Are you looking for the best portrait lens on a budget?

If you are making your way into the photography industry, chances are you are looking to get killer photos of your clients while building your business on a budget. And who can blame you? We want our clients to look their best and we don’t want to break the bank! You’re in luck, because today I am sharing with you what we think is the best portrait lens!

We are going to talk about one of my very favorite lenses, the 85mm f1.8.  Whether shooting Canon or Nikon, this lens is appealing for many reasons. It is known for its tack sharp images, creamy bokeh and gorgeous compression. And the best news? It will cost you less than $500 brand new. If you’re looking for the best portrait lens on a budget, the 85mm 1.8 truly delivers!

When I was ready to step up my portrait game, I considered the Canon 85mm 1.8 lens right away. I had seen fantastic results from other photographers, and decided this would be my next investment. I knew this lens was great. What I didn’t know was just how great. These are my top five reasons for choosing the 85mm 1.8 lens.

1. Bokeh

If you are looking for buttery smooth, creamy bokeh, look no further. I love the way this lens smooths out the background of any photo. Additionally, the compression in this lens (the appearance of the background being pulled closer to the subject) is fantastic and gives dramatic results that really make your subject pop.

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2. Color quality

Have you ever taken a set of photos and been disappointed with the quality of colors in your images once you get them off camera? You won’t find that here. One of the first things I noticed was the gorgeous colors my 85mm 1.8 lens produces. The color tones from this lens are rich and full of contrast.

best portrait lens

3. Sharpness

While there is a lot of technique that goes into creating a sharp photo, having a good lens definitely helps. The 85mm f1.8 does not disappoint. My photos with this lens are tack sharp and clear as day. If you are looking to make the jump from your “nifty-fifty” and are tired of struggling with focus and sharpness, this just might be the next lens for you!

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4. Ease of Shooting

One of the biggest draws for me with this lens is how easy it is to shoot with. It is incredibly lightweight, making it effortless to tote around on my camera for an entire session, or even multiple sessions in one day. I also love the comfortable shooting distance with this lens. When I shoot with the 85mm, I am far enough from my subject to give them enough space to feel relaxed and natural, without being so far that it’s difficult to give direction. I shoot with a full frame camera, so keep in mind that if you shoot with a crop-sensor, you will need to be further back to get your entire subject or group into the frame. If you aren’t sure what the difference is between a full frame and crop sensor camera, this article can help you!

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5. Price

And last, but certainly not least, is the price. If you’re a Nikon shooter, the Nikon 85mm 1.8G lens will cost you less than $500. And if you shoot Canon, you can find the Canon 85mm 1.8 for less than $400! That is a steal for a great portrait lens, especially when you consider the quality of images this lens delivers. I have Canon L-series lenses that cost significantly more than this one, but the 85 will never leave my bag. It’s just that good.

If you’re looking for the best portrait lens that will deliver high impact photos without gutting your bank account, take a hard look at the 85 1.8. And if you want to read why Cole loves his Nikon 85 1.8G lens, you can check out his full review here!