When choosing the best lens for portrait photography, the focal length is the key component. Most photographers consider lenses with a focal range of 70 to 135mm to be ideal.
Within that range, 85mm is the most popular length for portraits. This focal distance results in photos that are closely framed on your subject and will usually offer a lovely bokeh to punch them out from the background.
Some photographers swear by a 50mm lens for portraits, which results in an image that includes more of the background. Which length you end up choosing, depends entirely on your style and what you have in mind.
For Canon users, native Canon lenses are usually their first choice. We’ve some research for you and gathered some of the most excellent Canon lenses for portrait photography and beyond.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM remains on top of our list of the best Canon lenses for portraits. It uses a laser focus and image stabilization to deliver crisp images with beautiful colors. It’s among the most expensive lenses on the market, but its versatility makes it worth considering for many professionals.
The 85mm is a perfect focal length to achieve an excellent portrait and this option produces stand-out images in both indoor and outdoor environments. It also does well in low light conditions.
The lens is well constructed and comes with dust and moisture resistant capabilities. It creates an amazing bokeh effect and offers fast and accurate autofocus. Air Sphere Coating helps reduce the ghosting and flare effects from challenging lighting conditions.
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM can fulfill different types of photography needs such as events, headshots, full-body shots, and even macro photography. This powerful lens has been able to impress many photographers.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM delivers excellent images at a very affordable price point. It’s one of the best-selling lenses from the company. The 50mm lens utilizes Canon’s Stepper Motor technology for smooth and quiet autofocus. The near-silent focus proves to be very helpful, especially when you are shooting video.
Although this prime lens isn’t the best for shooting landscapes, it’s a perfect choice when it comes to portraits, especially at close range. This inexpensive lens delivers you an engaging portrait picture with a great amount of detail, but you will have to manually walk closer to your subject to zoom.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is a budget-friendly lens. It produces outstanding results with a clear focus. Although it doesn’t come close to the performance of its f/1.4 counterpart in the L-series, it can be a fantastic choice for beginners and has the ability to impress experienced shooters as well.
The eight aperture blades create soft, pleasing bokeh that makes your subject pop. The lens features an ultrasonic motor for fast autofocus and performs well in low light.
The 85mm is small and lightweight, making it easier to take on your travels. It offers great value for the money but doesn’t come with any weather sealing, so it probably won’t be a suitable option for those who do a lot of outdoor shooting.
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a high-end lens and top choice of professional photographers. Whether it’s for portrait photography or zooming in on faraway subjects, it performs exceptionally well in both areas. But, as we all know that the top-end products come at a very high price, so don’t expect it to be a budget-friendly option.
The lens features Optical Image Stabilization, which reduces shaky and blurry effects in the images, making it a perfect choice if you are shooting without a tripod. It’s solidly built to withstand rough handling, dust, and moisture if you are shooting outdoors.
Like many Canon lenses for portraits, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM has a large size and weighs around three pounds. If these two factors don’t seem to be a problem for you and you are also planning to spend a lot, then this top-quality lens is built to deliver exceptional portraits and photos.
If you need to capture close-range photos, consider going for a macro lens. Canon’s EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro proves to be a great choice if you love shooting very close to your subject, or if you want a top performer for both portraits and macro photography. It falls in the category of the Canon’s L-series lenses that are built for professionals.
Canon has equipped the EF 100mm with several state-of-the-art features such as internal autofocus, image stabilization, and a Super Spectra coating to ensure color accuracy.
The autofocus isn’t silent and can be distracting, but overall, this mid-range lightweight lens has a lot to offer for both new and seasoned photographers.
The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a professional-grade lens and an incredible performer under a variety of lighting conditions and settings. If used at the wide end, it captures images without chromatic aberrations and distortions. By zooming in you get amazing shooting control along with beautiful bokeh.
It features a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, which helps you grab images at great speed and accuracy. For full-frame cameras, it is recommended to capture portraits at 35mm and for APS-C sensors, it works well at the full focal length.
It is to be noted that the lens can replace a prime at either end of its focal length. Additionally, in terms of sharpness, it outperforms those primes. The lens continues to impress when shooting videos too, making this one of the most ideal Canon lenses for portraits.
Picking the Best Canon Lenses for Portraits
As specified earlier, capturing portraits can be a tricky task, especially if you are using the wrong lens. Therefore, choosing the right lens along with the right focal length is very important to achieve your desired results.
So, if you need a Canon lens for portrait photography, this list contains some of the best. These lenses range from beginner to advanced and have a specific set of features. You can produce beautiful portraits with any of these Canon lenses for portraits.