What Lens Does Every Photographer Need?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Every photographer, regardless of their level of experience or level of proficiency, needs to have a selection of lenses available in their kit at all times. Here is a list of the best lenses every photographer, regardless of their level of experience or the subjects they most frequently shoot, should own, along with some tips on when to use each one. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.

    Normal or Standard Lenses

    The focal length of a standard lens falls somewhere in the middle of the range, between 40 and 60 millimetres. The focal length that is most commonly used is the one that is right in the middle, which is the 50mm. This focal length provides approximately the same field of view as looking through the naked eye. When should you make use of this essential piece of photographic equipment? Because they are so accurate representations of what our eyes naturally process, standard lenses are fantastic all-purpose options. They are typically considered to be the standard lens that is utilised for portraiture, street photography, photography taken indoors, and landscape photography. Because they aren't overly large or weighty, they are ideal for tossing into a bag and carrying along with you wherever you go because they can be easily transported.

    The lens that comes with an entry-level DSLR kit, typically ranging from 18-55 millimetres in focal length, is considered by many novice photographers to be the "standard lens." If you ask any experienced photographer, they will tell you to avoid buying lens kits and instead make an investment in a good standard lens like a 50mm. It has been asserted that a lens with a focal length of 50 millimetres is the one that comes the closest to replicating a person's natural line of sight. This makes it an excellent choice for a photographer to have in their collection of lenses. If you want to take pictures that look natural or portraits and don't want any distortion, a lens with a focal length of 50 millimetres will serve you well.

    Why do you feel the need to use a standard prime? If you shoot with a crop sensor, you will need a lens with a focal length of 50 millimetres or a full-frame equivalent of that focal length. To tell you the truth, 50mm is not particularly exceptional at anything, but it is very good at a great deal of different things. For portraits in which I want to capture both the subject and the context of the background, 50mm is my go-to lens.

    A normal lens really shines when it comes to taking pictures of people in their natural environments. Additionally, it does an outstanding job with small group portraits, accommodating anywhere from two to four people at a time. In addition to being a decent lens for street photography, the 50mm focal length is also a decent choice for certain types of landscape photography; however, I would reserve this responsibility for the other lenses.

    A normal 50mm lens, on the other hand, is an excellent lens for videography because it provides a nice, standard look for interviews. 50 millimetres is always that jack of all trades but master of none, and given that you can buy 50 millimetre lenses for almost any camera ecosystem for less than two hundred dollars, it is just simply essential to have. In light of the fact that I have alluded to the fact that you do not really require something like a 24–70mm, the 50mm is the key to filling that normal focal range as well.

    When to Use a Standard Lens

    What Lens Does Every Photographer Need?

    Because they are so faithful to what our eyes actually detect, standard lenses are wonderful all-purpose optics. The following are some specific examples of genres that these lenses are suitable for:

    • Photographic Art of Portraits
    • Photography taken on the street
    • Photography taken inside or of still life subjects
    • Photography of the Landscape

    Telephoto Lenses

    The telephoto lens is another one of the lenses that every photographer ought to have in their bag. Telephoto lenses are characterised by a focal length that is greater than 60 millimetres and a magnification factor. Taking pictures of subjects that are further away is now possible thanks to this feature. In addition to that, they provide an excellent background blur, which assists you in separating your subject from the background.

    It's possible that 85mm, 100mm, or 135mm are the focal lengths most commonly used for this. One of my personal lenses is a 100mm f/2. The bread and butter of an outdoor portrait photographer is a wide-angle telephoto lens because of its ability to provide nice compression and background blur, both of which help your subject stand out more. If you prefer more full-body portraits, the 85mm lens is a good choice; however, if your primary focus is on headshots, the 135mm lens is probably a better choice (although 85mm is also a solid headshot lens too). If I had the chance to buy this lens type again, I think I would go with the 85mm instead of the 100mm focal length because it would allow me to get the wider framing that I sometimes want in portraits without having to walk as far back. But in all honesty, the choice is up to you, the reader, and there isn't much of a difference between the two in terms of the outcome (especially if you have the next lens type I recommend which covers any lost focal range). When it comes to shooting video, a stabilised telephoto prime lens, such as the Canon 85mm f/1.4 L IS or the 100mm Macro f/2.8 L IS, is an excellent choice for b-roll workhorses when the shot needs to be more constrained and you'd rather shoot handheld. When conducting video interviews with two cameras, a telephoto prime lens attached to the second camera creates a nicer, more focused shot than a 35mm or 50mm lens would on the first camera. In general, a telephoto prime lens produces a shot that is nicely compressed and has a wide aperture. This type of lens is particularly useful in low-light conditions.

    A "mid-range" telephoto lens has a focal length of between 70 and 200 millimetres. The super-telephoto lens is another essential accessory for any photographer's bag. This refers to anything with a length greater than 200 millimetres! In this case, you will need to use a tripod or significantly increase the amount of time you spend working out at the gym in order to compensate for the increased weight and size of the lens as the focal length increases.

    At Wild Romantic Photography, we have the best Melbourne wedding photographer to take memorable photos on your wedding day.

    When to use telephoto lens

    Because they are typically quite large, it is best to use a telephoto lens outside, particularly when there is some distance between you and the subject you are photographing.

    In the fields of astronomy, sports photography, and wildlife photography, telephoto lenses are absolutely necessary camera accessories.

    • Photography of wild animals
    • Photography of sporting events
    • Astronomy

    Telephoto lenses are indispensable tools for jobs that require you to get closer to a subject without actually moving closer to the subject. Using a long lens, also known as a telephoto lens, allows you to take photos of distant subjects, such as sports, nature and wildlife, and pretty much anything else that is out of your direct line of sight. When it comes to portraiture and beauty photography, a standard telephoto lens with a focal length range of 70–200 millimetres is the ideal choice.

    Because of the increased weight of longer lenses, such as the 300mm, 500mm, and even the 800mm, you will require a tripod to prevent blur caused by camera shake when using these lenses. Do not confuse these lenses with macro lenses, which enable a photographer to view subjects at almost microscopic levels. Macro lenses are not to be confused with these lenses.

    We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.

    Wide Angle Lenses

    Lenses with a wide angle of view are not like other, more common lenses. However, they continue to be one of the most essential camera lenses. These lenses are the polar opposite of telephoto lenses because they allow a greater amount of content to be captured at a much closer range. These lenses have a focal length that is essentially anything shorter than 40 millimetres. The shorter the number of the focal length, the more you'll be able to pack into the frame. Because of the potential for distortion, wide-angle lenses are not ideal for taking portraits of individuals. On the other hand, these lenses are fantastic for shooting interiors with limited space, large groups of people, and landscapes.

    Using your camera's frame to its full potential is made possible by wide-angle lenses. Wide-angle lenses give you the ability to visually capture everything from landscapes and group photos to fashion and advertising; this is especially true if the camera body you are using is a full-frame model. Any lens that has a focal length of 35 millimetres or less is considered to be a wide-angle lens. This includes a 24 millimetre lens as well as a wide-angle zoom lens that ranges from 18 millimetres to 35 millimetres.

    Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.

    Why is it necessary for you to have a wide-angle prime lens, and which wide-angle prime lens should you use in which situations? If you want the full-frame equivalents of approximately 24mm, 28mm, or 35mm with an aperture that is at least f/2 or brighter, then our recommendations for you here are that you should own a particular prime lens with an aperture that is at least f/2 or brighter. This is true regardless of the camera ecosystem that you use. A wide-angle prime lens is especially helpful for a variety of different situations and applications. Will you be taking a vacation? When photographing landscapes or large family gatherings, a prime lens with a wide angle of view is a handy accessory to have (in fact, this lens is great for any group photo of more than three or four people). For street photography, the best lens to use is a prime with a wide angle of view. And if you're really creative, shooting portraits of a single subject with a wide-angle prime lens can be a very, very rewarding experience as well.

    When shooting with a full-frame camera, this range of focal lengths is most commonly 16–35mm; however, there are other possible variants, such as a 12–24mm. When used with a crop sensor, lenses of this type typically appear to have a focal length range of 10–18 millimetres. This particular type of lens is currently the most popular option due to the various artistic fields that it can focus on. I wanted to shoot both video and still photographs for real estate and architecture, so I purchased a 16–35mm lens specifically for that purpose. Let me tell you, this lens is fantastic for shooting both of those types of subjects. When photographing landscapes, the wide-angle zoom lens is another excellent choice. Even though I've probably mentioned that quite a few of these lens categories are suitable for landscape photography, the 16–35mm lens is without a doubt the best lens for the job, particularly the wider end of the zoom range. A lens with a focal range of 16–35 millimetres is excellent for travel and street photography and can compete with wide-angle prime lenses in this regard. Due to the fact that 16–35mm lenses typically come in an aperture of f/4, the wide-angle zoom is typically most effective during the daytime. When it comes to telephoto zoom lenses, you can get an f/2.8 if you're willing to pay for it, but in my opinion, it's not worth it nearly as much as getting the f/2.8 variant. Because of this, I continue to recommend including a wide-angle prime lens in your kit because it has a larger aperture, which will come in handy in situations where you require more light than f/4 can provide.

    Macro Lenses

    Close-up photography requires the use of macro lenses, which are the most common type of lens. They have a ratio of 1:1, which more or less means that they are capable of capturing your subject at a magnification equal to life. As a result of all of these factors, macro lenses are ideal for taking photographs of nature, insects, and other fine details. These must-have camera lenses also allow users to take incredibly stunning portraits with their cameras. Making the purchase of a macro lens a wise investment overall.

    Close-up photography requires the use of a macro lens. They have a ratio of 1:1, which more or less means that they are capable of capturing your subject at a magnification equal to life.

    When to use a macro lens: 

    According to the information presented above, macro lenses are ideal for taking:

    • Photography of natural settings
    • The art of photographing insects
    • Photography of minute details

    It is possible to take exceptionally stunning portraits with macro lenses, making this purchase beneficial in more ways than one.

    Fixed Prime or Zoom?

    When you have an idea of the focal ranges offered by the various types of lenses, the next step is to choose between a prime lens with a fixed focal length and a zoom lens with variable focal lengths.

    Zoom Lenses

    When it comes to photography, one of the most useful lenses is the zoom lens. Simply turning the barrel of a zoom lens allows you to change through the entire focal range of the lens. This enables you to zoom in or out to fill more or less of the screen depending on your needs. Simply put, the advantage of zoom is that it enables you to obtain multiple focal lengths from a single, convenient lens. If you are only interested in purchasing one lens, this is an excellent option for you! On the other hand, they are more cumbersome to carry and do not provide an image quality that is quite on par with that of fixed prime lenses.

    Simply turning the barrel of a zoom lens allows you to change through the entire focal range of the lens. This enables you to zoom in or out to fill more or less of the screen depending on your needs.

    The primary advantage of zoom lenses is that they provide photographers with the ability to capture images at a variety of focal lengths while still only requiring the purchase of a single lens.

    On the other hand, they are more cumbersome to carry and do not provide quite the same level of image quality as fixed prime lenses do.

    Starting to think about hiring a wedding photographer? Check out our range of Mornington Peninsula wedding photography here.

    Prime Fixed Lenses

    What Lens Does Every Photographer Need?

    Prime lenses are defined as those that have a focal length that cannot be changed, and common examples include 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm lenses. Because they do not have the ability to zoom in or out, you will need to physically approach or withdraw from the subject of your photograph. They generally have the ability to shoot at lower apertures, and as a result, they are essential camera lenses for allowing more light into the camera, as well as for creating background blur, particularly if you have a telephoto lens. Finally, prime lenses have a greater propensity to produce images that are sharper and have a higher overall quality than zoom lenses.

    The most important piece of equipment in your bag is the lens that you use. Therefore, you will be in a better position to succeed if you devote a greater amount of time to conducting research and gaining knowledge about essential camera lenses.

    A prime lens is any lens that does not have the ability to zoom and either has a fixed focal length or does not have one. One of the most common focal lengths for prime lenses is 50 millimetres, as was mentioned earlier. Prime lenses offer an enhanced level of sharpness, in contrast to zoom lenses such as wide-angle zooms and telephoto zooms, which can result in image distortion in certain situations. Prime lenses have garnered a lot of praise among professional photographers, and many only use them for that reason.

    Prime lenses are those that have a predetermined focal length, such as 35 millimetres, 50 millimetres, 85 millimetres, 135 millimetres, and so on. Because they do not allow you to zoom in or out, you will need to physically move closer to or further away from the subject of your photograph.

    Because of this, they are fantastic lenses for letting in more light and also for creating background blur, particularly if you have a telephoto lens. In general, they are able to shoot with a smaller aperture, such as F1.8 or F2.0.

    Finally, prime lenses have a greater propensity to produce images that are sharper and have a higher overall quality than zoom lenses.

    All-Purpose Lenses

    You won't have to switch lenses as often if you have a high-quality all-purpose lens because you'll be able to photograph a wide variety of subjects in a variety of settings. When they first start out, many beginning photographers only have one lens. You will be able to take all of the necessary photos until you can save up enough money to build out the rest of your kit if you invest in a good all-purpose lens. A lens with a focal length range similar to 24–105 millimetres covers the entire photographic spectrum, from wide angle to telephoto. If you have a job that does not require a lot of equipment and you do not want to bring it all with you, then the all-purpose lens is the perfect way to travel light without sacrificing the range of your photography.

    After the camera body itself, a photographer's next best friend is their collection of lenses. Because of this, if you are interested in taking more than just snapshots with your camera, it is essential to make an investment in high-quality camera lenses. The purchase of camera lenses can run you quite a bit of money, but you don't have to spend a fortune to get high-quality glass.


    There is a wide selection of lenses available, each of which will produce a distinctively different picture for you. The lens that is most appropriate for the situation will determine the type of photography that you set out to do. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.

    To summarise everything, the wide-angle, normal, and telephoto prime lenses, along with the wide-angle and telephoto zoom lenses, constitute the ideal set of lenses for photographing virtually any subject matter. And for the focal lengths that aren't explicitly covered, such as those between 35 and 70 millimetres, except for a single 50 millimetre, this one 50 millimetre feels like it's more than sufficient. There is no doubt that each of the five lenses satisfies a unique creative need, and when it comes down to it, the best results are achieved by employing methods and tools that are tailored to specific kinds of labour.


    FAQs About Photography