What lens for environmental portraits?

April 24th, 2014
My enthusiasm for my 50mm prime knows (almost) no bounds. I use it most of the time with a cropped sensor Nikon body for street photography and most stuff. (My only other lens is my 18-55mm kit lens so I'm not spoiled for choice.) But I find I struggle to compose an environmental protrait (example below). Should I be going closer to the subject but using a wider angle lens, I wonder? Grateful for any recommendations on taking better environmental portraits!

April 24th, 2014
Joe
On my cropped sensor I prefer my 35mm for street which is the equivalent of a 50mm on a full frame. Otherwise I feel too disconnected or removed from the scene as I'm always having to back away.
April 30th, 2014
@rellimdj Thanks for the tip. I'm looking at adding a 35mm prime to my armory at your suggestion. They seem much more affordable than a super zoom!
April 30th, 2014
For cropped sensor a fast 35mm is excellent. You can even experiment with wider points of view, the 18mm (~28mm) is also quite cool, lets you be more intimate, or it lets you photograph a person as a part of a scene, rather it will keep the context intact.
May 1st, 2014
can you let me know exactly what you mean by "environmental portraits"?
May 3rd, 2014
@toast @klas thanks Klas. Hi Weng, I guess I mean a portrait which shows a fair amount of the subject's context/environment/where they belong, rather than a tight head and shoulders image.
May 4th, 2014
If you want the flexibility at time of shoot, its hard to go past a good zoom. Which one you choose will depend on how big you want the subject to be, how much compression you want etc.

For example, I shot both these images on wednesday... The first one is using a 24-105f4 closer to the 24 side. The second using a 70-200 f4, at about 85mm. For each one, i'm going a little bit wider to get some more perspective on where they are





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