I have been asked many times why I choose a certain lens for the different photos I have shot whether the photos are for a campaign or a catalog or even a personal model portfolio shoot.
The answer isn’t so clear cut. I can tell you that my most used lens is my Canon 85 1.8. Why do I love this lens ? For the reason that I can get full body shots to three quarter shots to half body shots, all with one lens. And this lens is very light which does matter after you have been shooting for 5, 6, 7 , 10 hours. The contrast and saturation is great and I always get sharp crisp images which is VERY important when shooting a clothing catalog. When shooting clothing you MUST capture the details in the fabric and I don’t care what kind of fabric it is, it is your job as a photographer to make sure every detail of the clothing is clear and well defined. This is especially important now because of the internet. A popular trend for designers is to show the model full body and when the user scrolls over the jacket, blouse, pants, jeans etc. a magnified image pops out that shows the incredible detail of the stitching or quality of the silk, denim etc.
So with just a little movement back and forth on my part I am able to give my client choices from full body all the way to half body shots. Now granted, knowing that my client is going to include a pop out of tight close up of the fabric I will move in for a half body shot. That brings me to my next favorite lens for shooting fashion. That lens is the Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro.
I can get as close as one inch to the garment and capture every little detail including the little fibers of each stitch ! At this point I would be on a tripod of course. If I am shooting a beauty campaign which I just completed by the way, I will roll out this amazing lens. I’m on sticks and got my 100 macro attached to my 5D Mark 2 and I can shoot away with full confidence. I will even get in tight on one eye to show the clarity and quality of the eye shadow, nail polish, lip stick etc. It’s not L glass but I will give you my opinion on L glass……… YOU DON’T FRIGGIN NEED “L” GLASS !! Ok ? Get over this crap that you have to have “L” glass to get great shots. My God I get sooo irritated when I see that a photographer has just wet his pants because he just bought a new lens with “L” glass. Do you think all the greats used “L” glass ? No they didn’t. Why ? Because it didn’t exist and guess what ? They were still hired to shoot the great campaigns and Vogue covers and their shit still looked amazing. Helmut Newton, Herb Ritz, Sante D’ Orazio, Irving Penn, the list goes on, never shot with “L” glass and ummm well, they have gone down in history as some of the best shooters in history !
Ok enough ranting lol. Seriously though, if you wanna waste your money and you have the money to waste and it makes you get a warm feeling all over then go for it ! Spend spend spend !!!! Canon still won’t sponsor you.. he he.
I will admit that I do own two lenses that are made with “L” glass, but that is not why I bought them. So another favorite lens of mine is my Canon 28-70 2.8 L. Many times when I’m shooting in a really cool location I like to capture the location and the model in the same shot to tell the story with a more dramatic effect. So I will move in VERY close and zoom out to 28mm and capture that awesome sky in the desert or beautiful beach, blue water and blue sky and oh ya, the beautiful model as you can see in these two shots.
So there you have it. These are the three lenses I shoot with most often. If I want to REALLY compress my image and background I will break out my Canon 200mm 2.8 L and I ALWAYS put that on sticks.
So I’m sure some of you will disagree with my on the whole “L” series debate. I wanna hear your side. I would also love to know what some of your favorite lenses are and why. And don’t forget to click the subscribe to my newsletter link. It’s at the bottom of my LINKS section.