When taking portraits, the selection of the lens plays a crucial role. Depending on which focal length is selected, the portrait will look natural, distorted or flattened. In this article, we will therefore discuss the different sensor sizes and the corresponding focal lengths.

Fixed focal lengths for portraits

Special fixed focal lengths, also called portrait lenses, offer the photographer an optimal compromise between light intensity, freedom from distortion, sharpness (especially in the center of the photo) and the natural representation of skin tones. The apertures are configured to provide a particularly harmonious and soft bokeh. Professional portrait photographers have had to deal with this issue in most cases.

The right focal length for my camera

If you own a DX camera, a focal length between 70 and 90mm at the most is recommended. For full-frame sensors, focal lengths of 85mm to a maximum of 135mm are recommended. In medium format, you can even go up to 150mm. Those who work with a large format camera must even be prepared for focal lengths starting at 300mm.

So with any system, it is important to make sure that the focal length and, of course, the distance to the subject are selected carefully. Since these lenses are so-called light telephoto lenses, it is usually possible to detach the person to be photographed from the background very well and bring them into focus.

Good portraits are also possible with normal lenses. The only thing to keep in mind is that you should shoot with a focal length of at least 50mm. If you would like to have a look at some galleries of our professional photographers from the portrait area, we have some links from the photographer search for your inspiration.

Focal lengths for portraits – the agony of lens selection
Start your success story

We’ll set up your photographer shop in just a few minutes. You can then test the shop extensively for 30 days. The test expires automatically – no cancellation is necessary.