How To Use a 50mm Lens For Portraits 2022

A 50mm lens is an amazing tool for shooting portraits. It is versatile, inexpensive, and produces great shots. Unlike other lenses, you do not need a gear before you optimize its full potential.

Why? It is easy to carry around. In other words, you can go around to capture the moments irrespective of your body posture – standing, sitting, lying down, and more. Besides, the components of the lens make it a suitable choice for every photographer intending to take portraits.

So, how do you use your 50mm lens in taking your projected shots? Let’s find out in this article.

What is a 50mm Lens?

A 50mm lens is a medium focal length lens that allows you to focus on the subject. Its focal distance is fixed; hence, you cannot zoom in or out on your targeted subject. Instead, you can only zoom in on your subject with your feet.

What is a 50mm Lens

That is, if you intend to create the photograph of your choice, you will have to move closer or farther to get your desired result. 50mm lenses come in different forms. You can either get the prime lens or zoom lenses. Both are slightly different in function but give you great results if utilized optimally.

Why You Need a 50mm Lens

50mm lenses are brilliant tools that take beautiful portrait images. Thanks to its structure, you can focus on your subject and produce a creative shot within its focal point.

Need a 50mm Lens

Here, we shall take a look at five reasons why you need a 50mm lens in the world of photography.

1. Enhance Creativity

Since a 50mm lens makes you focused on your subjects, you may have difficulty fitting every element of the composition into the shot. Hence, you have to be creative and decisive in choosing your composition.

By doing this consistently, you get to improve your composition technique as well as your overall photography skill.

2. Relatively Cheap

50mm lenses are inexpensive. You can get a new one for around 100 to 200 bucks. By a new one, we mean the typical f/1.8 lens or the f/1.4 aperture. Getting one of these sets you on track on your photography journey.

3. Lightweight

50mm is lightweight. They can fit into your pocket or easily hang on your neck. With this small size, you can get your work done without receiving any attention.

4. Produces High-Quality Pictures

50mm produces high-quality pictures that rival other expensive lenses. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean it shouldn’t perform a fantastic task. The compositions are sharp without leaving any sort of distortion on the subject.

5. Aperture

Most 50mm lenses are f/1.8 in structure. They have a wider aperture that is good for low-light photography. In other words, your 50mm lens gives you a better result in a low-light location such as indoor shooting, low-light portrait, and more.

Using A 50Mm Lens For Portrait

As stated earlier, using a 50mm lens requires creativity. You have to be creative in deciding on the varying elements that should be incorporated into your composition. Selecting the right elements enables you to create amazing shots.

How To Use a 50mm Lens For Portraits

Here are some various techniques that help you to optimize your 50mm lens efficiently and get the desired result.

1. Consider your subject’s focal distance

The distance by your subjects should relatively depend on your location. Elements such as lighting, composition, location, and framing often influence the result of the shots.

When aiming to achieve a bokeh, ensure you maintain a closer distance with your subject and focus on the upper part of the body. Then, you can employ any composition technique of your choice while keeping the background in mind as well.

If the scene is a complex one with lots of elements, strive to create a shallow depth of field to avoid a huge mess of your composition.

2. Consider your composition technique

Different composition techniques apply to different scenarios. Here are some tips to consider when taking a portrait shot:

  • The rule of thirds – A standard composition technique that is suitable for portrait photography at any time.
  • Centered composition – Here, the subject has to be in the center of the camera lens. If it isn’t, you can crop the photo to get your result.
  • Foregrounding the subject and the depth of the field – Here, the subject has to appear in the middle of the focal distance (an out-of-focus background and a shallow depth of field) to create a professional look.
  • Simplification – The focus is on the subject that features a simple background with little or no foreground.

3. Considering whether you should take a vertical or horizontal photograph

Horizontal and vertical photographs work on different scenarios. You can take a horizontal photograph if you want the elements or scene to show. However, a vertical photograph is suitable if you intend to create bokeh, shallow depth of field, or enhance framing.

vertical or horizontal photograph

4. Consider the Aperture

The aperture of the photograph largely depends on the style you want to create. However, it is essential to note that the higher the aperture, the lower the sharpness of the picture.

The aperture determines how the image will look. The aperture to use depends on the distance of the subject and the background of the image. Hence, you may need to lower the aperture if you are closer to the subject.

5. Other Tips to Consider

Other tips that influence how you will use your lens. They include:

  • Post-processing – Working on the color temperature (skin of model) to blend with other advanced techniques such as saturation, sharpness, highlight, and more.
  • Lighting – You may need extra lighting or a reflector to produce the desired effect
  • Use a DSLR flash (flashgun) to create a balance when using a bright background


With the 50mm lens, you can create a good portrait photograph. Consider the above-mentioned tips to know how to use the lens effectively.

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