What’s the Best Focal Length for Portrait Photos? One Pro’s Answer May Surprise You (VIDEO)

We regularly post portrait tutorials, and they typically involve shooting and posing techniques, lighting guidelines, and image-editing tips. In the video below, you’ll get one pro’s take on the best focal length lens for creating pleasing results.

In this tutorial photographer Matt Granger discusses the importance of perspective and distortion, while shooting portraits of a pretty model with a variety of lenses. As you’ll see, both camera-to-subject distance and lens choice have a big impact on how natural your photographs appear.

Conventional wisdom is that lenses in the 85-105mm range are the best choice for shooting tight headshots. But in this video Granger demonstrates why longer lenses are often a better option when it comes to realistically replicating a subject’s face. Granger shoots the same image with lenses ranging from 15-200mm, and his advice is to move back from your subject and shoot with a 200mm telephoto.

There are more helpful tips on Granger’s YouTube channel, and be sure to look at an earlier video we posted in which Granger explores the rumored focus-tracking problems of the new Nikon D850 DSLR.