The Best Lenses for Portraits in 2024

16 October 2022

We hear it all the time from our customers. "I've just purchased my first 'real' camera, and I really want to take beautiful portraits of my family and friends but I don't know where to start!" While learning your way around the camera to some degree is essential, and while you can have some success with a standard lens, a specialist portrait lens can make all the difference when it comes to producing tack-sharp, eye-catching portraits, with beautiful bokeh.

Here are our top lenses for portrait photography.

Best Lenses for PortraitsBest Lenses for Portraits

Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L


  • Bright f1.2 aperture
  • USM focus motor
  • Weather-sealed construction
  • Customisable control ring

The Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L is perhaps one of the best lenses for portraits on the market. And that has everything to do with its f1.2 maximum aperture that produces incredibly shallow depths of fields. It is unimaginably fast-paced and gives you an astonishing amount of control over the focal point of the image, perfect for portrait photography. Given its larger aperture rating, this lens can practically shoot in the dark!

The ring-type USM autofocus motor, which is included in the RF 50mm lens, helps you quietly achieve focus so that it doesn’t disrupt the portrait session too much. So if you’re shooting close-up video portraits, the quiet manner will benefit your shoots. With this lens from Canon, you’ll capture all the details in crisp, superior quality, and you won’t miss an expression with speeds like this.

Nikon Z 85mm f1.8 S


  • Bright f1.8 max aperture
  • Fast and accurate focus
  • Customisable control ring
  • Rugged weather-resistant build
  • Premium optical design


With a fast maximum aperture and a short-telephoto focal length, the Nikon 85mm f1.8 S Lens is the stuff portrait photographer's dreams are made of. The focal length is not just great for creating a tight crop and for the natural perspective it provides your images, but also for the fact that it allows you to shoot a little further back from your model, which helps them remain calm for a more pleasing final image.

Once again, you will find a bright maximum aperture, for getting that much-needed shallow depth of field, and a fast AF system, for finding your focal point in a jiffy.

This lens is not just a run-of-the-mill prime lens though, it has a customisable ring so that you can quickly and intuitively control manual focus, aperture, and exposure control if that’s what suits your style. Nikon has done another wonderful job of producing a top-notch lens.

Best Lenses for PortraitsBest Lenses for Portraits

Olympus 45mm f1.8


  • Compact and stylish build
  • 90mm equivalent focal length
  • Fast f1.8 aperture
  • Fast MSC AF system
  • Quality optical construction

On compatible Micro Four Thirds format cameras the Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens provides a 90mm equivalent focal length, which is comfortably in portraiture territory. You are probably starting to see a trend here but we will say it again, this longer than normal focal length and fast maximum aperture are essentials for creating traditional head and shoulder portraits with attractive bokeh, and this Olympus lens ticks these boxes.

What's notable with this lens however, is the fact that it does so in a much smaller size than any of the lenses that we have mentioned. The sleek and compact design of this lens is a perfect match for the similarly portable MFT system of which it is a part, while just like these cameras, you don't sacrifice anything for this compact size.

Fujifilm XF 56mm f1.2 R


  • Ultra-bright f1.2 Maximum aperture
  • 85mm equivalent focal length
  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Quality optical construction

For the wonderful Fujifilm X-series, comes this ultra-fast prime lens, the 56mm f1.2 R. On the APS-C format X-series cameras that it has been designed for, this lens delivers a handy 85mm focal length, which is ideal for acquiring that tight head and shoulders crop, either in the studio or out on location.

The real drawcard of this sleek and stylish lens, however, is the ultra-bright f1.2 maximum aperture, which will allow you to produce stunningly shallow images. At f1.2 very little is in focus, which in the hands of an expert can produce astonishing results, while stopping down a little bit to f1.4 or even f1.8 will still produce plenty of background blur. With this Fujifilm lens, you have options.

Best Lenses for PortraitsBest Lenses for Portraits

Sigma AF 50mm f1.4 ART


  • Large f1.4 aperture
  • HSM focus motor
  • Premium build quality
  • Superb optical construction - 13 elements in 8 groups
  • Versatile focal length 

For everything from snap-shots, to street photography and portraits, The Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art lens is an exceptional optical performer. It’s been constructed to produce images of super high-quality thanks to its highest resolution sensors and has been designed to reward you with consistently sharp, detailed images. 

The ultra-bright f1.4 maximum aperture makes this lens perfect for available-light portraits, as well as for isolating your subjects from backgrounds. You’ll love the images of a pinpointed subject and the beautiful background blur that this lens produces, making it one of the best camera lenses for portrait photography. When used on APS-C cameras, the Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art lens provides a decent focal length, which is obviously excellent at tightly cropping your images.

Best Lenses for PortraitsBest Lenses for Portraits

Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM Lens


  • Large f1.4 aperture
  • Manual aperture ring
  • Focus hold button
  • Fast and quiet linear SSM focus system
  • Internal focus

Highly recommended by portrait photographers, the Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM Lens is a quality lens for its full-frame E-mount mirrorless cameras. It’s a large lens, making it a little heavy, but with its f1.4 focal ratio, it grabs more light while also producing sharp images, offering better Bokeh.

With this lens and its de-clickable aperture ring, you can be super selective with what you’d like to have in focus. The short telephoto length and large maximum aperture make the lens brilliant for shallow depths of field. If auto-focus is your thing, you’ll be seriously impressed by this lens’s ability to focus precisely on your subject.

And, being dust and moisture-resistant, this Sony lens is suitable for shoots in a range of conditions. It’s one of the best lenses for headshots and portraits, especially if you’re planning to shoot outside or in more rough conditions.

Featured Lenses

Shop the best lenses for portraits at Ted’s Cameras

Choosing the right lens is a sound investment for portrait photographers. With the best lenses for portraits in mind, you’re much closer to finding the right lens for your camera and your style. Be sure to check out our huge range online or at your local Ted's store, where our team can help you choose the best lens for your needs.

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