What makes an excellent group photo for you? As a professional photographer, I would say it is one that is filled with emotion and backed up by captivating image composition. A lot of work goes into taking a great group shot, but if I’m being honest, nothing beats the right type of lens when you’re aiming for quality.
My absolute favorite camera company is Canon and many of you can probably guess why. Whether I am shooting for the graduation of 300 students or a simple family dinner of five, Canon always has the perfect lens for the occasion.
But with all these arrays of interchangeable lenses to choose from, how can you ever really know which is the very best? Take it from an expert when I tell you that I’ve been there and have already done all of that. And because I know exactly the kind of hassle it costs, I’ve prepared a list of the 7 best Canon lens for group portraits just for you
Whenever I’m called to take raw photoshoots, this lens is my first choice for its super sharp image quality. If you’ve ever had to capture full-family maternity images, you’ll know how important it is to include every detailed stretch mark on the belly of a soon-to-be mom even if she’s not the only subject of the photo. And the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM gives me the liberty of helping many anxious clients chronicle important life stages with its shallow depth of field.
This ultrasonic telephoto zoom lens has a maximum aperture of 1.8 and maximum focal length of 85 millimeters. Apart from its extra clear images, this accessory is designed especially for single-lens reflex cameras to help give photographers a vivid view of what they’re capturing. Its ring-type ultrasonic monitor (USM) and natural angle view help improve the focus on the subjects and make this lens great for group delineation. To top it off, its non-rotatable front lens optimizes its autofocusing, polarizing, and special filter effects. As an additional feature, it is created to produce outstanding background blur.
When it comes to clear, naturally enhanced images, this lightweight Canon model lens is definitely the way to go. Count in its fast autofocus and genuine bokeh background and you’ll soon be singing the same song like many of the professionals.
A couple of summers ago I was tasked to capture the image of a huge bridal party. If it wasn’t for this lens, I can’t tell you what the outcome would have been. This lens’ ample flexibility allows you to take photos from distances further away than the average shoot while maintaining sharpness and clarity. It is my top choice for shoots with larger groups that require a bit more camera space to work with.
I would have to say its main features are its 3.9 ft minimum focusing distance and 34° – 12° diagonal angle view which supports its mid-range telephoto focal lengths of up to 200 millimeters. This ultrasonic focus lens construction consists of 1 Fluorite and 5 UD elements for improved optical quality and reduced chromatic aberration. It also has a maximum aperture of 2.8, which is wide enough to let more light enter into the lens. This is a great feature if you’re looking for cleaner images. And who wouldn’t want that? It includes a focus limiter and a built-in Optical Image Stabilizer that can provide up to 4 stops of correction to improve image quality. Like most of Canon’s lenses, this model is dust and moisture resistant for moments when you’re found working in tough conditions.
This USM, full-time manual focus lens is designed to self-enhance speed and performance on all your far-off projects. And if you’re worried that you may not be equipped for a heavy-duty lens like this, don’t sweat it – it’s been used and loved by both experts and amateurs across the profession.
Some of the most admired photos are popping with color and supported by a good-old creamy bokeh background. It can often be tricky to master both of these aspects with a regular lens, but the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM is surely the top pick for many SLR camera photographers.
This standard lens is made with an ultra-length aperture suited for its narrow depth of field. This feature also requires that you manually adjust the focus of the lens. Again, because of its narrow depth of field, the images will not be as sharp as with the other lenses aforementioned, so it would be advisable to couple this lens with a 3 shot neutral density filter to help improve this aspect. What I especially like about this ultrasonic model is that it is coated to reduce flares (this is a common problem with digital lens cameras).
Like the Canon EF 70-20 mm, f/2.8 L IS II USM, this lens is designed to be weather resistant. The upside is that it has both autofocus and manual focus features that provide added versatility to help you capture optimized and vibrant images.
Have you ever had an extra-long shoot that was bombarded with the sound of the clicks and clasps of your camera? Annoying right? But I’ve got good news: The Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L II USM telephoto lens will be perfect for your lengthy projects. This is a redesigned lens with a high-speed CPU and optimized algorithms that ensure silent and fast autofocusing. Gone are the days of dealing with the nuisance of camera noises.
That’s not the only benefit that this ultrasonic lens has. It also uses 1 Super UD and 2 UD lens elements to reduce blurring and color fringing to improve the caliber of your photos. It should be interesting to note that it combines two different types of aspherical lenses to assist in properly focusing all light rays. For more enhancements, it has a 9-blade diaphragm and special lens coating to help soften the background and balance the colors of images. There is also a fluoride coating on the lens, making it dust and water-proof and reducing smearing and fingerprints.
Again, it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. While other models may provide other perks, I value my sanity and the peace I receive from having a quiet shoot. Long jobs are already enough pressure; have the benefit of capturing thousands of photos in silence.
Working in poor lighting can be difficult. You spend way too much time looking for good angles with almost-good-enough brightness. Luckily, this lens is specially designed with high-speed autofocus to provide optimum photo quality regardless of the circumstance.
To help with this issue, many factors come into play. Its fluoride and UD lens elements help with complicated color fringing while its circular aperture helps with focusing images. I mentioned that the lens can be automatically adjusted, but it should be noted that it can be manually maneuvered as well. There is a built-in optical stabilizer with up to 4 corrections to this inner-USM-operated accessory.
All these features make it equipped for improving light quality when things get a bit dark. Although it is a bit pricey, you will find that the specs are definitely worth the sacrifice. You never really know when projects are going to get out-of-hand.
If you have ever been tasked with capturing photos on a stage or maybe even on a sunny beach, you know exactly what I mean when I say that glares are a pain in the lens. But with this SLR, manual focus lens, you won’t ever have to be bothered by the effects of flares and ghosting again. Its Super Spectra air-sphere coating was specially added to reduce these effects.
There is also a fluorite coating on the front and rear elements to reduce smears and fingerprints after use. The ultrasonic lens has a maximum aperture of 2.8 and a maximum focal length of 200mm, making it quite versatile; its bright zoom lens and 8-blade circular aperture help you create captivating images with beautifully blurry backgrounds.
The optical image stabilizer included in it manages to shake correction with up to 3.5 stops. As a water-proof and dust resistance lens, this really comes a good deal for the price. What’s better is that you get to enjoy all of this without the extra work of editing out glary spots.
I’ve been honored to shoot preschool catalogs for more times than I can count. One of the things I have always loved about this lens is how quickly it manages to catch bouncing toddlers and still provide a sharp image. Nothing satisfies me more than high-quality photos. Does this sound like you too? Well then, you may want to look into getting a Canon 85mm f/1.4 L IS USM camera lens.
Fun fact: This lens is the first in the Canon L-series to have a built-in optical image stabilizer that handles the issue of shake correction. Its aspherical lens with air-sphere coating technology helps to maintain high-quality images and reduce ghosting. Don’t think that these features came about by chance. They all work together to ensure that you capture sharp and vivid group portraits.
Imagine not having to get frustrated, overtaking multiple photos of moving subjects in search of good quality. This doesn’t have to be a dream with a lens like this. It may be another one of the expensive models, but don’t let that deter you from long-term success on the job.
There’s a certain power that photographers have yet often underestimate. I once had a mentor who told me that the lens of a camera gauges the success of the shoot. And after years in the field, I cannot deny the wisdom in those words.
Taking group photos is a tedious project and without the right type of lens, it could go downhill much quicker than you think.
Maybe you’re still looking for your perfect lens or perhaps you’ve already found it. Tell us about your experience in the comments below.