I believe less is more when it comes to lenses. This means that when I am shooting most of the time I have usually just two lenses on me.
I love wide angle lenses. They force you to get close to fill the frame. They give context of what is around the subject and most of all they bring the audience into the scene.
You can see how a lens choice helps you tell the story by giving you context.
I love how the lens is wide enough to capture the surroundings of the subject.
While some love to use it to show a flower in a field with a mountain in the background using this lens, I do the same by putting company signs near the lens and other information in the background.
I love shooting most of my people photography in the 24-105mm range. While shooting people is maybe better between 35mm and say 105mm getting those group photos I prefer a wider lens.
When running around overseas for a client I love using this lens.
I can show people in their context out wide with the lens and then just seconds later get a nice portrait from standing in the same place of another person.
The reason I like the Sigma 24-105mm lens is the 24mm. But what I dislike is that it stops at 105mm. My other lens that I use in conjunction with the 14-24mm for covering events is the Nikon 28-300mm.
When I travel there are times like in Hawaii where I had the opportunity to shoot a rodeo. You need a fairly long lens to get close to the action.
Taking photos for a school to use in their recruiting materials I can use this to get the normal lens range here and then closeup in the music room.
Now when I want those silky smooth BOKEH shots I plan for those. I have two lenses I go to most of the time.
This fast 35mm ƒ/1.4 is maybe my favorite lens, but to shoot everything with it isn’t practical. But I love the distance that I work with when using this and the results when shot wide open at ƒ/1.4.
With today’s cameras you can get that razor sharp image even when you have such a small depth-of-field because the camera can quickly lock in on the focus point.
It is great to use in low light and it helps you to isolate the subject and put all the emphasis on them, especially the eyes.
I have shot a lot inside of Chick-fil-A kitchens. The 35mm ƒ/1.4 is the lens I try to use the most, because I cannot show everything in the back. However, I do want you to focus on their people as I am doing here.
I love getting tight as well and just show people more than always giving context.
Due to the new Nikon Z6 which let’s you see what you are getting before you click the shutter, I have been getting even tighter shots.
As you can see the 85mm ƒ/1.8 does a great job isolating the subject when shooting wide open at ƒ/1.8.
Now when it comes to being far away and needing a longer lens I use the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens with the 1.4x or 2x converter made for the lens.
Now while sports and wildlife are where I use this often, occasionally to get a different look with portraits I use the lens.
This is where I wanted to compress the background of fall colors with the subject. Ask yourself some questions. Why are you shooting this? What do you want the audience to think? What do you want the audience to feel?
Always consider what you want the image to say before you decide how to say it. Then pick the best lens for the moment. You may have to compromise as I often do with my zoom lenses.
Remember to always think conceptually and not just aesthetically.
Here are links to a couple past blog posts on specific lenses: