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.
Best Lens For Boudoir Photoshoots At Nice Locations – 35MM f1.4
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.
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 f1.4 / f1.2
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.
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I hope this post helped clairfy the best lens you’ll need for your circumstances. The main thing is to figure out your budget and see what makes sense for you. If you’re on a budget, a good general purpose zoom like the 24-70mm f2.8 might be a good quality lens that will do a lot for you. If I could only have one lens though it would definitely be the 70-200mm f2.8. If I could have only 3 lenses I’d go with the 70-200 f2.8, 85mm f1.4 and 35 f1.4.
If you could only have one lens for boudoir photography what would it be? How would your answer change if you could have any 3 lenses? Comment below I’m interested to hear what all of you prefer!