Rowdy wrote:Any of the canon folk care to point me in the direction of a solid portrait lens??
When taking pictures of people, you don't want to be too close to them. Getting too close results in a perspective that exaggerates noses and other body parts. Staying out of their personal space is also a concern. An uncomfortable subject will not likely photograph well.
On the other hand, you don't want to be too far from your subject. You want to be able to communicate freely (without needing a cell phone, two-way radio or a megaphone). You may also have other obstacles preventing you from backing up (such as a wall). Moving back too far can result in a featureless compression of the subject.
Conventional teaching is that the 85-135mm focal length range is ideal for portrait photography (field of view crop factor included). I generally agree with this teaching. I will often use a wider focal length for full body portraits and group pictures and a longer focal length range for tighter-framed portraits such as head shots.
Unless you are using a backdrop, you will probably want to blur the Background. A wide aperture and/or a long focal length makes this possible. Wide maximum apertures also make low available light portrait photography possible.
My personal favorite portrait lens is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM
Lens. It is sharp, versatile, fast focusing, and has excellent background blur quality. It is not inexpensive or light
. Image stabilization allows indoor available light shooting with this lens. Some may find the 70-200mm focal length range a bit long but I personally would rather have a slightly long focal length range than a slightly short one.