3 Camera Lenses You Need
So, you’ve been using the basic lens kit for a while, but now you’re ready to step up your photography game. With so many camera lenses on the market, it’s hard to know what your next purchase should be.
Want a peek inside my camera bag? These three camera lenses are my go-to’s for food and product photography. As a commercial photographer, I primarily shoot inanimate objects, and I love how these lenses allow me to bring them to life!
Not a commercial photographer? No worries – this post is for you, too. These versatile lenses also work well for portraiture, nature photography, lifestyle photos, and travel photography – just about anything, really. Go check them out!
The Staple Lens
For all-around versatility, make sure you have a 24-70mm lens. No matter what kind of photographer you are – from professional to hobbyist, products to people – you can’t go wrong with this guy.
Benefits of the 24-70mm Lens
- Almost all major camera brands offer this lens.
- Mimics the human eye, so it works for both close-ups and wide shots.
- User-friendly and intuitive – not much of a learning curve.
- Super convenient and adaptable.
- It’s the perfect grab-and-go lens – you’ll be ready to seize any photo opportunity that comes your way.
- It’s not cumbersome and will probably fit just easily in your case.
If you’re learning to capture different focal lengths, this is a great intro lens to get your feet wet before delving into more complicated lenses. The 24-70mm lens performs exceptionally well for close-ups. While the average up-close focusing length for most lenses is about 48 centimeters (a macro lens can focus around 20 centimeters), this lens will focus at about 38 centimeters – or 15 inches. Pretty dang good for a lens that also does wide captures!
Ready to move up a bit? Increase your photography skills with an affordable and lightweight 50mm lens. You won’t regret it. This fixed lens is one of my favorites for bold, striking photos. Plus, if I don’t want to mess with editing software to blur my images, this lens will do it for me flawlessly.
Benefits of the 50mm Lens
- Due to the wide aperture, this lens takes in LOTS of light, allowing you to shoot in very low light and increase your shutter speed – all the yeses!
- Super affordable – outside of a basic lens kit, this might be your next purchase. Even top brands offer this for $100-$200 (cheaper used).
- Promotes creativity – the fixed focal length doesn’t allow you to zoom in and out. A prime lens makes you to move around and try different angles and lighting.
- Exceptional sharpness – since it’s a shallow lens, it enhances your subject while minimizing background distractions.
- Gorgeous Bokeh – the shallow depth of field gives you the perfect background blur.
The Close Up
If you’re shooting products, you’ll need a lens to capture the fine details clearly. That’s exactly what a macro lens is for. However, there are many types, and this isn’t a one-size-fits-all lens. This handy macro lens cheat sheet explains what the numbers mean and provides examples of each. (Not everyone needs to capture the individual filaments on a butterfly wing, so don’t go overboard and buy the most expensive one you find just yet.)
Benefits of a Macro Lens
- Take extraordinary close-up shots even from a distance.
- It features a fantastic autofocus to capture details.
- Gives you room for editing and retouching.
- Minimizes pixilation – the lens boasts unparalleled sharpness.
- It can be good for portraiture (if you learn how to use the crop settings well).
- Helps you hone your skills and creative eye – seeing things up close forces you to focus on color, shape, depth, composition, lighting, and more in an entirely new way. This lens will make you a better photographer!
Do you have a favorite lens? Tell me about it in the comments! Read more on the blog about my favorite photography gear and best product photography lighting.
Lindsay is a Los Angeles-based food, product, and commercial photographer. She specializes in Still Product & Food Photography, Lifestyle & Portrait Photography, Stop Motion, and Food Styling. Connect with her HERE for product marketing!