Choosing Your Lens With Purpose

September 21, 2010

in Photography Tips, Photography Tutorials

Post image for Choosing Your Lens With Purpose

Have you ever looked at an image and wondered how in the world they got it to look that way? Aside from how they got lighting that makes the heavens sing, an angle that even you never would have thought of and an angelic expression from a child that makes even mean old Uncle Harold cry like a baby; their images just have a certain look to them. “The look” that makes the image complete.

When I first started photography I had no idea why I wanted certain lenses…well aside from the price and just wanting what everyone else had. I had no clue as to what any of the numbers on the lens meant or the effect that each lens could give.

What the heck does 24-70mm mean anyway? Then you add on the 2.8 and I was a goner.

But, now that I know. It’s pretty simple.

Whether you are Team Nikon, Canon, Edward or Jacob all lenses are the same. They have the focal length, (Ex: 24-70mm, 16-35mm, 85mm and 135mm), which we are talking about today, and they have the widest aperture (fstop) the lens will go (Ex: 2.8, 1.8 and even 1.2 mmmm sigh), which we will go over next time.

Focal length in a nutshell…

  • The smaller the number the wider the lens.
  • The wider the lens, the more of the environment you get into your image.(Ex. of wide angle lenses: 15mm, 35mm, 24-70mm)
  • The wider the lens the more distortion you get the closer you are to your subject.
  • The larger the number the more narrow your focal length becomes. (Ex. of narrow focal length lenses: 85mm, 135mm, 70-200mm)
  • The more narrow your focal length becomes the more “magnified” your subject are.

So how do you know when to use which lenses? Pictures help…

I like to use wider angle lenses for fun…

(lens: 24-70mm, Focal length: 24mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for laughter…
(lens: 15mm Fisheye, Focal Length: 15mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for playful…
(lens: 24-70mm, Focal Length 24mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for uniquely bold…
(lens: 24-70mm, Focal Length 24mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for movement…
(lens: 24-70mm, Focal Length 24mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

I like to use portrait lenses (longer focal length lenses) for romantic…

(lens: 85mm, Focal Length 85mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for softer…
(lens: 85mm, Focal Length 85mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for beautifully bold…
(lens: 85mm, Focal Length 85mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

for…I don’t know…just a nice pretty picture :)…..
(lens: 85mm, Focal Length 85mm)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

Want something in the middle? Try the 50mm.
(all shot with 50mm 1.4)
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose
How to Choose Your Camera Lens with Purpose

Next time you are out shooting, pick your lens with a purpose. Plan your shot and make beautiful pictures.

Becky Earl is a hobbyist photographer, but more importantly a wife and mother to three beautiful children. Becky loves to create ART in her spare time (aka when the kids are busy) and loves learning new things about photography (aka when the hubby is busy). She offers Blog Your ART Templates at an affordable price to photographers who want to spice up the look of their blog. You can find her hanging out on her blog THE BLOG and on Facebook.

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