Taking a good family portrait is not easy – it’s about creating lasting memories. As a seasoned hobbyist photographer, I’ve tested dozens of lenses and finally, I found the Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 USM to be the best lens for family portraits.
This supreme lens is one of the best portrait lenses out there, featuring a handy 85mm focal length, wide aperture, fast and accurate autofocus, and sharpness, resulting in professional-looking portraits with pleasing bokeh.
That said, I also discovered some of the best lenses for group portraits, lifestyle family portraits, studio family portraits, and more during my search.
Whether you take family photography professionally or just for fun, investing in a reliable, high-quality portrait lens will greatly improve the quality of your images more than upgrading your camera.
So keep reading our guide and reviews to discover the best lenses for family photography with DSLR or mirrorless cameras today!
List of 14 Best Lenses for Family Portraits
- Overall Best camera lens for family portraits: Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 USM
- Best camera lens for Group Portraits: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
- Best camera lens for Environmental family Portraits: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art
- Best camera lens for Lifestyle family portraits: Canon RF 35mm f/1.8
- Best camera lens for Close up family portraits: Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
- Best Image Quality lens for family portraits: Nikon 85mm f/1.4
- Best camera lens for studio family portraits: Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
- Best Canon lens for family portraits: Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
- Best Sony lens for family portraits: Sony 85mm F/1.8-22
- Best Nikon lens for family portraits: Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
- Best Sigma lens for family portraits: Sigma 50mm F1.4 ART
- Best Fuji lens for family portraits: Fuji 35mm 1.4
- Best Tamron lens for family portraits: Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 G2
- Best Olympus lens for family portraits: Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75mm f/1.8
14 Best Lenses for Family Photography Reviewed
Here’s a mini-review of the best family portraits lenses with DSLR or mirrorless cameras. I want to show you the differences among them and inspire you to experiment with at least one lens in your next family session.
1 – Overall Best Lens for Family Portraits: Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 USM
As a portrait photographer, I prefer simplicity and quality when choosing lenses, as my main goal is to capture genuine emotions and candid moments of families.
The Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 USM is one of my personal favorites among all the lenses I own for family portraits. It offers sharp images with beautiful bokeh, a flattering focal length, and a wide aperture that allows for shallow depth of field and low-light shooting, making it a must-have for all portrait photographers with a Canon!
One of the best things about this great lens is its superb image quality. Its bright f/1.8 maximum aperture allows me to isolate subjects and work with shallow depth of field, making it ideal for head and shoulder portraits.
The Super Spectra coatings ensure accurate color balance, enhance contrast, and reduce flare and ghosting. This feature alone makes a world of difference when compared to my old Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.
I was thrilled that the images produced by this lens are sharper and more vibrant than even the Canon 50mm 1.2L, which is three times more expensive. The bokeh is gorgeous for portraits, and the colors are always vivid and crisp.
The images I take with this Canon lens could easily be featured in a magazine. I’m so glad I didn’t have to spend three times as much on the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4, as the image quality difference between the two is minuscule.
Another aspect I love about this portrait lens is its low-light capabilities. It’s no secret that natural light can be tricky to work with, but this lens is a game-changer. I can shoot in low light without sacrificing image quality or relying on artificial lighting.
It’s perfect for capturing candid moments, such as a child laughing, a family playing together, or a person lost in thought, even in dimly lit rooms or during sunset photo shoots.
I also like its decent focal length. This short-telephoto, portrait-length prime is perfect for full-frame Canon EF-mount DSLRs, but it can also be used with APS-C models (crop sensor cameras) where it provides a 136mm equivalent focal length.
As a portrait photographer who shoots both in the studio and outdoors with lights, I find the 85mm focal length to be very versatile.
In the studio, I often use the 85mm for headshots and half-body shots, and the longer focal length allows me to capture great detail and make my subjects look their best.
When it comes to outdoor family photography, I’ve found that some of my newer clients get uncomfortable with how close I have to get with a 50mm lens. However, with the 85mm, I’m able to maintain a comfortable distance and still take great shots.
I also find the 85mm to be great for family photography because it allows me to stand a bit further back and capture genuine emotions without getting right into people’s faces.
Speaking of the downsides, this lens has a minimum focusing distance of 85cm, which can be too far for non-portrait photography.
Additionally, fringing can occur, particularly when shooting wide open in sunlight or contrasting light. However, this can be easily fixed in post-processing software such as Lightroom.
Another downside is the chromatic aberration that can occur with this lens, which may require additional post-processing to correct.
Overall, the Canon EF 85mm F/1.8 is an excellent lens for family portrait photography, and provides great value for money for any portrait photographer.
2 – Best Lens for Group Portraits: Canon EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II USM
Group portraits are all about showcasing the connection and bond of a group of people. A standard zoom lens is best for this purpose because it captures both wide shots to fit more people in the frame, as well as telephoto shots to isolate individual subjects.
The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II features a versatile zoom range with a fixed maximum aperture, great image quality, and shallow depth of field, making it one of best EF lenses for group portraits.
As an owner of this Canon lens, I love its handy and versatile focal length. I have always preferred fixed focal length lenses for their superior image quality and low-light performance.
However, when it comes to group portraits, the EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II has become an indispensable tool in my arsenal.
Whether I am shooting a formal event, a family gathering, or a wedding, I cannot afford to miss a shot while changing lenses. With the EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II, I have the flexibility to get close to the group and capture wide-angle shots, as well as isolate a group with nice bokeh using the zoom function.
This lens is equally effective in both studio and outdoor settings, making it a reliable choice for all my group portrait needs.
Initially, I felt let down when my original EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM stopped working unexpectedly. However, after a couple of years of using it, I have come to appreciate its versatility, and it has become my go-to lens for group shots, offering multiple focal lengths for different perspectives – 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 70mm and great image quality.
Additionally, it can be used with APS-C models(crop sensor cameras), providing a 38.4-112mm equivalent focal length range.
I was thrilled with its superb image quality for group shots. My images are sharp and vibrant. The colors are rich and accurate, and the level of detail is crystal clear.
While this zoom lens may not be significantly sharper than other L lenses, its edge-to-edge sharpness is highly impressive. To my surprise, this great lens is sharper than my beloved Canon 50 f1.2L, which I never thought was possible.
For those shooting on an APS-C sensor (crop sensor cameras), the equivalent is the 17-55mm f2.8, which is probably one of the sharpest EF-S lenses ever built. It’s a testament to the quality of Canon’s L series lenses, and I’m glad to have one in my arsenal.
While I do wish that it had a lower f-stop, like f/1.4 or f/1.8, I still love the ability to zoom while getting a good bokeh in my photos, making it perfect for capturing large groups of people.
The lens’s construction is also top-notch. With one Super Ultra-Low Dispersion element and two ultra-low dispersion glass elements, it noticeably reduces color fringing and chromatic aberrations for high clarity and color fidelity.
Additionally, the three aspherical elements minimize spherical aberrations and distortions for improved sharpness and accurate rendering.
When it comes to the downside, this Canon lens doesn’t have any image stabilization, making it challenging to shoot in low light situations or capture smooth video footage. Secondly, it comes with a hefty price tag. Lastly, the bulk and weight of the lens make it less portable and convenient for travel, weighing in at 805g.
In conclusion, the Canon EF 24-70mm F/2.8L II is a go-to choice for professional photographers for capturing memorable group shots with stunning clarity and sharpness.
3 – Best Lens for Environmental Family Portraits: Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art
Environmental family portraits capture the unique characteristics and personalities of a family in their natural surroundings during special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. It’s all about composition, lights, and moments.
As a portrait shooter, I’m overjoyed that Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art has all the features I need to take beautiful portraits – from its wide aperture to excellent image quality, and ability to capture sharp, detailed images with beautiful bokeh – making it ideal for environmental family photography with DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
One of the best features of this wide angle lens is its versatile focal length of 35mm. Personally, I find 24mm is just a little too wide for family photography, while the 50mm lens feels a bit tight at times.
35mm is my favorite focal length because it strikes the perfect balance – it doesn’t feel too close or too wide, avoiding distortion that would be a deal-breaker.
What I love about using this great lens is that I can capture both the whole family and the environment in one frame while staying within a comfortable speaking distance.
I can include a bit of the location or surroundings, chat with or direct family members, keep them feeling at ease, and still fit the scene in the frame.
This results in a more natural-looking shot that truly captures the essence of the moment, even in tight spaces. It gives viewers additional information and tells a more complete story with both people and location.
Another benefit of using a prime lens is that it encourages me to be more creative and intentional with my composition, as I must physically move around to find the right framing. This compels me to think more about composition, instead of staying in the same position and simply zooming in or out to compose. This has significantly improved my portrait photography.
Moving on, one advantage I love about this lens is its bright f/1.4 maximum aperture, which performs great in low-light situations. I can shoot confidently without having to crank up the ISO, resulting in high quality images that are clear and well-lit.
Shooting wide open also allows me to achieve a shallow depth of field, which helps eliminate background distractions and focus solely on my subjects.
Comparing it with the Canon 35 f1.4, I find the Sigma lens to be on par with its image quality. Even wide open at f/1.4, the lens produces high quality images with edge-to-edge clarity. Stopping down to f/2.8 or lower only increases the sharpness and clarity.
In terms of the downsides, this wide angle lens is its tendency to produce chromatic aberration, which can affect image quality. Additionally, the lens is somewhat heavy, which can be a drawback for photographers who prefer lighter equipment.
Another issue to consider is that the autofocus is slightly slower than that of the original Canon lenses, but this is reflected in the lower price point. For many types of photography, this may not be a significant issue, but for those who require fast autofocus, it’s worth keeping in mind.
Overall, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens is a fantastic choice for portrait photographers looking to capture the unique personalities and surroundings of families during special occasions.
4 – Best Lens for Lifestyle Family Portraits: Canon RF 35mm f/1.8
Lifestyle family portraits are about relationships. It documents the natural interactions and daily routines of a family, rather than posed or staged shots.
The Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 is ideal for lifestyle family photography with mirrorless cameras due to its versatile focal length, fast aperture, affordable price, and ability to capture natural-looking images with beautiful bokeh.
One of the best things about this wide angle lens is its built-in macro feature. Having macro built into a nice 35mm not only makes the lens a little bit sharper, but also allows me to get really detailed shots.
For lifestyle family photography, I believe that a great story should have enough details that take the viewer on a journey, and capturing the details is a huge part of giving a sense of place and space.
As a macro lens with a 1:2 maximum magnification ratio and a minimum focusing distance of 6.7 inches, I can easily get close-up shots of small details such as clothes, accessories, and props, which truly enhances the overall story I’m trying to tell through my photos. I have fallen in love with the lens for its ability to get me closer to my subjects.
Furthermore, I am stunned at how versatile this lens is, especially when paired with a gimbal and either the R5 or R6 camera. By switching between regular and crop mode (56mm lens), I essentially have two lightweight lenses at my disposal, making it easy to capture both wide-angle and close-up shots without having to constantly switch lenses.
Another aspect I love about this great lens is its built-in image stabilization. It gives me the flexibility to capture shots in low-light conditions and while shooting handheld, without sacrificing image quality. The best part is, the image stabilization feature is built right into the lens, making it hassle-free to use and adjust on the go.
In lifestyle photography, every moment counts, and there is no time for readjusting and recomposing the shot before capturing it.
Although the focus speed may not be the fastest among all the lenses I have used, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 still offers reasonably fast autofocus, which is crucial for capturing scenes as they unfold.
Furthermore, the lens is quite bright, supercharging the camera’s autofocus ability and making it easier to focus accurately.
In addition, this budget lens is not only lightweight and super small, but it is also well-built and feels solid in my hands. It’s easy to carry around for lifestyle family photography. Compared to the Sigma 35 Art, it’s smaller and lighter, but still looks just as sharp, if not sharper.
When it comes to the downside, its motor can make some noise. However, I’ve found that it’s not a major issue and doesn’t affect the overall performance of the lens.
All in all, the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 is an excellent choice for photographers who want to capture the natural interactions and daily routines of families in a beautiful and detailed way.
5 – Best Lens for Close-Up Family Portraits: Canon RF 85mm F/2 Macro
Close-up family photography capture the emotions and the small details in an intimate and personal way. For this reason, I love taking both close-up portraits.
The Canon RF 85mm F/2 Macro features stunning image quality, a flattering focal length, and the added benefit of macro capabilities for capturing intricate details, making it the best lens for close-up family photography with mirrorless cameras.
As a portrait photographer, I understand how daunting it can be to stand in front of a camera. I strive to make my clients feel relaxed and trust me, my work, and my style. It’s always my goal to make them feel so at ease that they forget about the camera altogether.
One of the best features of this macro lens is its optimal focal length of 85mm, which is ideal for upper body and face close-ups. The background is compressed less with the 85 mm than a lens with a slightly longer focal length, and overall the image appears a bit softer and more harmonious.
This focal length also allows me to maintain a comfortable distance between myself and my subject, so I can easily communicate with them and sense their mood without invading their personal space for close-ups. This makes it perfect for taking close-up family photography.
Moreover, this macro lens has the unique features of a 1:2 magnification ratio macro feature with optical image stabilization, making it even more versatile for close-up family photography. This means that I can focus extra closely on my subject for some great semi-macro images, such as close-up shots of hands and feet, as well as shots of people with a book or an old phone.
While the macro focusing can be a bit slow, the lens offers excellent value for its price compared to the 85mm 1.2 L series. These unique features make the portrait lens flexible and suitable for various photography needs.
I was particularly impressed by the sharpness of the close-up images, even at f/2. I was thrilled to see that the image quality is fairly sharp with good contrast, and the bokeh is quite soft, even with challenging backgrounds.
Plus, I am satisfied with how well the lens performs in low-light situations. Shooting indoor close-up portraits in places like dark churches can be challenging, as the lack of natural light can result in images that are too dark or blurry.
However, the f/2 aperture on this portrait lens is enough to gather the light I need. And the ability to blur the background means that I can create a beautifully soft, bokeh effect that makes my subjects pop.
One downside of the 85mm F/2 is that it lacks weather sealing, which may limit its use in certain environmental conditions.
Additionally, the lens has focus breathing, which can impact the framing of images when focusing at different distances. Another point to note is that while the focus is quick and accurate on the EOS R6, it can be a bit noisy.
Overall, the Canon RF 85mm F/2 Macro is an excellent lens for close-up family portraits with mirrorless cameras due to its sharpness, bokeh, and macro capabilities. It also offers good value for its price, making it suitable for various photography needs.
6 – Best Image Quality Lens for Family Portraits: Nikon 85mm F/1.4
For family photography, image quality means capturing the emotions and expressions of family members with clear and sharp details.
The Nikon 85mm F/1.4 lens offers a fast aperture, exceptional sharpness, and beautiful bokeh, making it the best image quality lens for capturing precious family moments.
As someone who owns this particular lens, I love its bright maximum aperture of f/1.4. It gives me a creamy out of focused background that enhances my family portrait shots. The bokeh is stunning, and the soft transitions from sharp to un-sharp areas are beautiful.
Shooting at f/5.6 or f/8 produces unbelievable sharpness, gorgeous skin colors, and contrast. I can capture every detail of my subjects’ faces and clothing with unparalleled clarity.
I love capturing beautiful, life-affirming family photography under low light conditions. However, using a camera’s built-in flash can sometimes result in bad pictures. They can look fake, too bright, and have harsh shadows. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for equipment that can help me achieve the look I’m after.
I was amazed by how well this lens performs in low-light conditions, and I attribute this to its autofocus accuracy and consistency. Even in very low light conditions, the autofocus locks in and delivers razor-sharp focus every time. I recently took some shots of cats in a park with almost no light, and the results were amazing – tack sharp and full of detail.
I know that Canon’s new 85mm may be sharper, but there’s something magical about the way the Nikon 85mm renders images. The separation of in-focus and out-of-focus areas is surreal, and the absence of color fringing really impresses me
Another great aspect of this portrait lens is its fast and precise autofocus thanks to its Internal Focus (IF). Compared to the Sony G 85 or Sigma 85, the Nikon autofocus is truly special.
With my D700 body, I can about 9 out of 10 in-focus keepers when shooting portraits wide open at f/1.4 with a polarizer, which is a huge improvement over my much older 85mm 1.8 D lens.
As for the downsides, the lens may produce some color fringing when fully open. However, stepping down the lens slightly can help prevent this issue, and it can be easily fixed in post-processing.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Nikon 85mm F/1.4 lens to anyone looking for a high-performance portrait lens. It’s a bit of an investment, but the quality of the images it produces is unmatched.
7 – Best Lens for Studio Family Portraits: Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm F/1.4D
“Studio photography isolates people from their environment. They become in a sense… symbolic of themselves,” says fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon.
When it comes to family photography taken in a studio, the controlled studio lighting and a professional setting are utilized to create a timeless and classic look for the family images.
The Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm F/1.4D offers a decent focal length, accurate and consistent autofocus, and great results in low-light conditions, making it an ideal lens for studio family photography.
One of the best things about this lens is its fixed focal length, which forces me to move around and “zoom” with my feet.
I feel excited to discover new angles and experiment with different ways of shooting. This is important if I want to try my hand at more creative portraits. Compared with prime, I’ve found that using zoom lenses makes my eye lazy, and I tend to stick to the same angles and compositions.
For studio family photography, the 50mm focal length is perfect because it allows me to get up close and personal with my subjects. One big benefit of this prime lens is that I can focus about 20-30cm away from my subject, thanks to its minimum focusing distance of 0.45m/1.5 feet. This allows me to take headshots of people sitting beside me.
With this feature, I can capture intimate and candid moments in a studio setting, and create a sense of closeness and connection in my portraits. This is a huge advantage over other lenses like the 58mm or 85mm, which are not able to focus so close.
One of the things I love about shooting in the studio is that I have complete control over the lighting, which makes it easy to create the exact look and feel I want for my portraits.
Paired with my Nikon Df, the f/1.4 aperture allows me to capture excellent full-body shots with amazing sharpness, even in low-light situations. I found it particularly useful when shooting kids, who are always on the move and don’t like to stay still for long.
But what really blew me away is the effect of the wide aperture of f/1.4 on the images. The shallower depth of field creates a creamy, out-of-focus background that makes my subject pop. Plus, the wider aperture lets more light in, which allows me to capture more details and characteristics of my subject’s skin.
I was amazed at how light this lens is compared to the G version. At only 230g, it is a joy to carry it around all day, without feeling weighed down. When I switch back to my heavier lenses like the 24-70mm, I’m reminded of just how heavy a professional camera setup can be.
The D version of the lens is very sturdy, although there isn’t a huge difference between that and the pre-D autofocus lenses. Nonetheless, the size and weight of the 50mm f/1.4D make it such a pleasure to use.
Regarding autofocus, I find that the autofocus on this lens is quite fast, although it may not be as silent as a Nikon G lens. While it may produce some noise while focusing, this is unlikely to be a concern for studio photography, where noise is not an issue.
In fact, the autofocus on this lens performs much better in low-light conditions compared to some third-party lens manufacturers.
One minor downside of this lens is that it may feel cheap or ordinary when manually focusing the ring. This is a relatively minor issue and is unlikely to affect the overall performance or image quality of the lens.
Overall, the Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm F/1.4D is a lightweight and sturdy lens for family portrait photographers, especially those who prefer to shoot in a studio environment.
8 – Best Canon Lens for Family Portraits: Canon EF 50mm F/1.2L USM
Family photography are about capturing the emotions and expressions that make them unique.
The EF 50mm f/1.2L EF lens is one of the oldest lenses you can still buy a brand new today. It offers a shallow depth of field, fast aperture, wide angle of view, and durability, making it one of the best Canon EF lenses for professional family photography.
One of the best advantages of this Canon lens is the great degree of control over the depth of field that the fast f/1.2 maximum aperture offers. It enables me to isolate subjects and produce desirable selective focus effects.
While some people may find the narrow depth of field at f/1.2 and close range challenging to work with, I find that using a shallow depth of field can create a more intimate and personal feel to my family photography.
By blurring the background and drawing attention to the subjects in the foreground, I can highlight the emotions and personalities of my subjects in a more impactful way.
What’s more, I discovered that using a shallow depth of field can also help me create specific moods or atmospheres in my family photography.
For instance, a shallow depth of field can create a romantic or dreamy atmosphere, perfect for capturing special moments like weddings or engagements.
On the other hand, a deeper depth of field can make the scene feel more realistic or dramatic, ideal for capturing candid moments or family gatherings.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well this EF lens performs when shooting at wider apertures, even though it’s not super sharp at f/1.2. I found that stopping down from f/1.4 to f/1.8 yields slightly sharper results.
I usually avoid shooting below f/2.2 for the sake of sharpness, but this 50mm lens proved to be effective in low-light situations where I have ample space, giving me a significant advantage over other lenses in these conditions, whether shooting indoors or during sunset, or in complete darkness.
When I shot at f/2.0, the resulting images were breathtaking, with creamy backgrounds and vibrant, clear, and bright colors. It makes me realize that achieving ultimate sharpness isn’t everything; it’s the final image that matters most.
Although it may not be as sharp as the Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART, I discovered that most brides prefer their skin details not to be too sharply in focus.
This Canon lens has a soft character that brings out a nice look to the skin, unlike other lenses that are overly sharp and require a lot of time in Photoshop to remove blemishes. Because of this, I use this lens or the EF 85mm F1.2 about 90% of the time, and it has become an essential part of my gear.
One aspect I love about this great lens is its robust build quality. The body is made of sturdy plastic that feels good to hold, while the socket is made of metal with weather protection.
Despite its weight of 600 grams, the lens feels substantial yet easy to handle while taking pictures. The L construction feels solid and well-built. It’s no wonder it’s been a popular choice for family photography for so many years.
One downside of this Canon lens is the amount of chromatic aberration (CA) in some scenes which can be quite significant. However, this issue is usually easy to fix in just a few seconds. The lens does not have image stabilization, which is a drawback, but any skilled photographer can work around it.
Overall, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L is a lifetime keeper for me. It’s one of the best Canon EF lenses for any professional photographer who wants to capture the unique emotions and expressions of families.
9 – Best Sony Lens for Family Portraits: Sony 85mm F/1.8–22
As a portrait photographer, I don’t want to be the center of attention in my work. That’s why I prefer to use an 85mm lens to capture intimate and emotional moments in family photography, as it allows me to keep my distance using focal lengths from 85mm.
The Sony FE 85mm features a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture, which provides greater control over depth of field and background blur, making it the best Sony lens for intimate shoulders and full-body portraits.
I was thoroughly impressed with the sharpness and overall image quality of this lens. While I considered the Batis and GM options, the Sony 1.8 is much more affordable and offers the same excellent image quality. When using it on my a7 IV, I find that it produces razor-sharp images.
The sharpness of the images is impressive even when shooting wide open at F1.8. In fact, I sometimes have to remove some texture and sharpness in my portraits because they can be a bit too sharp.
While there are other lenses on the market that offer even sharper images, they typically come with a much higher price tag, larger size, and heavier weight.
For instance, I do own the adapted Tamron SP 85 lens which produces better image quality, but it is considerably bulkier, heavier, and slower than the Sony 1.8.
The autofocus of this lens is fast and accurate. It changes focus smoothly without any hunting, making the shooting experience very enjoyable.
Additionally, the autofocus is nearly silent, which is a great feature for shooting in quiet environments or during events where I don’t want to be disruptive.
The bokeh produced by this lens is superb. It is small and not busy, with a unique characteristic that almost adds a nice film grain look to it.
One of the best features of this lens is its versatile programmable button, which is not even included in the $999 Sony 55mm f1.8. The beauty of this button is that I can customize it to any function that I want. Personally, I use it mainly for eye tracking or eye focusing.
It’s so practical, especially when shooting family photography, where getting the focus right on the eyes can be challenging, even in spot focus mode.
No matter what focus mode I am using, whether it’s single point focus or zone focus, I can simply press the function button and it will override the focus mode, honing in on the eyes in the frame. This makes it so easy to get sharp and focused shots of my loved ones.
I also appreciate the 0.8m minimum focus distance of this lens. It’s not too far, nor too short, allowing me to capture full-body shots without being too distant from the subjects. This creates a more intimate and engaging portrait, emphasizing the family’s physical closeness and connection.
Additionally, the minimum focus distance provides greater flexibility when composing outdoor portraits, enabling me to include more of the surrounding environment or blur it out for added context and visual interest.
One downside of this camera lens is that chromatic aberration is noticeable when shooting at F1.8, especially to an experienced eye. However, the vignetting is much better than expected.
Another downside is that there is no built-in image stabilization (OSS), and there is no aperture ring. While the lack of OSS wasn’t a deal breaker for me, it is something to keep in mind when shooting in low-light situations. So far, I haven’t noticed any unwanted motion blur even in very low light.
Overall, the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is a fantastic lens for portrait photographers who want to capture intimate and emotional moments. If you’re a portrait photographer looking for an affordable lens, you can’t go wrong with this.
10 – Best Nikon Lens for Family Portraits: Nikon 50mm f/1.8G
A 50mm prime lens is a great starting point for portrait beginners using Nikon lenses as it captures a view similar to what the human eye sees, making images appear natural and familiar to viewers.
The 50mm f/1.8G is an ideal lens for family photography because of its natural perspective, wide maximum aperture, lightweight build, affordability, and high-quality image output.
Speaking about image quality, I find the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens offers sharper image quality at f-stops under 5.6, particularly at f/1.8 to f/4, with edge-to-edge sharpness, while the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens is sharper at f-stops above 5.6.
Since I mainly want to use my lens between f/1.8 and f/4, I decided to go with the 1.8G lens. It not only delivers sharp and detailed images at those apertures but is also a more budget-friendly option than the f/1.4G version.
One of the best things about this great lens is its fast and accurate autofocus. I was impressed by how quickly and crisply the autofocus responds without much hunting at all. Plus, it is super quiet and has an instant manual override focus.
Although the autofocus isn’t always the fastest at zeroing in on accurate focus, especially in lower-light situations, I still find it to be on par with Nikon’s standard.
In fact, it is a significant improvement compared to my previous 1.8D lens. The AFS motor in this lens makes focusing extremely quiet, which is a huge improvement from my old lens.
Another aspect I appreciate about this lens is its durability and lightweight design. Weighing only 185g, it’s incredibly easy to handle (unlike the puny 50mm 1.8D) and doesn’t add any extra weight to my camera setup.
Its compact size also makes it less intimidating for my subjects compared to bigger lenses like the Sigma 50mm.
I believe that having a lightweight and compact lens is more important than having the best lens because it means I can bring it with me everywhere, especially for family photography. I won’t forget it at home, and that’s a big plus.
One potential downside of this camera lens is that when shooting at wide apertures up close, the transition between in-focus and out-of-focus areas can be quite abrupt. This can result in a hard line between the two, which may not be the desired effect.
However, this can be mitigated by stopping down the aperture a bit, which will result in a more gradual transition.
Overall, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is an affordable yet high-quality lens for portrait photographers looking for a natural perspective and high-quality image output.
11 – Best Sigma Lens for Family Portraits: Sigma 50mm F1.4 ART
When capturing family photography, I like to take a range of shots, including individual portraits, group shots, and details. For these types of photos, I generally stick to my trusty 50mm lens, only switching to a wider lens for larger groups or interior shots.
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 ART features a wide aperture, sharpness, focal length, and build quality, making it an excellent lens for family photography with DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
I absolutely love the bright maximum F1.4 aperture on this lens. It creates lovely soft bokeh in the background. I have used it to take stunning family portraits during sunset and sunrise in parks and gardens, and have not noticed any chromatic aberration or barrel distortion.
The shallow depth of field brought depth to the photos and allowed for some nice dramatic shots of family portraits. The colors and crispness of the photos were great too, which made the moments captured even more special.
Every time I shoot portraits at F1.4, I am blown away by the pin-sharp focus this lens delivers. While I may need to make some adjustments to the autofocus, it is still fast enough for my portrait photography needs, and the manual focus is impressive.
Paired with the eye-detect autofocus on my trusty EoS-R camera, this lens always delivers a mind-blowing level of sharpness. And to top it off, it’s only a fraction of the price of Lumix’s 50mm f/1.4 option. That’s why I always invest in large-aperture prime lenses.
I also like that the build quality of the lens feels pleasantly bulky and sturdy. It has a pro-level build that left me feeling extremely satisfied. Not only that, but the lens also features a weather and dust seal that keeps the sensor safe from any rain or particles that could potentially cause damage.
Plus, Sigma goes above and beyond by including a useful storage case that provides much-needed protection for my new lens. I am grateful for their attention to detail and for helping me keep my gear safe.
In terms of downsides, the only feature that I wish the lens had is image stabilization. However, with its wide aperture, I can shoot in darker settings without having to resort to slower shutter speeds, which helps to minimize camera shake and blur.
While the large size and heavy weight of this lens could be seen as a slight disadvantage, I find that it doesn’t bother me as much as I initially thought it would, especially when taking into account the lens’s age and price.
Despite my preference for lightweight setups, I can still work with this camera lens comfortably.
Overall, the Sigma 50mm F1.4 ART is an exceptional lens that is worth the investment for any family portrait photographer.
12 – Best Fuji Lens for Family Portraits: Fuji 35mm 1.4
When searching for a wider lens (usually the 35mm) to take family photography, I prioritize finding one that can capture the unique personalities of each family member while maintaining high quality and performance.
The Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens is a reliable and versatile option for this purpose, providing excellent image quality and a wide aperture for creating beautiful bokeh.
I love shooting with this lens wide open for portraits, as it produces sharp images with minimal chromatic aberration, especially in the center of the frame. Even when taking close-up shots, my subject remains in focus.
Using a fast aperture requires careful focusing, but it results in a smooth and creamy bokeh that adds a 3D effect to my portraits.
Although the newer 35mm f/2 lens is smaller, quicker, quieter, and cheaper, I still prefer the older version because the images it produces are more inspiring and captivating. I’m very satisfied with how sharp and clear these images turn out every time.
Furthermore, this great lens has a special feel and image quality that makes it an instant classic. I haven’t stopped the aperture down yet, but I’m sure it will only get better.
Another favorite aspect of this lens is its high versatility, as it’s suitable for many photography purposes, except for quick action shots.
I find it performs excellently for low light or indoor portraits, such as in the museum or art gallery. The low-light capability opens up new existing-light opportunities, especially when paired with the XH1 camera, which has the best low-light response of any crop sensor Fuji camera.
In addition, it’s fantastic for outdoor portraits, such as beaches or lakeside areas, thanks to its outstanding rendering. With a 35mm focal length, it’s an all-around choice for portraits, making it possible to capture both individual and group shots.
Furthermore, it is ideal for capturing environmental portraits as it allows me to include the surroundings and create a compelling storytelling image.
I also like its compact and lightweight design. It weighs only 187g. Not only is this camera lens easier to handle, but it’s also more comfortable to use for extended periods of time. I won’t have to worry about my arm getting tired or my neck and back hurting from carrying around a heavy camera all day.
When it comes to the drawback, its slow focus acquisition can be a downside. While it may not be ideal for tracking motion that requires significant changes in focusing distance, it can work well for motion in the lateral direction.
For the most part, the slow focus speed doesn’t bother me, except when taking photos of kids, which can be a bit tricky.
Overall, I highly recommend the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens to anyone looking for a classic and versatile option for portraiture that showcases the unique personalities of each family member
13 – Best Tamron Lens for Family Portraits: Tamron 24–70mm F/2.8 G2
Family photography are about creating a visual representation of the love and bond within a family. The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 is one of the best lenses for family portraits with DSLR or mirrorless cameras due to its versatile focal range and fast maximum aperture.
One thing I love about this lens is its versatile focal range. Not only can I use it to shoot fairly large group portraits, but I can also capture closer individual poses without changing lenses.
When it comes to tight headshots, though, I do wish the maximum length was a little longer than 70mm. However, the 70mm focal length is perfect for capturing small families from a comfortable distance and achieving a flattering perspective.
I use this lens to capture precious moments during family gatherings and events because of its ability to take both wide-angle and zoomed-in shots, making it a versatile tool for any photographer.
I also love how well this lens performs in low-light situations. Its constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 and vibration compensation (VC) feature are the reasons behind its incredible performance.
When I shoot at f/2.8, the resulting out-of-focus backgrounds are delightful and perfect for portraits.
Additionally, this lens enables me to take photos without a flash, which is a necessity during certain events like wedding ceremonies.
Thanks to the f/2.8 aperture, I can capture clear and sharp images even in dimly lit environments. The VC feature is also fantastic as it helps me take steady shots in low light.
Surprisingly, this lens offers better VC than the much pricier Nikon 24-70. The VC is one of my favorite features of this lens.
I appreciate the Tamron Tap-in Console for making my photography experience so much better with this lens. After tweaking it with the Tamron Tap-in Console, I was pleasantly surprised by the sharpness of the lens.
Initially, I was hesitant about having to adjust the focus and other settings with the console, but it proved to be a worthwhile investment.
The Tap-in Console has been a great help in getting the focus exactly the way I want it, and improving the lens’s overall performance. It took me a few hours to get everything just right, but the results were definitely worth the effort.
In terms of drawbacks, I’ve noticed some. Firstly, I’ve had some difficulty with lens hunting when trying to focus.
Additionally, on a particularly overcast and dreary day, I found that some of the images were a bit soft. Upon closer inspection, when zoomed in to 100%, I noticed that the images showed more softness in the details than I had expected.
Overall, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is a versatile yet powerful option instead of the kit lens for capturing professional-quality family photos.
14 – Best Olympus Lens for Family Portraits: Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75mm F/1.8
Family portraits are more than a picture, they are a memory. The Olympus 75mm F/1.8 offers a perfect combination of focal length, aperture, sharpness, and build quality, making it the best Olympus lens for family photography.
I love shooting with this 75mm lens because it strikes the perfect balance between flexibility and perspective.
When I take photos with a 50mm lens, I can capture high quality images in various settings, but it can sometimes result in distorted facial features in close-up portraits.
However, a 90mm lens provides a more natural appearance for close-up portraits and compresses larger spaces, but it can be too tight and impractical in smaller environments.
The 75mm focal length gives me the best of both worlds, allowing me to take photos of my subject’s face and shoulders with upper chest, and full-body portraits without making their legs look short. 75mm is considered a classic focal length for portraits because it provides a bit of perspective compression while still feeling intimate.
I also love the exceptional sharpness and color contrast this lens delivers for my portraits, which remains consistent regardless of the aperture setting. It’s a solid piece of glass that produces sharp images from my sensor, making it a great choice for those who love to blur the background to the extreme.
I personally prefer to shoot with it between f/2.2~4.0, as it produces clearer, sharper images with a faded, milky background, which gives my portraits a professional look.
The quality of the images it produces is unbeatable, and I can confidently say that it outperforms my previous two Olympus Pro lenses (7-14 & 12-40) in terms of sharpness.
Plus, I’ve even compared it to the Sigma 56 1.4 lens, and while the sharpness in the center of the frame is almost the same, the sharpness in the corners and the overall rendering and bokeh are completely different, with the 75mm f/1.8 lens coming out on top.
In addition, this lens has been handy for candid shots, taken at a mid-distance from the subject. With it, I have produced some of my all-time favorite portraits.
However, it’s worth noting that the long focal length can pose some challenges if you’re unable to get far enough away from your subject.
I also appreciate the excellent build quality of this lens, and I am impressed by its small size despite its high-end performance. I think Olympus did an amazing job creating a camera lens that is unassuming yet powerful.
The lens has a smooth focus ring and feels solid due to its metal construction. It is a pleasure to use, even for extended periods of time. Additionally, the optics are unbeatable, making it the best option for portrait photography.
Regarding the downsides of this lens, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t come with any weather sealing, which means it may not be suitable for use in harsh weather conditions.
Additionally, the minimum focus distance is not particularly close, so it’s not the best choice for macro work.
Personally, the only thing I dislike about this camera lens is its weight. Weighing in at around 330g with the lens hood, it’s not heavy, but it’s definitely on the larger side in the Micro Four Thirds world.
One minor issue I’ve noticed with the lens is that its focus mechanism can be a bit noisy, although it hasn’t been a major concern for me.
In conclusion, the Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 75mm F/1.8 lens’s overall quality and performance make it a must-have for those who love taking portrait photos on a Micro Four Thirds system.
4 Things To Consider When Buying Lenses for Family Photography
Here are some essential tips on what to look for when buying the perfect camera lens for family photography. Whether you use a DSLR or mirrorless camera, these tips will apply.
First, you’ll want to decide between prime lenses and zoom lenses. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length and are usually cheaper than zoom lenses. They tend to be lighter, too, since they have fewer parts.
On the other hand, zoom lenses allow you to adjust the focal length to capture different angles without changing the lens itself.
If you’re starting out with one lens, you might find a prime lens is more practical for family photography. It all comes down to your preference and budget.
The camera lens’s focal lengths determines how much of the scene will be captured in the photo. If you’re looking for close-up shots, higher focal lengths is best; if you want wider images with more background included, lower focal lengths should do the trick.
The aperture affects how much light enters through the camera lens and how shallow or deep your depth of field is.
When shooting portraits, it’s best to opt for an aperture with a wide range (1.8-2.8) so that you can control how much of your subject is in focus while also allowing enough light into your camera sensor for a good exposure level.
Bokeh is one of those special effects that add an aesthetic quality to your photos by blurring out any background elements behind (or in front) your subject(s).
To achieve this effect, look for camera lenses that offer a wide maximum aperture range, such as f/2 or wider. Don’t forget to also consider the size of your camera bag and whether the lens will fit comfortably inside.
In conclusion, choosing the best portrait lenses for family photography can be challenging, but it’s essential to consider the lens’s focal length, aperture, and bokeh effect. Ultimately, prime lenses with a wide aperture, such as f/1.8, are ideal for family photography with DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
FAQs Best Lens for Family Portraits
Q: What is the best focal length for family photography?
A: The classic focal lengths range for portrait photography is generally between 35mm and 85mm. However, using a 35mm focal length for portraits may cause distortion, especially when shooting up close.
A 50mm or 85mm lens is a great choice for beginners as it can help to create a relaxed conversational distance with their subjects if the photographer doesn’t move too far away from the model. Try a shoot with just one lens – either 50mm or 85mm but see how it forces you to think more creatively.
For photographers looking to experiment with different styles, wider or longer focal lengths like 24mm or 200mm can also be used. However, these require more practice and expertise to use effectively.
Q: Why do portrait photographers love 85mm camera lenses?
A: The 85mm lens strikes a balance between achieving background blur and avoiding distortion of the subject’s face and body, which can occur with wider or longer focal lengths.
A lens with a slightly longer focal length can cause a flattening effect on the subject’s face, where the ears and nose appear to be on the same level. However, the 85mm lens avoids this effect, making it a sweet spot for portrait photography.
Additionally, communication with the model remains comfortable due to the lens’s moderate focal lengths.
Q: Should I use prime lenses or zoom lenses for family photography?
A: Using fixed focal length prime lenses can be advantageous as they tend to be sharper and offer better image quality, as well as more background blur compared to zoom lenses.
Additionally, using prime lenses often requires moving around to explore different perspectives, which can result in more creative and dynamic compositions.
Ultimately, choosing prime lenses with a wide aperture such as f1.8 is ideal for family photography with DSLR or mirrorless cameras.
Q: What are kit lenses and can it be used for family portraits?
A: kit lenses are the basic lenses that usually comes in a package purchase with a camera body. kit lenses are versatile, and can be used for many types of photography, including family portraits. Most kit lenses typically have an 18-55mm focal length range.
Conclusion – Best Lens for Family Portraits
So, those are our top 14 best lenses for family photography. Canon’s EF 85mm F/1.8 USM is the best of the bunch and is excellent for anyone just getting started in portraiture.
However, if you’re looking for something more versatile, any of the other 13 options on this list would be great. Just remember to consider your camera bag’s size and the lens’s dimensions before making your final decision.