Should You Use a Zoom or a Prime Lens for Portraits? (VIDEO)

When shooting portraits, is it better to use a zoom lens or a prime lens? It's a common question a lot of photographers, particularly those who are just starting out in portraiture, are bound to ask.

And once again, pro photographer Mitch Lally addresses the topic in the below video where he compares a 24-70mm f/2.8 mid-range zoom lens to a 35mm and 85mm lens during a portrait session. In the clip at the bottom of this post, Lally teams up with fellow photographer Carlo Obrien to photograph model Amanda Fotinos in a variety of outdoor settings.

"We're going to be doing a zoom vs prime challenge," Lally explains. "Today I'm going to be using the Canon R6 and the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 RF and Carlo is actually going to be rocking a two-camera setup. So, he's got the RP with the 35mm 1.8, and he's also got the R6 with the 85mm 1.8 so that means that means I can zoom in and out, but Carlo is restricted to one focal length. But he's got a 1.8 aperture and I'm shooting at 2.8 and we are going to be shooting the lenses wide open."

The goal is less about which lens is better for portraits and more about how each focal length produces different results you can use to express your creativity in portraiture.

"It'll be really interesting to see the different types of photos that we can get with both camera setups," Lally notes. "We've done a few zoom vs prime challenges in the past but this is actually the first time that we're using a 25 to 70 2.8 and I definitely think this lens is your next best bet after using a prime lens, simply because of the constant 2.8 aperture all the way through the zoom range."

You can see Lally's previous zoom vs prime lens portrait challenge here.