Advantages of using a 35mm lens for portrait photography

Portrait photography is probably the only field of photography where you can use basically any lens and still have great results.  But the lens you choose affects the mood and message of the image. That’s why you have to know which is the best portrait shot.  This article focuses on the advantages of using a 35mm lens for portrait photography.  

1. What is a 35mm lens?  

Lenses are classified by their focal length and whether they are zoom lenses or fixed focal length (called “prime focus”).  So a 35mm prime lens is just a lens with a 35mm focal length and no zoom.  35mm happens to be the same width as the full-frame camera sensor, the same width.  Perhaps it is this simple fact that makes it a popular choice for photographers of any skill level for all types of photography and video.  

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2. Can I shoot people with a 35mm lens  

Yes, you can take portraits with a 35 mm lens.  The best way to shoot a portrait with a 35 mm lens is to stay 3 to 4 feet away from the subject (not too close) and have their face toward the center of the frame.  If the lens is too close to the edge, the wider angle of the lens will distort the subject’s features.  Hold the camera at eye level with the subject and take the picture.  

3. Advantages of using a 35mm lens for portrait photography  

(1) Get creative with a 35 mm lens  

Remember when I said you could shoot people with almost any lens?  That’s because it’s true.  You can take very interesting photos with a wide-angle of 35mm.  Be creative and change your perspective.  Low to the ground, use the foreground as a creative element for the shoot.  

Also, consider foreground elements to help compose your subject and get creative photos.  Set the tone and tone of the story by taking unique images for your portfolio.  There is no limit to what you can do, just go out and have fun.  

(2) Capture more of the environment and tell the story  

If you spend time doing location recon, you want to show this in the image.  For example, you can take 85 mm portraits in any well-lit area.  Especially if f1.4 or F1.8 is open.  

The background will be so blurry that you won’t be able to tell where you’re shooting.  This is not the case with the 35mm.  Your subject can be immersed in this location, and you can set the style and story for the shot.  

For example, if you are in a large city, use the building as a focal point along with the subject in the portrait.  Are your subjects excited or afraid of their surroundings?  This can be illustrated by the way you shoot using angles and creative composition.  Not just taking pictures, but creating emotions and characters for your subject.  

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4. Portrait shooting skills with a 35 mm lens  

(1) Avoid the edges and focus on the center  

Modern 35mm lenses are very good – but even their corners are still distorted.  It’s not as bad as it used to be, but in my eyes and my tests, there’s absolutely no 35mm lens with perfect corners.  These corners can cause strange effects and warping.  For this reason, I strongly recommend that you keep your subject close to the center of the frame.  If there are, try to place them outside the outer quarter of the frame.  Of course, if you’re happy with how they look in the outer areas, so be it.  But in general, this rule works very well.  

(2) Keep in mind perspective/proximity distortion  

Keep in mind that when you shoot with a 35mm lens, the parts closest to the frame will be distorted.  In some cases, this is fine and acceptable.  Depending on what you ask about the image above, your subject’s arm deformation is either very good/no, or a little unflattering.  It all has to do with posture.  

The 35mm is a classic storytelling lens.  There’s a reason the 35mm is so much referenced in all photography.  When shooting, you can capture the subject, but also get enough context to set the mood and tone of the image.  

The classic Pretty 50 shot is also an excellent shot for portrait shots and capturing subjects in the environment.  You may need to take a few steps back compared to using a 35mm lens, especially with a prime lens, but you’ll also get the background in the shot.  With 35mm, you don’t need much space.  A wide Angle makes shooting very simple because there is less space and position.  

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