5 Reasons to Invest in “Good Glass” for Portrait Photography

  By Kaitlyn Kerr


When it comes to portraits, the lens you choose has a huge impact on the final image. Good glass can make great portraits. Here’s five things to consider when choosing your next portrait lens:

1. Fast aperture = beautiful bokeh – With a lens that has an aperture like F2.8, or F1.8, or even F1.2, you can get beautifully blurred out backgrounds that look professional and draw more attention to your subject.


2. Sweet and sharp – Higher quality optics, such as Canon’s L-series lenses, translate to sharper images, and a sharpness that extends to the edge of the frame. This means you can fill the frame with your subject and still retain a stunning level of detail even in the wisps of hair to the edge of the image.


3. Go long to flatter – A longer lens, like an 85mm, 135mm, or even 200mm will compress the image, rather than distort it in an unflattering way. A longer lens will also give you more working room, so you’re not invading your subject’s personal bubble as much.



4. Prime-time – Prime lenses (lenses with a fixed focal length, like 50mm) are often sharp, small, and have a faster aperture as compared to their zoom counterparts at the same price point, and are often favoured by professional portrait photographers.

5. Zoom for less room – A zoom lens (like the popular 24-70mm F2.8) will take up less room in your bag than three or four primes within the same focal range. They’re also really handy if you’re trying to work quickly in a more confined space where you don’t have as much room to move around.

Investing in good glass is always a good idea – it will last longer than your camera and can make a world of difference in your images. Canon’s L-series are designed to be top-quality and perform to help you get the picture.

Featured in this Article:

Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM

Canon EF 135mm f2.0L USM

Canon EF 85mm F1.4L IS USM

Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM

Canon EF 50mm f1.2 L USM

Canon EF 35mm f1.4L II USM


Kaitlyn is a craft beer enthusiast and self-labelled film nerd. Suitably, she is one of the hosts of Calgary's Beers & Cameras meetup group. She also drinks too much coffee and wants to see too many places. When not helping coordinate events or exploring whatever city, town, or backroad she can, she also works as a freelance photographer and assistant.