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Three Key Lenses Every Professional Photographer Needs

Intro by Skip Cohen

This is a very different post from what we normally share, but Sarah Petty did a terrific job explaining the three key lenses every professional needs to have and why. While many of you are seasoned veterans and have most of the right gear, even a well-established artist can sometimes use a little help in questions about lenses.

Plus, Sarah went to one of my favorite resources, good buddy Tony Corbell. I’m not sure there’s anything Tony hasn’t photographed and in this post from Sarah’s archive,s there’s a lot of great information.

Remember though – having the right gear is the easiest and smallest part of being a pro. Being a professional photographer is about building trust with your clients; understanding their needs; understanding the craft including posing, lighting, composition and exposure; and with every client, you need to exceed expectations and make yourself habit-forming!

Attend every workshop you can. Put the major conferences/conventions on your calendar for 2019 NOW; watch a new video on technique every morning over coffee; participate in your local PPA affiliate meetings, guilds and camera clubs and build your network of artists and vendors who compliment your needs as a photographer.

Last but not least practice, practice practice!

by Sarah Petty

Wondering how to become a professional photographer? If so, you might not be 100 percent sure which equipment you need.

Your budget is tight, so you can’t just go out and buy everything.

So where do you start?

I talked to Tony Corbell about this subject, and he discussed the equipment topic at length. He says you do need a few great lenses (and a professional camera to go with it, of course.)

But why? Because you don’t have to replace them! You’re going to keep these—and even though you’ll upgrade your camera body over time, these are going to be by your side for a long, long time. Whether you decide to go new or second-hand, there are lots of great options available.

Neither of us is into the Nikon vs. Canon debate, but we talked about the three different types of lenses that any professional photographer needs to have.

The three lenses

  1. A 16-35 mm lens: Great for: Creating an interesting look in different environments with wide-angle shots and super up-close subject matter.
  2. A 24-70 mm lens: Great for: Day-to-day use within family and child portrait photography. Deemed the “workhorse lens” for many, it provides a good range of close, mid-range, and distance shots. This is typically the stock lens that comes on your camera.
  3. 70-200 mm lens: Great for: Professional use when producing high-quality images. This is the “Big Daddy” lens that often helps distinguish hobbyists from professional photographers and provides a vast depth of field.

As you practice with your different lenses, you’ll begin to notice which ones work best for the different types of work you produce. But these three are a good starting place as you begin to transition from hobby to professional photographer.