Fame fortune and outright fabulous – fashion photography is all about capturing worlds and vibes through images. Canon excels in this space by offering a diverse range of Canon EF and RF lenses. Much like portrait photography, fashion photography tells a story – a unique point of view. The moments captured through a portrait lens is what makes these narratives so uniquely distinct. This is what makes your choice of a Canon lens for fashion photography such a vital one.
In this article, we will explore the best focal lengths for fashion photography. Plus we will provide our expert opinion on which Canon lenses are best for capturing a stylish fashionable portrait.
Every lens provides photographers with the creative freedom to capture images with unique angles, a distinct sharpness as well as a specific aesthetic appeal. Photographers can experiment with various focal lengths in combination with the angles used in your frame. This experimentation will allow you to tell elaborate stories with depth and character.
The vast array of options available may make the selection process a bit tricky. So, here are some of the best fashion photography lenses to give your images a distinct edge.
A 50mm Focal Length
The 50mm lens is arguably one of the most versatile among lenses and an extremely popular choice among fashion photographers. The lens creates a brilliant balance of the background in closer proximity to the model. This makes it much easier to set the stage and establish a context for a fashion story or editorial.
The distortion from this lens is minimal, making it great for delivering tighter crops and flattering portraits. The distortion can also create more angular frames causing subjects to appear slimmer. With a 50mm lens, photographers can begin to achieve a ground-up perspective while also producing a beautiful bokeh if required.
The 50mm lens is quick to adapt to its surroundings, and the wider aperture makes it great in low light settings as well. This lens is affordable, simple and dynamic and creates stunning images making ‘Nifty Fifty’ a rather accurate term of endearment for the 50mm lens.
An 85mm Focal Length Lens
The medium telephoto lenses are famous for their tack-sharp images and incredible versatility. The lenses are great at capturing the detailing and textures in fabrics in fashion photography.
The 85mm lens also creates beautiful bokeh through the compression created by a longer focal length. This makes it much easier to create a distinct separation between the subject from its background – an effect perfect for portrait photography.
The lens’s versatility allows it to capture stunning close-up as well as 3/4th and full-length frames in great detail. The depth of field that this lens creates sanctions a lot of artistic opportunities to photographers. It allows them to create captivating portraits from unique perspectives.
A Brilliant Focal Length for Portraits: 70-200mm
The 70-200mm Lens is an incredibly dynamic and versatile professional-grade portrait lens. It is a combination of a fast and constant aperture with a great range of focal lengths. As a portrait lens, it does a fabulous job of minimizing distortion when rendering life-like portraits.
The reach of the 70-200mm lens allows photographers more flexibility. It also allows them to stand further back from subjects while still filling the frame, making it a great choice for photographing models on the runway. Furthermore, this lens makes it possible to capture fast-paced, action-packed moments in a more discrete and less disruptive manner.
With that said, here are three recommendations for the best among these lenses for fashion photography.
Best Lens for Fashion Photography: Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens
Features: Superior optical performance, Pro-Grade Build Quality, Fast USM Motor, Excellent Focal Length for Portraits
- Focal length: 85mm
- Maximum aperture: f/1.2
- Format Compatibility: Full-Frame
- Lens construction: 8 elements in 7 groups
- Angle of view: 28° 30′
- Focus adjustment: Autofocus with full-time manual
- Minimum focusing distance: 2.79′ / 85 cm
- Filter size: Ø72mm
- Dimensions: 3.6 inches in diameter and 3.3 inches long
- Weight: 1026g
With a beautiful blend of advanced lens design and cutting-edge optics, this professional-grade lens is one of the best lenses for the fashion world. The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM features a short-telephoto focal length paired with an extraordinarily bright and wide f/1.2 design. This allows for sharp, elegant portraits and excellent low-light performance.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens Features
This fast maximum aperture not only works well in difficult lighting situations but also helps photographers working with a shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques. The optical precision of the lens delivers flattering images with no compromises on quality whatsoever.
The lens features a Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics (BR) element. It helps eliminate chromatic aberrations for clarity and colour accuracy. With a ground aspheric lens element, the lens also negates any spherical aberrations that may be caused by a larger maximum aperture.
The Air Sphere Coating further reduces any flare and ghosting. All in all, allowing for crisp and clear images with high resolution. The ring-type USM provides quiet and fast autofocus, and a unique Lens Control Ring allows for extra control over a host of settings from the lens itself.
With a balance of perfectly smooth and defocused bokeh backgrounds and razor-sharp imagery, unlock your true creative potential with the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM.
A Close Contender: Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens
Features: Excellent L-series optical quality, Fast and Accurate AF, Effective Image Stabilization, Exceptional Image Quality, Strong and Durable Build
- Focal length: 70-200mm
- Maximum aperture: f/2.8
- Format Compatibility: Full-Frame
- Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
- Angle of view: 34° to 12°
- Focus adjustment: Autofocus
- Minimum focusing distance: 2.3 ft./0.7m
- Filter size: Ø77mm
- Dimensions: 3.54 inches in diameter and 5.75 inches long
- Weight: 1200g (when mounted on the tripod mount)
The Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM can transform the everyday mundane into unique images with depth and detail. This level of detail makes it a perfect candidate for the fashion world. The lens, compact in design and uncompromising in terms of quality, offers a long reach and much versatility to photographers.
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens Features
On account of its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, the lens does well in tough lighting conditions. It also extends increased control over depth of field. The lens allows for absolutely gorgeous, out-of-focus backgrounds with a distinct separation of the model from its environment. The narrow depth of field, fast focus, and variable focal lengths make this lens perfect for the runway and is also a popular choice for outdoor portraits.
The lens boasts a highly sophisticated optical design. It comprises various specialised elements to minimize aberrations across the zoom range and enhance performance. The UD element, in combination with the Super UD element, helps to reduce chromatic aberrations as well as colour fringing This, in turn, provides far greater colour accuracy and clarity. An ASC further takes care of backlit flaring and ghosting and delivers contrast-rich imagery, especially in strong lighting situations.
This high-performance lens also features the novel dual Nano USM motors. This allows for quick and silent continuous focusing with full-time manual focus override, perfect for both stills and video. The 5-stop Image Stabilizer is a super effective feature to reduce the effect of camera shake and also helps deliver hand-held shots with unmatched sharpness.
Although the lens has certain downsides, the pros by far outweigh the cons. With its bright design and superior optics, this flexible telephoto zoom is a standard, essential for professionals around the world.
The Must Have Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Features: Superb Image Quality, Compact Build, Fast and Accurate Autofocus, Super Affordable
- Focal length: 50mm
- Maximum aperture: f/1.8
- Format Compatibility: Full-Frame
- Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
- Angle of view: 46°
- Focus adjustment: Autofocus
- Minimum focusing distance: 13.78″/ 35 cm
- Filter size: Ø49mm
- Dimensions: 2.72 inches in diameter and 1.54 inches long
- Weight: 160g
Small, incredibly light and one of Canon’s most affordable, this classic nifty-fifty is a must-have for every photographer’s lens arsenal. The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is a normal-length prime lens that features one of the most versatile focal lengths. It is both wide enough to eliminate distortion of features but not too long to create a subject-viewer disconnect.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens Features
The lens adds a unique perspective to portraits and also affords greater control over the depth of field. The bright maximum aperture of f/1.8 is great when shooting in difficult lighting conditions. It also helps isolate the subject, thus producing subjects in sharp focus against perfectly creamy, blurred backgrounds.
The lens features STM technology which allows photographers to capture fleeting, fast-paced moments quickly and quietly. The Super Spectra Coating helps to reduce ghosting and flare. This creates greater colour accuracy and contrast, particularly in harsh or backlit conditions.
Packed with incredible optics, it is not hard to see why this lens is such a photographer favourite. The lens design is notably sleek, making it a fairly convenient gadget to have on hand. When attached to a full-frame camera, the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens can make actual magic. This sharp, fast-focus lens is a great tool to play around with and can unlock the artist within.
Things to Consider
There are several factors to take into consideration when searching for the perfect lens for fashion photography.
For one, photographers must decide on the perfect focal length to suit their needs. It depends on the amount of available space, how close you want to be to your subjects, the number of people in your frame and so on.
So, if you plan on shooting larger groups, you may want to look for a wider lens like a 35mm lens. Similarly, a wider lens is preferable for more confined shooting spaces. A 50mm lens is a good, standard lens to go with for most environments.
An important factor that most fashion photographers look for in their lenses is wide-aperture optics. A larger aperture allows more light into the film or sensor. As a result, photographers can capture their images at much higher shutter speeds within a certain lighting scenario. This is great for the runway, street action and even for the studio as it allows them to freeze subjects and avoid any blurred motions.
Lenses with large aperture further have a shallower depth of field. This helps to create a beautiful velvety smooth bokeh that many fashion photographers enjoy. These lenses also allow for better low light performance.
A proper lens choice, when paired with careful execution, can elevate any ordinary fashion photoshoot to new heights. With so much variety available in the market today, making a choice can be a daunting task.
Canon lenses are well-matched in the market by brands like Nikon and Sony; each brand with its own set of unique features to offer. What sets Canon apart is its uncompromising, consistent quality and superior performance. Canon’s lenses are versatile, convenient and feature incredible tech. From beginners to seasoned pros, Canon has lenses for everyone.
However, the choice of lens will finally depend upon the photographer and their unique style. Whether it is a prime or zoom, an 85mm lens or a 50mm lens, these lenses must work to match your skill level and to bring your vision to life.
If you need further guidance on lenses, we are more than happy to lend our expertise. As steadfast support, Georges Cameras has been aiding customers in all of their technological needs for decades.
Feel free to come in store and try out the gear for yourself before making a decision. Or attend one of our educational workshops to broaden your fashion photography horizons. We’d be happy to help in any way that we can.