A lot of planning goes into any photoshoot. Photographers need to think about what they want to achieve from the outing, and as part of that, deciding on gear is also essential. Choosing the right lens for your photoshoot is arguably even more critical than picking the right camera body.
Choosing the right lens requires thinking about several factors. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to start, don’t worry—you’re in the right place.
This article will give you seven tips that will help you determine the best lens to choose for your photoshoot. And so, without further ado, let’s get started.
1. The Type of Photography
When picking a lens for a photoshoot, understanding the type of photography involved is crucial. For example, if you’re going out to shoot landscapes, the equipment you pack might be completely different from if you were taking product photos indoors.
Once you know the style of photography you’re going for, you’ll need to pick a lens that meets your needs in multiple areas. The focal length is essential, but you should also consider whether you need a wider aperture.
If you’re going for a specific type of photography, such as a vintage style, you might also want to consider taking lens filters with you.
2. The Weather Conditions
If you live in a region with unpredictable weather, you probably won’t know the exact conditions until the day of your photoshoot. However, you should still consider what you’ll likely encounter in advance.
Modern camera lenses are robust, but they can’t withstand everything. If you’re going to take photos in cold or rainy weather, you should strongly consider using something that’s either weather-sealed or weather-resistant. Doing so will add an extra layer of protection, and you’ll also be able to take photos in colder temperatures.
The weather conditions you’ll shoot in will also determine how you store your camera lens. For example, you might need to take a waterproof backpack with you if you expect a lot of precipitation.
Even if you live somewhere prone to volatile weather conditions, you can gain a rough idea of what to expect. For example, weather apps on your Apple Watch or smartphone will allow you to prepare accordingly.
3. How Much Physical Activity You’ll Be Doing
When choosing the right lens for your photoshoot, you’ll need to think about much more than the photography aspect. Camera equipment can quickly get heavy, and the last thing you want to do is take more than you can handle.
If you’re planning to go on a long hike, you’ll want to think twice about bringing multiple lenses. Similarly, you probably won’t want to take something telescopic if you’re going to be on your feet for most of the day.
Consider the other equipment that you’re already bringing along. For example, if you’re taking a tripod, you might have a little less room for maneuver. You will also want to pack lighter if traveling for extended periods or if you don’t have a car to transport your stuff.
4. How Safe You’ll Feel in the Destination You’re Photographing
If you live somewhere relatively safe, it’s easy to forget that danger exists in many parts of the world. It’s an unfortunate reality, but you need to consider what threats you might run into if you’re taking photos in a place you’re unfamiliar with—especially if you’re traveling abroad.
Violent crime is something to look out for, and you should think twice about taking photos alone after dark in areas you don’t know. You should also consider the risk of petty theft; if you’re capturing images in touristy destinations, pickpockets might see you as a target.
If you think you will feel unsafe in the area where you’re taking photos, consider using a smaller lens. You can remain discreet more easily if you do, and people will be less likely to confront you.
5. The Lenses You Already Have in Your Collection
If you bought a new camera lens every time you went on a photoshoot, things would get expensive pretty fast. To maximize your preparations, you should look at the equipment you already have and—ideally—pick something from your collection.
If you plan to take multiple kinds of photos, you might want to choose something more versatile, like the 50mm. On the flip side, some photoshoots might require a slightly more niche lens, such as the 85mm.
If you don’t own the lens you need, you can always ask someone you know if they can lend theirs to you. Alternatively, you can rent lenses.
6. The Lighting Conditions
Lighting is the most crucial aspect of photography, and knowing the conditions you’ll have to play with on your photoshoot is essential. Some lenses can let more light in than others, meaning that you might find yourself cut short if you make the wrong choice.
If you take photos in low-light conditions, you should use a lens with a wider aperture. Examples include nighttime photography and capturing images indoors. Overcast days will also require something that lets more light into your camera.
On the other hand, you can get away with something that has a narrower maximum aperture if you’re shooting outdoors on a sunny day.
7. How Far Away You’ll Be From Your Subject
When picking a lens for your photoshoot, you will also need to think about the distance you’ll stand from your subject. If you’re going to be far away, you will want a lens with a longer focal length. Examples include wildlife photography and capturing landscapes from a distance.
On the flip side, you will probably want to use a wider-angle lens—such as the 27mm—if you’re going to be closer to your subject. Similarly, a wide-angle lens should be your go-to option when photographing in crowded places.
Choose Your Lens Wisely
Preparing for a photoshoot is often a lot less fun than the process of going out and taking photos. Nonetheless, it’s still important if you want to get the best possible results. You will need to consider several external factors, such as weather and lighting.
Having said that, your photography style is still essential. Ideally, you will choose a happy medium between convenience and getting the results you desire.