Why is the 35mm Lens for Portrait Photography so Popular?

Daniel • January 15, 2023 • 5 min read

35mm Lens for Portrait Photography

Are you tired of the same old standard portrait photography? Want to add some unique flair to your shots? Look no further than a 35mm lens.

This versatile lens, often overlooked in favor of the more popular 50mm, offers a wider angle of view and the ability to capture more of the subject’s surroundings. The shallow depth of field also allows for a beautifully blurred background, drawing attention to the subject and adding a dreamy quality to the image.

But don’t just take my word for it, grab your 35mm lens and hit the streets to experiment with new perspectives and compositions. Your portraits will never be the same. Happy shooting!


 

What is a 35mm Portrait Lens?

A 35mm lens is a versatile and unique option for portrait photography. It offers a wider angle of view than the traditional 50mm lens, allowing you to capture more of the subject’s surroundings in the frame.

The shallow depth of field creates a beautiful blur in the background, drawing attention to the subject and adding a dreamy quality to the image. It’s a great way to add some unique flair to your portrait photography and experiment with new perspectives and compositions.

Brief History of 35mm Portrait Lenses

The 35mm lens has a rich history in portrait photography. Originally developed in the early 1900s, it quickly became a favorite among photographers for its versatility and unique perspective.

It was widely used in photojournalism, street photography and portrait photography. Throughout the years, the technology behind the 35mm lens has been improved, but the basic concept remains the same. Are you interested in the history of portrait photography? Read our article about when did portrait photography start here.

It’s a great tool for capturing the world around us, and it’s still widely used by photographers today for its unique and creative capabilities.

wide angle view with 35mm lens
A wide angle view with 35mm lens

The Angle of View makes the Difference

When it comes to portrait photography, the angle of view can make all the difference. The 35mm lens offers a wider angle of view than the traditional 50mm lens, allowing you to capture more of the subject’s surroundings in the frame.

This can be especially useful when shooting in tight spaces or when you want to include more of the background in the shot.

For example, let’s say you’re shooting a portrait of a street performer. With a 50mm lens, you may only be able to capture the performer and a small portion of the background.

But with a 35mm lens, you can capture the performer, their instrument, and the bustling street scene behind them. This creates a more dynamic and interesting composition, giving the viewer a sense of the subject’s environment.

Create shallow depth of field (bokeh) with a 35mm lens
Shallow depth of field (bokeh)

Appealing photos with Shallow Depth of Field

One of the most striking characteristics of a 35mm lens is the shallow depth of field it creates. This means that the background will be beautifully blurred, drawing attention to the subject and adding a dreamy quality to the image.

This is especially useful when shooting portraits, as it makes the subject stand out from their surroundings and creates a more visually interesting image.

For example, let’s say you’re shooting a portrait of a friend at a park. With a 50mm lens, the background will be sharp and in focus, competing for attention with the subject.

But with a 35mm lens, the background will be blurred, making the subject the focal point of the image. This creates a more pleasing and visually appealing image.

Tip: Experimenting with Perspectives

One of the most exciting things about using a 35mm lens for portrait photography is the ability to experiment with different perspectives and compositions. This lens allows you to capture the world around you in a unique and creative way.

For example, try shooting a portrait from a low angle, looking up at your subject. This can create a sense of power and dominance, and make the subject appear larger than life.

Or, try shooting a portrait from a high angle, looking down at your subject. This can create a sense of vulnerability and intimacy, and give the viewer a sense of being close to the subject.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to experimenting with perspectives and compositions using a 35mm lens. So, grab your camera and hit the streets to see what you can come up with. Your portraits will never be the same.

Some of the best 35mm Lenses for your Portrait Photography

1. NIKKOR 35MM F1.8 Z lens

The NIKKOR 35MM F1.8 Z lens is a great lens for Nikon photographers looking for a compact, fast prime lens for their full-frame mirrorless camera. The f/1.8 aperture lets the lens work well in low light and create beautiful bokeh, and the lens itself is sharp and makes great images.

The compact size makes it a great lens to carry around for everyday portrait shooting, and the price point is very reasonable considering the performance you get. I highly recommend the NIKON 35MM F1.8 Z lens to anyone in need of a high-quality lens for their Nikon camera.

NIKKOR 35MM F1.8 Z Lens
NIKKOR 35MM F1.8 Z Lens

2. SONY 35MM F1.8 FE Lens

The SONY 35MM F1.8 FE lens is a fantastic lens for photographers who are looking for a compact and versatile lens for their full-frame Sony camera. The fast f/1.8 aperture allows for beautiful bokeh and low light performance, and the lens itself is sharp and produces excellent image quality.

The compact size makes it a great lens to carry around and the price point is very reasonable for the performance you get. I highly recommend the SONY 35MM F1.8 FE lens to anyone who is serious about portrait photography.

SONY 35MM F1.8 FE Lens
SONY 35MM F1.8 FE Lens

3. CANON RF 35MM F1.8 IS Macro Lens

The CANON RF 35MM F1.8 IS Macro lens is a great lens for Canon photographers who want a compact and lightweight option for their full-frame mirrorless camera. The fast f/1.8 aperture allows for great low-light performance and beautiful bokeh, and the image stabilization feature is a great bonus for handheld shots.

The lens itself is sharp and produces excellent image quality. The price point may be a bit steep for some photographers, but overall, I think it is a worthwhile investment for those in need of a high-quality 35mm portrait lens for their Canon camera.

FUJIFILM-XC-35mm-f2-Lens
FUJIFILM XC 35mm f2 Lens

 

FUJIFILM XF 35mm f1.4 R lens
FUJIFILM XF 35mm f1.4 R lens

4. Fujifilm XC 35mm f/2, XF 35mm f/1.4 R Lens

The Fujifilm XC 35mm f/2 lens is a budget-friendly option for Fujifilm photographers looking for a compact lens for their APS-C mirrorless camera. While it may not have the fast f/1.4 aperture of the XF 35mm f/1.4 R lens, it still performs well in low light and produces sharp images.

The compact size and lightweight design make it a great lens to carry around for everyday shooting, and the price point is very reasonable.

I would recommend the Fujifilm XC 35mm f/2 lens to photographers on a budget who are looking for a high-quality, portrait lens for their Fujifilm camera.

 

Gallery 35mm Lens Photo Examples


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using a 35mm lens for portraits over other lenses?

The 35mm lens offers a wider angle of view, which can be particularly useful when you want to capture more of the subject’s surroundings in the frame, making the photos more dynamic and interesting.

Additionally, the shallow depth of field creates a beautiful blur in the background, which can add a dreamy and artistic quality to the image.

How can I use a 35mm lens for portraits to create more interesting compositions?

One way to make use of the wider angle of view is to include more of the background in the shot, which can give the viewer a sense of the subject’s environment.

Another way is to experiment with shooting from different angles, like low or high angle, which can add a sense of power or vulnerability to the subject.

Are there limitations when using a 35mm lens for portraiture?

One limitation is that a 35mm lens can be less suitable for close-up portraits, as it may not provide the same level of sharpness and detail as a longer lens.

Additionally, depending on the aperture and distance to the subject, you may experience distortion, which can be corrected in post-processing.

However, these limitations can be overcome by adjusting the distance between the subject and the camera, and adjusting the aperture settings.

What are some tips for taking portraits with a 35mm lens?

Experiment with new perspectives and compositions, try to capture more of the subject’s surroundings in the frame, pay attention to the background and use the shallow depth of field to your advantage, and have fun with it!


Conclusion

A 35mm lens is a versatile and unique option for portrait photography. It offers a wider angle of view than the traditional 50mm lens, allowing you to capture more of the subject’s surroundings in the frame.

The shallow depth of field creates a beautiful blur in the background, drawing attention to the subject and adding a dreamy quality to the image. And with the ability to experiment with new perspectives and compositions, the 35mm lens can help take your portrait photography to the next level.

So, don’t be afraid to try something new and have fun with it. Happy shooting!”

Further readings:
Fast, Wide, and Handsome
Looking for a Fuji 35mm F2 review?
The Fujifilm XF 35mm F2 Review
Zenit E 35mm SLR Review
The Beauty of a 35mm Lens and Simple Composition

What are your tips for Portrait Photography with 35mm Lens? Let us know in the comments.

By Furoore team member Daniel
Daniel has been supporting the editorial team as a content creator since the end of 2021 and is mainly responsible for portrait photography and related practical topics around cameras, lenses as well as accessories.

Turn your snapshots into awesome portraits.

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