Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Go To Lens

I swear I am alive...barely ha! I swear there is a tutorial for how to make the Toe The Line Knock off dress coming. It has been a CRAZY week trying to organize shipments to three different locations, selling and giving tons of never used items away, AND doing a photoshoot every single night of the week! Yup, things have been busy. And since it is my policy to have a 24 hour turn around with clients and their pictures (I ABHORE waiting to get my DVD from photographers) I have been spending my "after the kids go to bed" time preparing DVD's etc. All this photography got me thinking that I haven't done a photography post in a while. Then I thought about the fact that LOTS of photographers just starting out really struggle with what lenses to spend their hard earned money on. Now of course this all depends on the type of photographer you are, your disposable income limit etc. I am basically a family photographer, specializing in children and newborns.
This means my subjects are wiggle, high energy and a good shot sometimes just means no one if picking their nose and everyone is looking at the camera (although I don't consider it a successful session unless I get 25 frame able shots)
Shooting families (often with pups as pictured above) means I don't often have the luxury of switching lenses several times. I have to have a go to lens that stays put until I feel I have gotten enough good shots that I can mix it up, take a break and put something fun on my camera.
This lens for me is the 50mm 1.8.

It is Uh-Mazing.... for the cost. At an average of $110 found HERE on amazon and HERE on B&H Photo for great deals, no beginning photographer should be with out it. All of the above pictures were taken with it. You could go a bit further and get the 1.2 but I find that I rarely go down below 2.8 when shooting children, unless I want that SUPER sharp amazingly clear close up shot.
To be honest I usually save shots like this for the end and snap on the splurge of my photographic career the 85mm 1.2.

This lens is prohibitively expensive and absolutely amazing in its color saturation and clarity. The problem is with family photography the 85mm demands LOTS of space and most of the time you will be shooting at 3.8 or higher so you won't really use the 1.2 soooooooo much.
If you can, go for it but I am TELLING you 8 times out of 10 my favorite pictures from a shoot are with the uber affordable 50mm 1.8. Which come on is 20% of the time worth 10 times the cost? I don't think so.
Now in closing I have to admit that I am a prime lens junky. I think the clarity they provide is stunning. The fact that they make YOU move not just zoom in and out means you get far more interesting angles and never stop moving (sounds exhausting ha!) I also shoot exclusively in manual. If you want the most out of the lenses you are spending your hard earned money on you have GOT to learn to use your camera to it's fullest. Take some courses, read some books, download some online manuals and practice, practice, practice ;) If you love it, this will never seem like work but always an opportunity to stretch your skills and do something you enjoy ha! Now I promise the next post will be the long awaited for Toe the Line Tutorial... just gotta do the photoshoot HA!!!!!


  1. I am a serious novice, and I love looking at your creations, since the photos are sooooo lovely. I had been shopping around for a new lens to spend my yard sale earnings on and decided on the 50mm not really knowing much about it. I love it. Rarely take it off! Super affordable and indispensable!

  2. I've been looking for a new lense for my Canon
    And finally I know what I must buy. The price of that lense is also soo affordable

  3. I'm so glad you posted this. I've been wondering if I should get a 50/1.8 myself. $100 isn't much when it comes to lenses but when cash is usually pretty tight $100 can seem like a lot. Mostly my camera is for pictures of my daughter but since I got it a few months ago I've been having some fun doing online photo scavenger hunts so I can get used to settings in different lighting situations etc.

    Completely unrelated: I don't know if it's just me but your "Follow Kelly on Pinterest" in the right sidebar is HUGE!

  4. Thanks for this post . . . I've been wanting a new "go-to" but haven't been sure which to get. I'll be saving my pennies for this one!

    Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

  5. I am a novice photographer/ blogger and I purchase the 50 mm about a year ago and believe it is a wonderful investment for anyone who sews and takes photos of their garments. It is very limited in terms of range (which bugs my hubby) but for blog photos it is amazing.

  6. So I just got my first DSLR for my birthday, My hubs picked it out and everything. I did get a 50 mm 1.8 and I also got a 17-55mm 2.8 which is the one I had been using for all my shots as I have been learning how the heck to use this thing. I swore to just never use auto mode so I wouldn't rely on it... but then I learned how great a prime lens really is and now it's the only one I want to use. I love when you post photography tips and info, since I have been soaking up every tidbit I can... It's so much fun!

  7. Thanks for posting about your favourite lens. I love my 'nifty fifty.' If it isn't on my camera, then my boyfriend's 28/1.8 is there. I've recently become a prime lens fan. The crispness the give is amazing.

    I have not yet switched to full manual mode. I practice using it, but am not completely comfortable using full manual and often switch to aperture priority. It's a slow process on my part.

  8. thank you so much for posting this! I have been contemplating getting a new lens, and knew I needed a good go-to every day one. But just couldn't make up my mind. Thank you so much!

  9. Okay... you have just sold me on this lens! Not even kidding... it has been sitting on my Amazon wish list for about a month. Now I NEED it! You take amazing pictures - and I'm thrilled you did this post. I'm excited to make this my first 'official' lens - not counting the one that came with my camera ;)

  10. Wow your photography is amazing! I'm loving your recent posts! Pop over to my blog for a lovely surprise - I've awarded you the versatile blogger award!

  11. Thank you so much for posting! I always thing that I need to use my zoom lens when I'm taking distant shots, but clearly I should try my 50mm. Would love more tips when you 'have time' haha!

  12. Aw man! I wish you lived close so you could photograph my family. Your pics are AMAZING! If you ever go to Western Australia in the Margaret River region, let me know! You can even bunk at our house!!!

  13. I LOVE my 50mm. But I have been on the hunt for another lens...85mm looks pretty yummy, too.

  14. This posting could not have come at a better time! I have been asked to take pictures of all my niece and nephews so I need to up my photography skills..(i have none) and I wanted to get another lense. So did you take the family picture with the $110 lense as well? I have a canon camera as well but its an xsi.

  15. I just fell in love! With your blog, your kids, your pictures! Thanks for the tip, I seriously need to learn how to use my Canon 7D, and use my 50mm 1.4 more often. Hope you don't mind, I just featured you on my blog, posted a couple of your pictures to go with links to your tutorials.


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