Arguably the lens you choose to buy for your kit is a more important then deciding which camera body to get. This is because a good lens can have a service life that spans though multiple camera bodies. That said, there is no single lens that is best for boudoir photography. Different lenses are just good for achieving different looks.
With all the choices available you might be wondering what the best lens for boudoir photography is. The general answer is you can create world class, professional boudoir photos with lenses anywhere between 24mm and 200mm.
The more nuanced answer is different lenses are good for different things. My 35mm f1.4 prime lens is my go to when I want to include the environment or photograph my client full length. The 70-200 f2.8 is what I use when capturing detail shots and out to about 3/4 length portraits. As a professional boudoir photographer I use 3-4 different lenses on just about every session. Each is best suited for different circumstances.
In this post I’m going to help give you choose your first lens for you boudoir kit or help you round out your arsenal. This will help you offer more looks to your client at her reveal! I’m not really concerned with brands in this post, just good focal length for your circumstance and what you want to do.
Lenses I Use On Just About Every Boudoir Photo Shoot
- Best All Around Lens – 24-70 f2.8: (Canon) (Nikon) (Sigma) (Sony)
- Best Lens For Nice Locations – 35MM F1.4: (Canon) (Nikon)(Sigma) (Sony)
- Best Lens For Details & Portraits – 70-200 f2.8: (Canon) (Nikon) (Sigma) (Sony)
- Best Lens for Natural Light – 85mm f1.2 / f1.4: (Canon) (Nikon) (Sigma) (Sony)
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Best All Around Lens For Boudoir – 24-70MM f2.8
The 24-70MM F2.8 is a great lens for general boudoir portraiture and even wide angle shots. Generally I use this lens when I want to include a little more background into my clients photos. Basically the nicer the location is, the wider angle lens I use so I can include more of it in her photos. If you’re tight on money and can only afford one professional grade lens for your kit, this would be a very good, boring (in a good way) choice that would give you lots of options.
Example Boudoir Photos Captured With 24-70mm Lens
Best Lens For Boudoir Photoshoots At Nice Locations – 35mm Prime
If only had 3 lenses to capture a client with, this lens would be in that collection. The more years I do photography, the more I’ve come to appreciate the quality of prime lenses. There’s nothing quite like the look of photographing a person with really fast apertures at any focal length. The 35MM prime is no exception to this!
If you can afford to get a few really nice lenses as part of your kit, this would be my go to lens for making the background part of the boudoir portrait. This is also a really great lens if you want to include your clients full body in the shot or if you’re working in a tight space.
Example Boudoir Photos Captured On 35mm Prime Lens
Best Lens For Capturing Boudoir Portraits & Details
If I could only have one lens to shoot a boudoir session, the 70-200 f2.8 would be mine. If I had to guess I’d say most boudoir photographers would choose the 24-70 f2.8 or maybe a 50mm prime. If you look though my portfolio though, probably >70% of my boudoir photos were captured on this lens.
I like to pick out details with this lens. It’s also my go to lens for capturing close up portraits. So long as I have the space, it’s also my favorite lens for general portraiture in average to sub par locations. With this lens’s long focal length I use it often to cut out the sub par background and keep the attention on the woman.
Best Lens For Natural Light Boudoir Photography 85mm Prime
For boudoir portraits this lens is magic at wide apertures. This is arguably my favorite portrait lens for photographing boudoir.
Prime lenses just have a unique look to them because they’re almost always faster than common zooms. This gives you a shallower depth of field and thus a different look then say a 70-200 f2.8 will. If I could only have 3 lenses to shoot a boudoir session with, this would certainly be one of them. It’s a surprisingly versatile and very unique all at the same time.
Example Boudoir Photos Captured With 85mm Prime
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I hope this post helps you pinpoint the right lenses for your boudoir photography. Remember, it all starts with understanding your budget and considering what’s practical for you. If you’re budget-conscious, don’t overlook third-party options like Sigma lenses, which offer quality at a more affordable price point.
But if I had to choose just one lens, for me, it would undoubtedly be the 70-200mm. It’s versatile enough to capture full body portraits (if you have enough space) and also fantastic for detail shots. However, if I could only pick three lenses, my ideal trio would be the 70-200mm, the 24-70mm, and 35mm prime. With these three lenses you’ll have have great coverage across a wide swath of focal lengths and buttery smooth bokeh for environmental boudoir portraits.
Speaking of which, if you also photograph portrait photography, you might want to explore this post about Canon prime lenses for portraits. Prime lenses are known for their sharp images and excellent control over depth of field. For those obsessed with creating the best quality images these lenses are faster and can yield even higher quality results then the high quality zoom lenses mentioned in this post.
Now, over to you! If you could only have three lenses for your boudoir photography, what would they be? And how would your choice change if you could pick only one really nice lens? Drop your thoughts in the comments below; I’m curious to know what everyone prefers!