much prefer my primes (50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.8) or the 70-200 f2.8.

    I once heard photographer Cliff Mautner say that he hates the 24-70 because it gives him exactly the same shots as people with their crop dslr & 18-50mm kit lens. I can completely understand his sentiment.

    If you're gonna drop serious money on a good lens for fashion work then I'd say skip the 24-70; just keep all the lenses you currently have & get a 70-200 as it adds something you don't already have.

    All the best.
     
  23. gdeusthewhizkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    hey thanks. I have a 75-300mm lens also. I rarely use it.. It's heavy and I usually only bring it out for outside shoots... The 70-200 2.8 L is a lens that I have always wanted but seriously I can't justify the price or need for it right now. Maybe one day....
     
  24. scott911 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    You should do a little homework and find a suitable photo-focused forum to follow.
     
  25. newimagephoto macrumors newbie

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    #25
    you got a good selection going already. One of my most used is the 105 DC because of the additional bokeh control .. but that's only available as a Nikon lens. If I was you I would throw a fast super-wide fisheye in there and use it very sparingly just for a touch of extra diversity
     

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