7 Reasons Why a 50mm Lens Is All You Need for Great Photography (Shutterbug Video)

Shutterbug photographer Jordan Matter is back with another photography how-to video, offering tips on getting the most out of your 50mm lens. Titled “7 Reasons Why a 50mm Lens Is All You Need for Great Photography” and embedded below, the video shows Matter on Miami Beach working with model Em Marie and his favorite “Nifty Fifty” lens.

In the video, Matter photographs Em Marie while explaining the reasons why he loves using his Nifty Fifty lens for portraits. Here’s a rundown of the 7 tips; watch the video at the bottom of this post to see him in action.

1. Less Gear Means Less Hassle

2. Shallow Depth of Field Looks Great for Portraits

3. Helps Capture Backgrounds for Environmental Portraits

4. Works for Macro Photography

5. Stops the Action

6. Smalls Lenses Let You Adapt

7. Sharp in Low Light

You’ll also want to check out Matter’s video on How to Shoot Amazing Dance Photos that Will Go Viral and 10 Tips on How to Get Your Photography Exhibited. Also new on Shutterbug's YouTube channel is a video from wedding photography veteran Denis Reggie with 7 Tips on How to Shoot Group Portraits at a Wedding.

And while you’re on Shutterbug’s YouTube channel, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!

dcstep's picture

The idea of starting with and arbitrarily limiting yourself to a 50mm goes back to the days when zooms were generally poor quality and we were shooting Kodachrome, Ektachrome and Fujichrome an color films at what seem to very low ISOs, in today's lens.

On a full-frame camera a 24-105mm is a much better all around lens. On a crop-sensor, a 35mm lens gives closer to the perspective of what used to be called a "normal" lens that presented something relatively close to our eye's perspective.

This video sells way to short the ability for most modern cameras to shoot at high ISO and get clean results. I run into people in the field regularly, shooting too slow for wildlife or sports. When I ask what their ISO is, it's something crazy-low, like ISO 250. Get the shutter speed up and raise the ISO accordingly. Cameras as old as the original 7D could shoot at ISO 1600 and clean up nicely. The latest bodies are stunning in that regard.

What's in my full-frame bag? 12-24/f4, 24-70/f2.8, 100-400/f4.5-5.6, 500/f4 and 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. If portraiture were a big part of my life, I'd consider a bokeh-queen, like a fast 85mm, but that not a significant part of my work. There's no good reason for a 50mm.