What are the good portrait lenses to invest in?
This is a question that is commonly asked, but in all honesty is based off of your style of shooting and the results you are looking to get. If you like something with a little zoom then maybe a simple 24-105 f/4 is a good lens, if you are looking to get better low light images but still keep the sharpness, maybe a 24-70 or even a prime lens. Below will be a list of lenses that I find great for portraits but for you to decided which is right for you...
One of my all time favorites even though its a prime...
1. 135mm f/2 L from canon
Yes it's a prime, But one of the sharper primes out there. Yes you have to be fairly far back to capture a lot of your images but the quality of the lens and image makes up for that. Also is great in low light as well, it's a great portrait lens if you have the space to move, sadly if you don't have the space it isn't worth much as an investment.
2. 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.2 (f1.4 nikon or canon, f/1.2 from canon)
Yet another prime lens but... it has a smaller focal length, which allows you to move around a bit more and still have great low light performance as well. having the extra few stops of light really has the edge in image quality too. Granted this is not a prime that you can take a group shot with unless its 10 people or less and keep quality.
3. 24-105mm f/4
A great telephoto lens for the money you spend. Scary seeing the f/4 but in all honesty its a fairly sharp lens and is great for portraits. I use this lens most of the time for portraits and love that its a great kit lens for those full frame cameras. (if you have full frame, F/4 is not a struggle for it in low light)
4. 24-70mm f/2.8
Great lens but quite expensive, Sigma does offer a wide variety of lenses for a variety of mounts. But the name brand lens that is made for your camera is probably better,
the 2.8 doesn't have as many stops as a prime lens, but is just as great in low light and image quality as most primes.
5. 70-200mm f/2.8
Yet, another great telephoto lens with a great aperture. can be tight in some areas but has great soon with great image quality as well. can shoot low light, portraits and sports super fast but still not skimp in focal range.
6. 100mm f/2.8 (macro lens)
Another fantastic prime lens, great for close detailed shots. You do have to stand fairly far back, but it's worth it's weight in gold whit image quality. The fact that it is also another great low light lens make it good for emotions in low light or the details that make an image special with the right message.
7. 35mm f/1.4
Another prime lens that is great in low light and.... it has great image quality as well. Once again kind of a tight squeeze for group shots but better than the 50mm when executing group shots. great for crop sensor cameras and even better for full frame as well.
8. 85mm f/1.8, f/1.4, or f/1.2
Not everyone can spend over $2k on lenses, thats why most camera brands create a mid range lens and a high end lens. both produce great images, both great in low light, but more designated towards portraits and head shots. with the wide aperture you can achieve great bokeh and those dreamy images you have always imagined you would take. Either way even though you also have to step back with this lens, it is a great lens no matter which one you get.