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5 Best Lenses For Fashion Photography

While pictures usually tell a story, a picture of a fashion icon mostly tells a beautiful subject.

What’s the common thing between a high-end lens and fashion?

Both provide “Beauty”.

A good lens will give us great image quality, but the question here is which one is the best lens for fashion photography?

Portraiture photography and fashion photography are pretty much the same, a portrait lens will work just fine in the fashion field.

I know, that doesn’t make things easier – we still need the best lens for fashion photography.

Don’t worry, I got the answer for that too – In today’s article I have compiled a list with some lenses that will work wonders in the fashion field.

If none of my options appeal to you, yet again, you don’t have to worry since in the end you will be greeted by a buying guide.

Without wasting time, let’s start listing.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Most Versatile
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
8.6
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Best for Group Portraits
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
8.5
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Best for Outdoor
Sony - FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
Sony - FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS
9.1
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Best Wide Angle
Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM
Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM
8.8
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Best Value
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
8.6
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Top 5 Best Fashion Photography Lenses

5. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L – Most Versatile

Starting right away with a great zoom lens that is among the best lenses for general purpose in the fashion world. Its focal range covers most ranges a fashion photographer would need.

This lens for fashion photography was meant to be a workhorse that will benefit mostly professional-grade photographers, and it sure does what it is sent out to do.

Surprisingly enough, it is really sharp; something you don’t see on zoom lenses. You might encounter some soft corners but it’s nothing groundbreaking.

It is a bit on the heavy side, but nothing offense – it is understandable why it is big and bulky.

It includes two UD (ultra-low dispersion) glass elements and one Super UD that contribute to minimizing the chromatic aberrations.

It lacks built-in image stabilization, but that’s where the manufacturer gets their savings since this lens is relatively affordable.

Why Should You Buy It?

Despite being a zoom lens it packs many qualities a prime lens has. While being versatile and offering the perfect amount of focal range a fashion photographer needs, it does it in a clear and sharp quality with great color saturation.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal length: 24-70mm
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Elements: 16
  • Groups 13
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.38 m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.29x
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 2.1 pounds

Pros:

  • Really Versatile
  • Well Built
  • Minimal Chromatic Aberration

Cons:

  • Lacks built-in Image Stabilization

4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM – Best for Group Portraits

Next, we have another Canon, the latter one being a prime lens with the perfect focal length that is needed for portraits.

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM belongs on Canon’s mid-range lenses and it is really well built. It has a metal combined with a plastic finish and it is a bit larger than the rest of its lineup; due to needing space for its autofocus system.

As mentioned, it features Canons USM autofocus system which is quite decent. It will perform in a swift and silent manner that will reward mostly fashion videographers.

Aperture is a thing to love in this lens for fashion photography, it rewards us with clear imaging even in low-light situations while the 2 lens elements suppress astigmatic difference.

Why Should You Buy It?

If you don’t know your way around at a Pro level, this lens for fashion photography is extremely beginner-friendly.

It is easy to use, comes with a good price and offers really adequate quality in return.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: F1.4
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Elements: 7
  • Groups: 6
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.45 m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.15x
  • Filter size: 58mm
  • Weight: 290g (10.2 oz)

Pros:

  • Well built
  • Great Aperture Performance

Cons:

  • AutoFocus could be better
  • Not so sharp

3. Sony – FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS – Best for Outdoor

While Prime lenses are the ideal ones for fashion photography, this zoom lens that was made mostly for Sony’s mirrorless lineup doesn’t fail to provide Prime lens tier quality.

It covers pretty much every single focal range you will need for your fashion photography and at the same time, it is feature-packed.

It has a Nano AR coating that fends off ghosting and flare while the four aspherical elements, ED elements contribute to keeping the chromatic aberration at a minimum.

Yes, it is also dust and moisture resistant since you will be shooting outside sudden rains and such may occur, but they won’t bother this lens.

It also utilizes Sony’s Direct Drive SSM focus motor which offers superb autofocus capabilities. Image stabilization is another area where this lens is very powerful in. The image stabilization that this lens offers is honestly impressive.

Why Should You Buy It?

If your fashion work mostly includes, outside shooting – this camera lens for fashion photography is something that you should seriously consider.

Especially, if you want to avoid switching lenses all the time.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal length: 24-105mm
  • Maximum aperture: F4
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Elements: 17
  • Groups: 14
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.38 m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.31x
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 663 g (1.46 lb)

Pros:

  • Reasonably Sharp
  • Versatile
  • Great Auto-Focus Capabilities
  • Well Built
  • Great Focal Range
  • Great image stabilization

Cons:

  • Still not as sharp as a Prime lens
  • You Can Encounter Chromatic Aberration

2. Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM – Best Wide Angle

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget to include a wide-angle lens, after all the 35mm range is one of the best ranges for fashion photography.

This wide-angle lens from Sigma elbowed through the crowd due to being a great proxy option to camera manufacturers’ peers.

It pretty much offers the same result to DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras at a really affordable price.

This camera lens for fashion photography features Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that ensures swift and silent autofocusing capabilities.

On the other hand, the SLD glass elements along with FLD glass elements hugely contribute to reducing chromatic aberration.

At the same time, it is an excellent low-light performer thanks to the aperture it contains.

Why Should You Buy It?

Sigma is able to sit with the big dogs due to offering superb lenses at a cheap price.

If you want to try how a wide-angle lens will work on your fashion photography, there’s no better choice than this bad boy from Sigma. You can also occasionally use this lens for portrait photography, because this is another field where its good in.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: F1.4
  • Minimum aperture: F16
  • Elements: 13
  • Groups: 11
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.30 m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.19x
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 665 g (1.47 lb)

Pros:

  • Really Sharp
  • Decently Built
  • Great Bokeh Effect
  • Well Priced
  • Great for portrait photography

Cons:

  • For the price it comes with, literally nothing.

1. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G – Best Value

Last, but certainly not least, we have a really lightweight, compact, and affordable prime lens for fashion photography.

It pretty much got the 3 key elements we look at mostly on a camera lens for fashion photography right?

Nope, there’s even more. It has a fast aperture of F1.8 that makes the lens a superb low-light performer. Also, the 7-bladed aperture diaphragm brings a creamy and smooth bokeh effect.

It doesn’t leave behind Nikon’s silent wave motor either, an Auto Focus technology that rewards videographers in a silent yet super fast manner.

Why Should You Buy It?

It has a great focal range for fashion photography, although it is something that will work indoors mostly due to not being too wide, that doesn’t mean it limits the outdoor photography, it’s just that this camera lens is ideal for solo portraits and not group photography.

If you need an 85mm lens, this one is your friend, as I mentioned above it is really compact, its performance is superb on low-light and on top of all this, it comes at a really affordable price. Definitely one of the best lenses for fashion photography.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Maximum aperture: F1.8
  • Minimum aperture: F16
  • Elements: 9
  • Groups: 9
  • Closest focusing distance: 0.80 m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.124x
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 350 g (0.77 lb)

Pros:

  • Quite Sharp
  • Wide Aperture
  • Great Low-Light Performance
  • Pretty good for portrait photography

Cons:

  • Biased close focus
  • No optical stabilization

 

Things You Should Know Prior To Buying A Lens For Fashion Photography

Zoom or Prime Lenses?

This is something that will never-end being compared, most photographers have their own opinion.

But at the end of the day, it all boils down to preferences and mostly to the type of photography you shoot.

Both zoom and prime lenses have their benefits and drawbacks.

If you want more freedom, and you want to carry fewer lenses, I would say to opt for a zoom one.

However, I would highly advise going for prime lenses due to them offering a sharper and better overall quality.

The price you have to pay for that is the fixed focal length that results in carrying more lenses with you.

Focal Length

The focal length on a lens for fashion photography is so important that even the lenses themselves are named after the focal range they contain.

Simply put focal length measures the distance between the camera sensor and the optical center.

Even though it depends on what kind of fashion photo you want to capture, the best focal range would be from 30mm up to 200mm.

Below you will see a great example of how a model looks across the mentioned focal ranges.

Background

Background also plays a huge when photographing a model, if it is studio work then you should be fine.

But in nature, you want to pick the right place and you want your model to blend in with nature.

What I mean is that there should be an appealing place, and you want to know the right amount of background you want to capture in the frame. You don’t want anything too flashy either, since it grabs the attention away from your model.

Focal Length is what contributes to that aspect.

Just make sure to play around with different positions till you get the perfect one.

Bokeh

You should probably be familiar with the bokeh effect by now.

It’s the out-of-focus part of a picture, that looks pleasing while the subject comes more in focus.

To pull up an aesthetically pleasing bokeh effect, you’d want a lens that can go from f/1.4 up to f/2.8 with the latter one being ideal.

A fast aperture prime lens usually gives the best bokeh.

F.A.Q – Frequently Asked Questions

What lens do fashion photographers Mostly Use?

Well, it depends on the photographer’s style it is different among all photographers.

But I’ve seen most of them utilizing on 35mm lenses,

Is 85mm or 50mm better for fashion photography?

Both are good focal lengths.

If you are doing head photos, you should go for the 85mm.

While the 50mm is ideal for full-body or group portraits.

What camera do fashion photographers use?

There are many different cameras, and different photographers use different cameras, but I can name some that will work wonders in the fashion field.

Nikon D850 – this one would be great if you know your way around photography, basically, if you are a pro

If you are a beginner a Canon EOS 80D will do it just fine.

If you prefer a flagship from Sony, there’s no better choice than the Sony Alpha 7 IV.

Final Words:

Fashion Photography, is not as easy as it appears, even If your model is attractive it still requires some photo skills to get the best out of it.

But when you think of it, even if you have the right photography skills, you might miss the good lens.

I can confidently say that the above lenses, will fill the bill just right regarding fashion photography.

Still, like always, make sure you do your homework because lenses don’t come cheap, they put a hole in your pocket.

Further Reading:

In case your camera is a Nikon D850, I have listed 10 other lenses that suit NikonD850, or another 10 lenses for Nikon 5600.

If you are a Canon fan or own a canon camera, here are some great lenses for Canon Rebel T7.

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget you Sony users, I rounded up some amazing lenses for A7C.