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November 18, 2011

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Samantha

Do you always have to use a telephoto lens? What about a fixed portrait type lens, like the 50mm?

Jim Miotke

Hi Samantha,
Thanks for the note. While the 50mm is nice, it does depend how far back the background is - in terms of getting it super blurred. A wide aperture isn't enough. (Of course, sometimes you might want to incorporate a complementary background into the composition - in which case, a normal 50mm or even a wide-angle can be used.) Otherwise, as Jim Z suggests, a telephoto will almost always blur the background out to a very pleasing degree. Thanks for commenting!

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Thanks for the note. While the 50mm is nice, it does depend how far back the background is - in terms of getting it super blurred. A wide aperture isn't enough.

Brian

Not only is a telephoto useful for blurring the background, it also improves the perspective producing a more pleasing portrait. Taken to the extreme,a wide angle lensewill make the nore look disproportionately large. a 50 mm less so but most portraits look even better with a 75mm or greater lens. Another advantage is the longer foccal length lense allows you to get up close and personal without crowding the subject and making her/him feel uncomfortable.

That said, a portrait taken with a 50 mm lens is better than no portrait at all.

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