Have you ever been at a family event and wished you had a better camera to capture these amazing moments? While smartphone cameras can be great and easy to use, getting a “real camera” such as a Mirrorless camera allows you to take eye-catching, high-quality photos of your loved ones, that you will look cherish for years to come.

While the camera plays a big part in the quality of your images, you will soon find that the final piece of the puzzle is how good your camera lens is. Having the best lens for portraits and family photos will ensure you capture crystal-clear photos of your family while having that beautiful bokeh in the background.

We get it – the world of photography can be difficult to navigate. We know you’re a busy mum and just want to know what’s the best camera lens, so we’ve asked the camera experts at Ted’s Cameras to round up the 3 best portrait lenses.

  • A 50mm Prime Lens, AKA The Nifty Fifty

The 50mm lens is a true classic for portraits. A 50mm lens provides what is called a “normal field of view”, which is close to what the human eye sees. Thanks to this, many people find it extremely easy to compose images with these lenses, and it’s known as the best focal length for portraits.

50mm prime lenses tend to come with fast maximum apertures, meaning that you can capture beautiful family portraits with background blur, also known as bokeh. They also tend to be affordable portrait lenses, like this budget-friendly Canon RF 50mm f1.8 STM.

As one of the best versatile lenses for mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, 50mm lenses are ideal for those that are not seeking an overly tight crop. If you are taking group shots or working in tighter spaces, a 50mm lens is a great option. 

  • 85mm Prime Lens: A Longer Option With Great Bokeh

85mm lenses are considerably longer than 50mm lenses, which means you can get a tighter crop on family portraits, with less space around the edges for distracting details. This more magnified view also means you can stand back a bit, leaving more space between you and your subject. Studio photographers find that really useful when working with models, but you might find it handy for family portraits too if your family members tend to be a little camera shy!

If you’re hesitating between an 85mm vs. 50mm for family portraits, remember that the longer focal length of 85mm lenses means they provide even shallower depths of field than a 50mm lens when using the same aperture, so you can truly isolate your subjects from their backgrounds. In other words, you can get even more bokeh in your photos, especially if you go with a f1.4 maximum aperture like the Sony FE 85mm f1.4 GM.

Just a word of warning: going for too much bokeh can result in only a very small portion of the image being in focus, which can be problematic when taking group family photos with family members on a different focal plane. Just make sure everyone stays in focus!

  • 24-70mm Zoom Lens: A Versatile Option 

Different from our other recommendations, the 24-70mm lens is a standard zoom lens option. The benefit of using a zoom lens for family portraits is they are far more versatile than prime lenses. Rather than learning to photograph with just one focal length, a zoom lens provides you with a range of different focal lengths.

In the case of a 24-70mm lens, at the wider angle, you have a wide field of view that is good for large family group photos or situational portraits, while at the long end you can benefit from a tighter crop. A 24-70mm zoom lens is a fantastic option for playing around with different ideas and styles of portraiture on the same shoot – without having to change lenses!

It is trickier to produce heaps of bokeh with a zoom lens, as their design means they generally have smaller maximum apertures than their prime lens 

contemporaries. You can still find fast zoom lenses on the market, but they tend to be 

a little more expensive. Still, a maximum aperture of f4 like the Nikon Z 24-70mm f4 S will produce a shallow enough depth of field for very pleasing family portraits.

Take beautiful family portraits now

Our final tip for family portraits: don’t overthink the gear too much. Whichever one of these 3 lens options you choose, they will make your family photos look great! After all, mums have a great eye for capturing their beautiful family. Shop your camera lenses online now at Ted’s Cameras, or visit one of their stores to get professional advice from their expert staff.