Best Lenses For Headshots – 2021 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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A headshot is a perfect way of portraying one’s personality in one distinctive shot.

However, to be able to capture that perfectly, you need to find the most suitable lens. Not all lenses can be used for taking the perfect headshot.

To help you out, we’ve decided to review some of the best lenses for headshots. 

Comparison of the Best Lenses for Headshots

  • Silent wave motor with a 7-blade diaphragm
  • There is a mode switch between manual and autofocus
  • Has a fast maximum aperture
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  • Equipped with the hypersonic motor (HSM)
  • It has compatibility with a mount converter
  • Torque is 1.3 times better than previous models
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  • Design is resistant to dust and moisture
  • Best for the money
  • Nano AR coating for eliminating flaring and ghosting
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  • Best lens for headshots Canon
  • The autofocus is remarkable
  • Good appearance pleases the aesthetic senses
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  • Best lens for headshots Nikon
  • Has a silent wave motor for quiet, accurate and fast autofocus
  • Super Integrated Coating (SIC) is available for light-transmitting efficiency
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Are All Lenses Suitable For Taking Headshots?

There are numerous lenses available on the market. Mostly, you start your photography with the lens available in your camera only before you move on to a quality zoom lens, which will cover your required or desired focal length.

A zoom lens, as well as a prime lens, is good for great portraiture. 50 mm, 85 mm and 135 mm are good options to start your career with. This focal length will surely help in providing the ideal focal lengths. Decide your lens accordingly to enjoy your photography journey!

Why Did These Lenses Make Our List?

Photographers of modern times mainly focus their interests and attention on what cameras they should buy. In reality, cameras have less to do with the picture images. It is more about the lens they use! Therefore, to choose the best of the best, we kept the following features in mind: 


Pricing is the foremost thing while deciding the model you want to buy. A cheaper lens will not give you a good quality of images. However, this also doesn’t mean that you need to spend a lot of money to get some great features. The lenses on our list have a price tag that is justified by their features. 

Purpose of Lens

When you buy any lens, the purpose must be clear to you. For instance, if you plan to buy a lens that will suit various subjects, then 24-70 mm zooming will suit you best. If macro photography is your passion, then choose one accordingly. The models on our list are ideal for various purposes, so you can make your pick accordingly.  

Versatility of Lens

You must also consider the versatility of your lens. You need an accommodating lens if you are planning to take photographs of all kinds. Zoom lenses are a good option for that. Our list only has highly versatile options. 

Review of the Best Lenses For Headshots

Starting your career or hobby as a photographer is a bit tricky because there are several options available. To help you in selecting the right one according to your needs, we have narrowed down the best of the best. Have a look!

Best Overall:
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Minimal distortion for only the best pictures 
  • Wide aperture helps to capture all the elements 
  • An inexpensive option, catering to a wider audience 
  • Compact and lightweight that makes it easy to carry
  • Excellent sharpness even at f1.8/G that gives quality to the picture


  • Not good for handheld
  • Optimal stabilization is lacking
  • Capability of close focus is limited

What Recent Buyers Report

Many of the buyers reported it to be the perfect and ideal lens for their needs because of its features. It is a complete package in a proper budget. Budget and good features make it a wonderful selection for its users. It has been marked as an ideal choice in contemporary markets.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The picture and material quality mark it as a perfect option and a unique lens among the various available options. The durability and focus are also commendable. It is a perfect choice overall due to its features at a nominal price. Having a soft case for carrying, it also has a reversible lens on the bayonet. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This series of the lens is a boon for photographers, particularly for those who use DSLRs by Nikon. Acquiring it will never leave you in regret. It is a must-buy for landscape photography too. Many users also recommended it for digital photography. This lens will always come up to your expectations and can be employed for taking portraits at weddings, parties, and other similar events.  

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, this lens is the perfect choice for users who are looking for bright and sharp images. It has a wide aperture and minimal distortion. The features offered at the nominal price mark its uniqueness, among other various lenses. It is lightweight and compact that makes carrying it easier. Moreover, its working is best even in low light conditions.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF (321954)


  • It has a bright aperture of f/1.4
  • The illumination present is even
  • No distortion is present in the lens
  • It has availability for multiple systems
  • Images provided by it are extremely sharp


  • It is big and a bit heavy too
  • There is no image stabilization
  • Adjustments may be required for the right focus

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent buyers show great interest and confidence in Sigma products, and this one is no different. As per the customer reviews, this is an exceptional prime lens. Extremely sharp photos are delivered even during the opening of a wide shot. Moreover, users also like the fact that it is available at a relatively low price. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The product offers so much that one cannot think of any compromises on this price. It is a big and chunky lens. It is measured in 3.7 by 5.0 inches. You can enjoy its low weight of about 2.5 pounds. The front filters of 86 mm are supported by it. It has a finished black look with a poly-carbonate barrel. The front and rear caps are included in it as well as the reversible lens. At this maximum aperture, the images captured have 50% more light and shallower depth.

Who Will Use This Most 

It is good for photographers planning to shoot any events. The pictures are sharper and can be captured from a distance. The images are brighter due to 50% more light. Regardless of whether you are a professional photographer or hobbyist, you can truly benefit from this lens. 

Bottom Line

This runner-up lens by Sigma is a prime and big lens. It has the design of bright f/1.4. The focal length is ideal for portraiture. It is well known for providing exceptional quality of the images. Given its excellent features and a reasonable cost, it is a great pick investment. 

Best for the Money:
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens


  • Perfect portraits can be produced
  • The clarity, color, and sharpness are amazing
  • User-friendly, making it a great pick for beginners 
  • The picture quality is excellent due to the sharp lens
  • Image stabilization due to optical steady shot built-in


  • It is very big to carry
  • Bulkier and heavier than most 

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent buyers rave about the excellent quality of the images. As per their reviews, the resolution of the lens is really good and provides sharp and clear pictures. The central sharpness of the three centers is outstanding. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

While there are several f/2.8 lenses out there, and some even come from big names like Nikon and Canon, this one by Sony beats them all. It has no match in sharpness, low light performance, and light transmission. Chromatic aberrations and distortions are also well controlled by it.

Who Will Use This Most 

This is one of those popular lenses that are used for weddings, portraits, events, reportage, sports, and wildlife. It is a must-have primarily because it is very versatile. Pros highly prefer it as well. Outstanding resolution is promised by the company and an attractive bokeh too. Plus, the eleven bladed circular aperture has no match. 

Bottom Line

This is, no doubt, a great pick as its potential is maximized with the assistance of phenomenal resolution power. The optical construction is of the finest class. No doubt, it is the best low light and sharpest zooming lens, ensuring that your money goes into the right product. 

Best Lens for Headshots Canon:
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 US

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed


  • The build quality is durable
  • Optical performance is very good
  • Auto focus of the lens is super-fast
  • A good option where flash can’t be used
  • Rubber hoods are very important and useful


  • Lens hood is not up to the mark 
  • Cheap and unimpressive because of plastic

What Recent Buyers Report

The recent buyers report it as the best lens because of the good optical performance it promises. This good quality is available on the market at very nominal prices that attract the buyers to invest in it. The build quality is also great. Though it looks cheap, it is very durable, as reported by customers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The longevity and optical quality of the lens at this price are amazing. You can take shots without any doubts. Despite its low cost, the working of the lens is the same for years. The optic of the lens is simply amazing. The focal length of 85 mm is offered that will help you build your career from beginner to professional.

Who Will Use This Most 

It is best for taking the most detailed portraits, especially for media coverage. It is great for live music photographers as well. It is also recommended for capturing the portraits of solo artists. Corporate headshots can also be done with it. 

Bottom Line

If you need a telephoto or zoom lens, this is a great option. It is also a good option if you do not have too much money to invest in extra expensive zoom lenses. Its optical performance is also quite impressive. If you already own a good 35 mm or 50 mm lens, then this is surely a very good selection to add in your bags.

Best Lens for Headshots Nikon:
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras


  • Manual focusing is very easy
  • Gasket also reduces the dust inside the lens
  • There is a rubber gasket to protect the lens from dust
  • Quiet automatic focus through silent wave motor (SWM)
  • Switch on the side helps in easy switching between manual and auto focus


  • It is not weather sealed
  • A bit heavier than its older versions
  • Slower auto focus than older models

What Recent Buyers Report

This prime lens of standard length with maximum aperture allows for accurate and fast shooting, even particularly in low light conditions. Buyers find it preferable for portraits. The SWM offers quiet and fast auto focus. Critical focus can be done immediately with the M/A switch. They also reported that the 9-blade diaphragm blends all the elements smoothly for producing harmonious and natural-looking backgrounds. The super integrated coating of the lens reduces flare and ghosting and also enhances the light transmission.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The VIVITAR premium has full padding for protection and durability. There is a loop hook on the belt for making sure it doesn’t leave the side when it is needed. The shoulder strap is also provided for carrying and easy accessibility. Mesh pocket is also built-in for storage of any accessories. Of course, the lens with its 9-blade diaphragm also impresses us quite a lot. 

Who Will Use This Most 

Mark this lens as a great lens for the most professional headshots. It is preferable due to its high-quality results for daily life photography, food, and portraiture. It is even ideal for low light photography due to its large aperture. It is ideal for isolating objects from the surrounding objects and backgrounds. It is also ideal for travel photography and portraits.

Bottom Line

To conclude, this lens is ideal for your travel photography and portraits. However, given its versatile nature, it can be suitable for a variety of purposes. So, if you are planning to buy some good lenses to suit your skills and career, go ahead! It is truly a perfect choice.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Before you finalize a lens, make sure to keep the following factors in mind:


The aperture of the lens is very important because it helps to get high-quality pictures. The aperture of your lens will help you in controlling the quantity of light allowed to enter in. The bigger the aperture, the more light will enter. Aperture is an important aspect because for low light photography or for headshots in dim lighting, you need to have a smaller aperture. 

Full Frame or APS-C

Many of the manufacturers offer both of these things in the cameras. So buying lenses is very confusing. If you plan to buy APS-C, then it will be light and small that will fit into the camera. If it is full-frame, it will be large and heavy. Depending on the kind of portrait you want to take, you will have to evaluate the best out of the two for yourself. 

What Will You Photograph?

The lens selection will be dependent on what topic or subject you want to photograph. After choosing your subject, consider the correct focal length. Make sure you buy a lens that actually meets your needs. 

How to Shoot Headshots

A tightly cropped picture or portrait of someone is a headshot. The head and shoulders are mainly focused. It is a bit different from portrait photography. Due to social media and profile pictures, headshots have taken a new turn. You need to consider the following steps to shoot headshots:

  1. Pre-session consultations must be done. Communication will help you understand your potential client and build rapport.

  2. Clear expectations must be set. You must tell your vision, portfolio, styles, color tones so you can tell your clients. 

  3. Discussion must be done regarding wearing clothes. What do they need to carry for an emergency? Outfits must be communicated to match the backgrounds. 

  4. Choose the backgrounds according to the needs of clients and their requirements. A wide aperture will help in your selection, even in clustered environments. 

  5. Background separation must be created to avoid the blending of the subject in the background. 

  6. Use a 50mm-85mm lens for arranging longer focal lengths. 

  7. Right apertures need to be picked for blurring the background if the shot is done outside. A smaller aperture is used for a solid background. 

  8. Make a backup plan to meet unpredictable conditions. 

  9. Lightning setup must be chosen correctly to illuminate the face evenly in headshots.


To conclude, cameras are considered to be a very important tool for photography, but the lens is also equally important. It should be paid equal attention. Therefore, to take the perfect headshots, make sure to go over our list once more to be able to pick the right lens. 

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Hi, I’m Andy. I’ve been taking pictures for just about as long as I’ve been old enough to hold a camera. I studied photography in community college after high school but was encouraged to follow a career path that was more stable. I do gigs here and there on the side but never took the leap to focus my efforts full-time. When Pam reached out to me through a mutual friend, I jumped on the opportunity to be a writer. Favorite type of photography: macro and street.