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Best Lenses For Headshots in 2023 (Reviewed)

You can take headshot pictures with different cameras, but when it comes to choosing lenses, things become a little bit weird. Well, welcome to CameraGurus. That’s why I am here!

In this article, you will find the best lens for headshots, and let me mention that within are included some important picks for some of the most known cameras that you may already own!

Without losing too much time, let’s check out the best lenses for headshots.

A Quick Look At My Favorite Headshot Lenses

Best Telephoto Prime Lens
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8

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Best Versatile
Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR

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Best For Portraits
Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

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Best For Wildlife
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR

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Best For Subject Focus
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

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Key Takeaways

  • Headshot? It is merely one of the most well-known types of photography.
  • Your headshot images will appear better than ever with specific lenses.
  • The Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR is the lens I would select if versatility were my only consideration.
  • The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is the ideal lens for your camera if you enjoy exploring and shooting pictures of animals.
  • A fantastic focal length is a must-have if you want a top-notch headshot lens.

The Top 5 Best Lenses for Headshots

5. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 – Best Telephoto Prime Lens

What I Like

  • Well build
  • Extremely sharp
  • Smooth Bokeh

What I Don’t Like

  • Hood not included

Just as the name tells, this portrait lens comes from the famous Olympus brand which has some great cameras. It is a headshot lens that is compatible with Micro Four Thirds Cameras that come from this brand and not only! This lens works with Panasonic cameras as well.

Starting from the looks firstly, this portrait lens is quite small one that measures 2.72 x 2.52 inches, and it has a lightweight of 10.8 ounces. Based on these two features, this portrait lens is fully portable.

In the optical construction of this portrait lens are added 10 elements and they are divided into 9 groups. There are found three ELD elements and two High Refractive Elements. The coating that it owns is the famous ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical). The elements and the coating minimize flare and ghosting.

This Olympus lens has a fixed focal length that only works at 75mm. It covers whatever you need for headshots though.

There’s also the aperture that works at f/1.8 and it helps you achieve shallow depth of field, and also, this aperture is great when used in low light conditions. When it comes to the aperture diaphragm, it is nine blades, and it helps you bring a very pleasing bokeh effect.

The focus system that this portrait lens works with is Movie and Still compatible autofocus, meaning that it works perfectly fine both in pictures and videos. It is fast, accurate, and silent.

This is my favorite portrait lens of all time. It’s my daily driver. Whenever i have to take portrait photos, i grab this portrait lens with me and it never lets me down. I highly recommend it to everyone!

Key Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 75mm
  • Lens Type: Telephoto Lens
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8

Why should you buy it?

This lens has a great aperture that can be used in low-light environments.

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 Sample Photos

4. Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – Best Versatile

What I Like

  • Image stabilization
  • Sharp optics
  • Relatively compact

What I Don’t Like

  • Edge quality suffers when zoomed

Here goes another telephoto lens that in this case differs from the first one that I already mentioned, because on this we don’t have a fixed focal length, meaning it is a zoom lens. One of the most popular zoom lenses in fact.

However, this headshot lens comes from the Fujifilm brand, and it is compatible with mirrorless cameras from the brand.

This lens is a bit bigger since it measures 3.26 x 6.93 inches and it weighs about 2.2 pounds. What deserves to be mentioned in its build is that this lens is fully resistant and can withstand any weather condition (WR on its name). This is one of the main reasons I consider this as the best lens in its field.

Prime lenses are those that have a fixed focal length. The Sony FE 85mm is one of the best prime lenses out there right now.

Moving into another construction, the optical one, we deal with 23 elements divided into 16 groups. On those elements are added five ED elements and one Super ED element. There are the Nano-GI (Gradient Index Coating) and the HT-EBC (High Transmittance Electron Beam Coating). All of the things mentioned fully reduce ghosting and flare in general.

As you can notice on the name of the lens, the focal length works at a range from 50mm to 140mm. It is one of the greatest focal lengths used during headshot photography.

The aperture works at f/2.8 and it is that kind of aperture that is used if there’s needed or required for more depth of field. There’s also the rounded diaphragm that includes seven blades.

Via the Triple Linear Autofocus Motor, the focus is very smooth and brings a near-silent performance.

On this lens’ name, you see OIS, and it can only tell one thing! The headshot lens owns an Optical Image Stabilization that fully helps when you have shaky hands since it reduces the blur. Definitely one of the most popular telephoto lenses out there, and that’s for a reason!

Key Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 50-140 mm
  • Lens Type: Telephoto Lens
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8

Why should you buy it?

This lens is fully resistant and can withstand any weather condition, so you can take it with you everywhere.

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Fujifilm XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR Sample Photos

3. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM – Best For Portraits

What I Like

  • Great design
  • Dust and splash protection
  • No distortion
  • Impressively sharp

What I Don’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Dimmed corners

Many professional portrait photographers use Sony cameras that come from the Alpha series. Well, that’s why I chose this lens. It is an amazing standard fixed lens that comes from the GM series of lenses, meaning that it has some specialties and a higher price.

On just a first look you can notice that the lens is quite well-built! It is a strong and durable lens that has a dust and moisture-resistant body. When it comes to size, this lens measures 8.3 x 5 x 5.5 inches and weighs 1.81 pounds.

The elements that Sony added to this headshot lens are full 11, and they are divided into 8 groups. There is one XA element and three ED elements. You also deal with a Nano AR coating, which is one of the most famous coatings that Sony uses on its lenses. The combination of the elements and the coating brings to you great pictures with no reflections.

The focal length is fully fixed, and that makes this lens a standard fixed lens. The focal length of 85mm is the most commonly used when it comes to portrait photography and headshot photography as well.

The aperture is f/1.4; a perfect aperture if you are shooting in a low-light environment. There’s a specialty on its diaphragm since it includes eleven blades and this headshot lens is known as the first lens with an aperture diaphragm of eleven blades that comes from Sony.

The motor that drives the focus of this lens is a Linear SSM (Super Sonic Motor) Focus System. It also allows you to use the focus manually, and you can use the switch found on the side of the lens. Both automatic and manual focus is very accurate.

If you pair this portrait lens with a full-frame camera, you will get amazing results. Definitely a great lens for portrait photography.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 85mm
  • Lens Type: Standard Lens
  • Maximum Aperture: F/1.4

Why should you buy it?

It is a strong and durable lens that has a dust and moisture-resistant body, which makes it totally worth a purchase.

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Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM Sample Photos

2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR – Best For Wildlife

What I Like

  • Great sharpness
  • Optical stabilization
  • Sturdy build

What I Don’t Like

  • Dimmed corners

What would be better for your Nikon camera than a headshot lens that comes from the same amazing brand? Nothing! This lens is a very versatile telephoto zoom lens, that is known as the most used lens in portrait photography. It does a perfect job with headshots too!

Pair it with a full-frame camera, and you’re good to go.

This headshot lens is a very well-built one too! Even though there is no specification that the lens is resistant, many portrait photographers say that this lens is one of the most durable lenses that can last for a very long time. The measurements of this one are 7.9 x 3.4 inches and its weight is about 3.15 pounds.

The lens includes 22 elements, and all of them are put in 18 groups. The most special elements that this headshot lens owns are six Extra-Low Dispersion elements. You can also find fluorite and HRI elements. There is the Nano Crystal and the Super Integrated coatings. All of them help you capture pictures with amazing sharpness and no flare and ghosting in any way.

The focal length covers almost everything! It works from 70mm to 200mm, and that makes the lens a portrait to telephoto zoom.

There’s also added a bright aperture of f/2.8 and it is one of the most used apertures overall. The aperture diaphragm works with nine blades in general and it brings a super smooth bokeh effect, of course, if needed.

In this headshot lens, you can find the Silent Wave Motor AF System. It makes the focus work as perfect as possible. It is very fast and super precise!

What do the letters VR mean in this headshot lens? You may have already heard about the Vibration Reduction feature that minimizes the blur that may be caused while taking pictures.

When it comes to portrait photography, this is definitely one of the best zoom lenses out there.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 200mm
  • Lens Type: Telephoto Lens
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8

Why should you buy it?

Many portrait photographers say that this lens is one of the most durable lenses that can last for a very long time.

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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Sample Photos

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Best For Subject Focus

What I Like

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Very sharp

What I Don’t Like

  • Slower focus
  • Omits stabilization

Last but not least, the most famous lens comes from the Canon brand and it works perfectly when it comes to headshots and during nighttime photography! As noticed, it is a fixed standard lens that does a great job when it is added to a Canon camera.

As a whole, this lens measures 1.54 x 2.72 inches and weighs 5.6 ounces. It is a super portable lens that doesn’t take too much place in your travel bag. Again, this lens is not quite resistant to dust or moisture, so you may want to be careful while in use.

The elements that are included in this lens are 6 and are divided into 5 groups. Well, there are no other special elements besides the aspherical ones, but they do the job perfectly fine. On the lens is also included the Super Spectra Coating, which reduces flare and ghosting. It also helps you bring pictures with amazing color accuracy.

The focal length of 50mm makes this lens a great one for headshot photography because it captures whatever you need.

The aperture works at f/1.8 and it will help bring some amazing headshots, portraits, and amazing pictures during nighttime. You also find a rounded seven-blade aperture diaphragm, which brings an amazing out-of-focus quality, that is in a way linked with selective focusing.

Canon has a very famous focusing system, and it is the STM Stepping AF Motor. It drives the focus amazingly, and it is a very advanced system! The focus, in general, is precise, and you can also adjust it, meaning that it can easily turn into a manual focus! It’s one of the cheapest prime lenses out there.

It’s the best lens in its field.

Key Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • Lens Type: Standard
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8

Why should you buy it?

This lens helps you bring pictures with amazing color accuracy, and is the best lens for subject photography.

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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Sample Photos

FAQ About Headshots

How to distinguish between a headshot and a portrait? Are they the same thing?

What should be known in this part is that headshots are an important type of portrait photography in general, but still, headshots and portraits are not the same things!

A headshot, as already mentioned, is a picture of just the face of the subject, captured from the shoulders up, and on a headshot stands only one person.

Portrait photography, on the other hand, is the most famous type of photography and on it is included a person or more people, and you basically show some characteristics of the subject that you are taking a picture of.

There is a full-body portrait version which is the best way to find the difference between these two types of photography. 

Can everybody take headshots?

If you have a full-frame camera or a crop sensor camera, you can take headshot photos.

Of course, full-frame camera is much better than a crop sensor camera, but both can get the job done easily.

Even though somehow it may look difficult, if you own the most important things that are needed, a headshot picture can be easily captured. Still, all around the world, you can find some portrait photographers that deal only with this type of photography. Portrait photographers mostly work in studios but that doesn’t mean that headshots should only be taken in there.

Everyone needs a headshot and everyone can shoot one.

Are headshots important?

Headshots are almost everywhere! Everybody has ID cards, right? Well, the picture that you take for your ID card is basically a headshot. And that is a very important one, and it is the most famous headshot picture.

Some other important things that in a way explain why a headshot is an important thing include CVs, Profile Pictures in Social Media, Companies, Business Cards, Newspapers, Actors, and also you always encounter headshot pictures in Biographies of any particular person.

What lens do I need for headshots?

A good lens for headshot photography is considered one that has a focal length of at least 50mm. However, that is not the only type of lens that you can use! As you can notice, I listed lenses that include a variety of focal lengths, and they all do a pretty well job. The best lens will be the one that works best with your camera.

The most commonly used lenses for headshots are those that have a focal length of 50mm, 75mm, 85mm, or zoom lenses that cover almost every focal length.

What is the best focal length for headshots?

There is no absolute ‘best focal length’ for headshots, but anything over 50mm will work great with a full-frame camera.

Final Words

So, as we came to the end of this article, you can notice that it’s hard to point out the absolute best lens, but instead, I tried to choose lenses from different brands so that you can use them with any type of camera from those brands.

I hope this article will help you choose the best lens for headshots!

Always remember that comfortability is the key to taking the best picture! Make sure that your client is feeling comfortable when you take a headshot picture and be ready to expect the best of it! Nothing can go wrong if both the photographer and the client are comfortable!

Further Reading

In the beginning, I mentioned that Headshot Photography is related to portrait photography in general! If you are not really interested in this type of photography (headshot), but instead, you are a portrait photographer, then here are some amazing lenses for full-body portraits.

There’s no wrong if you are a professional and a selfie lover too! I take selfies too while using a camera for self-portraits! If you are like me I would advise you to check them out!

So, this is it! Enjoy your Best Lens for Headshots!