Lenses for Glamour & Fashion

Many photographers would like to make glamour or fashion photographs but think the lack of equipment makes this goal unattainable. Nothing could farther from the truth. All that’s really needed to produce professional quality glamour images is a camera with interchangeable lenses, a few simple photographic accessories, and models willing to pose. My basic lens kit is simple and the specific lens used is determined by whether I’m shopping indoors or outside.

EF 28-105mm lens at 105mm

EF 28-105mm lens at 105mm

The following suggestions are built around two facts-of-life about shooting indoor glamour. For openers, there’s never enough space indoors to shoot and I often find myself pressed up against the opposite wall when making glamour photographs. This translates into shorter lenses than I might otherwise prefer.  The corollary to this dilemma is that there is never enough light to shoot indoors. This translates into using fast lenses. Indoors, I prefer using 85 or 135mm lens but don’t discount the 50mm lens that used to be bundled with a camera. Even an inexpensive normal lens that sells for $80 can make great shots.

Which lenses do I use where? It depends on the multiplication factor of a particular camera. If I was making that same shot in the kitchen with a camera with a full frame chip, I might use am 85mm lens instead of a 50mm. Either way the perspective provided by any 85mm lens, especially a fast one, makes it ideal for indoor glamour images no matter what kind of digital SLR you use.  Depending on your SLRs multiplication factor the 135mm lens can be tight fit for some indoor locations but if you have the space you will love the perspective this lens produces.

12-50mm lens at 12mm

12-50mm lens at 12mm

Outdoors, you almost always have both more light and more room so that’s when I start using longer focal length and zoom lenses. There’s almost always enough room to do full length poses outdoors and longer focal lengths allow shallower depth-of-field and consequently softer-looking backgrounds. For openers I start with zoom lenses in the slightly wide angle to mild telephoto range. A lens in the focal length range of 28-135mm provides flexibility for choosing high or low camera positions. Another option is something from the mild telephoto to the longer telephoto range such as the classic 80-200 or 75-300mm lens. Long focal lengths provided by lenses in the 75-300mm range produce the shallow depth-of-filed that allow a model, especially when photographed at the end of that range and in a full-length pose to pop out of the background and place the focus squarely on her.

Author: Joe Farace

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