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5 Best Lenses For Family Portraits (Reviewed)

Portrait photography is the most famous type since everybody wants portraits of themselves worldwide. What is special about this type of photography is that you can also take family portrait photographs that will live forever with you!

What are the best lenses for family portraits? How do they work, and what are their main characteristics? You can answer these questions in this article while finding more information about the best family portrait lenses.

A Quick Look at My Favorite Lenses for Family Portraits

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Weatherproof
Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
8.6
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Best Micro Four-Thirds
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8
8.5
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Best For Sony
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22
9.1
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Best For Portraits
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
8.8
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Best Compact
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
8.6
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Key Takeaways

  • One of the most well-known and popular genres of photography that most people like is portraits photography.
  • It would help if you had a fantastic camera and lenses to enhance your photography to create stunning portrait images.
  • The Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED is the most suitable and superior lens for portraits.
  • If your camera is from Sony, you should use the Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22.
  • It’s possible to take amazing family shots by following simple photography advice, such as wearing coordinated attire and choosing suitable backdrops and weather.

Let’s get directly to the lenses that I chose!

The Top Five Best Lenses for Family Portraits

5. Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – Best Weatherproof

What I Like

  • Weather sealed design
  • No distortion
  • Speedy focus motor

What I Don’t Like

  • No optical stabilization

The first lens in this article goes to the Fujifilm cameras. So, if you are a Fujifilm camera user, this lens is one of the best ones when it comes to family portraits. Not only! This lens is also great when it comes to video recordings.

This lens measures 4.17 x 3.27 inches, and its weight is about 1.44 pounds. What is deserved to be mentioned is that this lens is weather-resistant! Just as you can notice on its name, the letters WR are added to tell you that it can be used wherever you want.

There are found two types of coating that Fuji added to this lens. The Nano-GI and HT-EBC. They will help you bring pictures with no reflections or ghosting.

The optical construction includes 17 elements in 12 groups and on those elements are added three ELD elements and three aspherical elements. Because of these elements, the lens is fully protected by chromatic aberration.

As you can notice, the focal length is from 16mm to 55mm; regarding the movement and the zoom with this lens. The aperture is f/2.8 which is an aperture that is commonly used during portrait photography. The aperture is circular, and it includes 9-blades, meaning that you can use the bokeh effect!

The focus system that is added to this lens is the Twin Linear Autofocus Motor, and it rides the focus quite accurately, fast, and precisely.

Why should you buy it?

No matter the weather, this lens will come with you wherever a family wants to take a family portrait.

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4. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 – Best Micro Four-Thirds

What I Like

  • Very sharp
  • Well build
  • Smooth, creamy bokeh

What I Don’t Like

  • Pricey

From Fujifilm, I would like to go on and mention another lens from another brand. The Olympus lens! It is a lens that is compatible with any type of Micro Four Third camera that comes from the famous brand of Olympus. It is one of the best lenses from Olympus used in portrait photography.

When first holding it in hand you will notice that it is a quite compact lens, and it is, in general, very well-built. It is small and lightweight as well, measuring only 2.72 x 2.52 inches and weighing only 10.8 ounces.

Olympus on this family photography lens added its famous Zuiko Extra-Low Reflection coating, and it does a great job “protecting” the lens from flare and ghosting at the same time.

The elements that are added to this lens are 10 elements divided into 9 groups. The special ones are three ELD elements and two High Refractive Elements.

Differing from the Fuji lens mentioned above, this lens has a fixed focal length which works at only 75mm. It is a normal range that could help you capture amazing portrait photography.

When it comes to the aperture, the lens has a circular 9-blade aperture that has a range of f/1.8. The bokeh effect that this lens provides is more than great with sharpness.

The focus that is owned by this lens is the MSC (Movie and Still Compatible), an interesting autofocus system that is not found on many lenses. It works perfectly fine both in videos and photos.

Why should you buy it?

This lens will help you capture fantastic portrait photography, and it is worth a purchase.

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3. Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 – Best For Sony

What I Like

  • Extremely sharp
  • Dust and moisture resistant
  • Short telephoto focal length

What I Don’t Like

  • Omits image stabilization

What is a family photography lens list without mentioning a Sony family photography lens? Basically nothing! That’s why if you own a Sony camera, I would recommend you to take a deeper look at the Sony SEL85F18. It is a great telephoto lens that works perfectly fine when used during portrait photography in general.

Measuring 4.49 x 3.82 inches and weighing 0.81 lbs, this lens is a compact one as well, and again it is a weather-resistant lens that can easily withstand any type of dust or moisture in general. Don’t be afraid to use this lens even when it is raining, of course, if you have a camera that is durable as well.

Even though there is no specific type of coating added to this lens, the maker of this lens, Sony, says that it is a multicoated lens that doesn’t allow ghosting and either reflection.

When it comes to optical construction, the elements are 9 in number and they are put into 8 groups. The most important element that is added is one Extra-Low Dispersion element that fully vanquishes the chromatic aberration.

As you can notice, the focal length of this family photography lens works fully fixed and it is 85mm, which as already mentioned, is one of the most used focal lengths during portrait photography.

However, there’s the aperture that works on a range, from f/1.8 to f/22. F/22 is the minimal range of aperture that you can find. The aperture diaphragm is a 9-blade circular one, and it helps you when using the bokeh effect.

The focus works both automatically and manually! What you should do is only switch the lens barrel that is found on the lens, and it allows you to hold the focus however you want.

Why should you buy it?

If you are an owner of a Sony Camera, then you just have found the best lens for your Sony Camera.

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2. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED – Best For Portraits

What I Like

  • Sharp through most of the range
  • Optically stabilized.
  • Compact

What I Don’t Like

  • Loads of distortion

Moving on, I have thought about Nikon users as well! Here goes a Nikon lens for family portrait photography. Differing from the other three family photography lenses that I mentioned, this Nikon lens is a wide-angle zoom lens. What can be better than a wide-angle lens when shooting a portrait of a big family?

With the dimensions that measure 3.82 x 3.07 inches and the weight of 1.08 pounds, this lens is well built, but still, you should consider that it is not a weather-sealed lens, and you should take care of it.

The coating that this one owns is the Super-Integrated. It is a coating from the Nikon brand itself, and it is a multilayer one that fully helps when it comes to the sharpness of your pictures and helps with color accuracy.

The elements that Nikon added to this family photography lens are 17 in number, and the groups they are divided are 12. The most special elements included are one aspherical element and one ED element.

Here goes the main difference between this Nikon portrait lens and the ones mentioned above. The focal length that this lens works with starts from 18mm, and it goes up to 140mm. It is a perfect focal length that would help you, as said above, with big families.

The aperture diaphragm is a 7-blade circular one, and even though it doesn’t provide the best bokeh effect, it does a good job. The aperture range, on the other hand, is f/3.5 and f/5.6.

It is the Silent Wave Motor AF System, that drives the focus on this portrait lens! The focus is very quick and super precise in its performance.

There’s a specialty that this lens brings to you! The VR – Vibration Reduction, which when used doesn’t allow blur on your pictures, even if you have shaky hands.

To conclude, i would say that this lens is a great family photography lens that i consider to be the best portrait lens on this list.

Why should you buy it?

This lens is the best lens you can get for portraits in general and it works perfectly also for family portraits.

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1. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM – Best Compact

What I Like

  • Optical stabilization
  • Smooth live view focus
  • 7.5x zoom ratio

What I Don’t Like

  • Some portraits

Last but not least, an amazing Canon lens for your Canon camera! This family photography lens can be considered a three-in-one lens because it is known as a normal, telephoto, and wide-angle lens. Three perfect things at the same time – A perfect family photography lens!

As a whole, this family photography lens measures 4.8 x 7.1 inches and weighs 1.5 pounds. Even though this Canon lens is bigger than the other ones that I already mentioned, it is in a way forgivable since it brings a three-in-one function.

This Canon lens is also one of those that include a multi-coating process and the main coating that it has is Canon’s Super Spectra Coating. It is a coating that fully removes the reflections that may appear during the process of taking a picture.

When it comes to the optical construction, the lens owns 16 elements and there’s, of course, a division, those elements are fully divided into 12 groups. The elements include one UD element and one aspherical element.

The focal length that this amazing camera lens works at is from 18mm to 135mm, which is a quite huge range of focal length. With its shortest focal length, it is a great Canon lens for landscape photography, however, when used in different focal ranges it becomes a camera lens that can be used for any type of photography, in this case for family portraits.

The aperture works with a range as well and it can be adjusted at f/3.5 and f/5.6. The aperture diaphragm is a rounded 7-blade one and it helps you when using the bokeh effect that this lens provides as well.

Now, the focus system differs a lot from many lenses. It is the NANO USM Autofocus System, that makes the focus work in its best way possible.

There’s a stabilizer added as well, and it is an Optical one. It does its job perfectly fine in pictures and in videos too.

Why should you buy it?

It is a great Canon lens for landscape photography, however, when used in different focal ranges it becomes a camera lens that can be used for any type of photography.

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How to find the best lens for family portraits? – Buying Guide

Photographing family portraits is not the easiest job in the whole world, and finding a lens for that particular type of photography isn’t easy either. There are definitely some things that you may want to consider, and they all would help you choose the best lens for family portraits! What are those things? Let’s see!

Type of Lens

You may already know that there are different types of lenses, but still, the most known ones are prime lenses and zoom lenses.

Now, this is easy; prime lenses are those lenses that have a fixed focal length and don’t allow movement, while zoom lenses are lenses with which you can zoom in and out, considering the rotation of the ring on a lens. But which type of lenses are better for family portraits?

An answer to that question will be both of them are great! But still, you should know that prime lenses are sharper regarding the picture quality, and when using the zoom lenses, you will notice that the sharpness of the picture may not be too proper. However, you can use both of them when taking family portrait pictures.

Focal Length

All lenses have a different focal length! A focal length is a distance between a lens and the sensor that your camera owns. A focal length tells us how much of a scene will be captured while taking a picture, and how is the angle of view.

Regarding family portrait photography, you should know that the best focal length of the lenses with which you can take pictures includes 15mm and above. Photographers all around the world say that this focal length (from 15mm) is suited and made especially for portrait photography.

Aperture

An aperture is a space that is found between the lens, and the sensor of the camera. Its job is to show us the measurements in f/ (ex; number 2.8) stops, and it shows the opening through which the light passes and enters into the camera that you are using.

Some of the most commonly used apertures when it comes to family portraits and portraits, in general, are f/1.8 and f/2.8. However, you can also use the ranges of f/3.5 and f/5.6 just as the Nikon and Canon lenses that I mentioned above.

Bokeh Effect

Even though it may sound like it is a simple effect added to a picture, the bokeh effect will help you bring the best portrait pictures ever.

It is an effect that comes directly from the camera lens, and it fully blurs the background that can be seen while taking the picture, while the person that is being photographed, comes with maximum clarity.

You may have noticed the bokeh effect in the new smartphone versions while taking pictures with the portrait feature that the phones have.

Focusing

There’s no point in taking portrait photography if there’s no focus on the person/people that you are taking pictures of. That’s why the focus that a camera lens works with is one of the most important things. It basically has only one job – to focus on the thing that is the subject of the photo.

If you mostly plan on doing headshot photography, i recommend you get a lens for headshots instead.

When taking a family portrait, the focus should be wide enough to capture more than one person. You don’t want to have only one person focused on the picture if it is a family portrait, right?

Family Photography Tips & Tricks

Family photography is a very important subject. For a proper family photography session, you need to factor a few things:

  • Try to wear matching outfits
  • Try to schedule a family photography session on ideal weather conditions
  • A quiet area with no distractions
  • Try to hire a photographer that has experience in family photography

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of lens is great for family portraits?

You may already know that there are two main types of lenses, prime and zoom. When it comes to family portraits, you can use both of them so that there is not only one type that can be considered the best one.

Should a lens for family portraits have a bokeh effect?

It would be great! The bokeh effect is one of the greatest effects that many lenses own, and using it while taking family portraits will definitely be the best thing to do.

What f-stop should I use for family portraits?

The f-stop of a lens basically shows the aperture that it has. When it comes to family portraits, I would advise you to adjust the aperture to f/5.6 or f/8 as they are the ones I use, and I am very happy with the results at the end.

What is the best focal range if there is a big family?

Not every family is small, as you may encounter a huge family while taking pictures. You should know that the best focal range or focal length for a big family would be 50mm or 85mm. They have a normal angle and will help you have everybody in the picture.

Final Words

So, as we came to the end of this article, here it is you guys! The best lens for family portraits! Even though the list includes several lenses, still, I would like to mention that all of them work perfectly fine.

As you can notice, the lenses are different from one another; that’s because you may own different types of cameras and always remember: Not every lens works properly with any camera!

As I am writing this article, I really hope it will help you choose the best lens for family portraits!

Further Reading

Now, family portrait pictures are one of the greatest things that you can capture with your camera! You can notice all the love that surrounds the family. However, if you are not into family portraits but instead you work with outdoor portraits in general, you can take a look at the lenses for portraits to shoot outdoors or some great lenses for a full-body portrait.

If you want family engagement photos, then you should get a lens for engagement photography.

I bet that there are people that are in “love” with selfies I think that you would need a camera for self-portraits.

Michael Fortin