What is the best lens for family portraits?

Learn how to choose the best lens for family portrait photography to capture anyone from rambunctious toddlers to large groups.

There are several variables to consider when shooting family portraits. Between the location, size of the group, and ages of the family members, each variable will affect which lens you should choose to capture the perfect portrait.

Where is the shoot?

For indoor shoots, you’ll need a lens with a short focal length for the tight spaces. Lenses with focal lengths around 35 or 50mm will give you a wide enough shot to get everyone in without putting your back up against the wall.

For outdoor shoots, since you have more space, you can use a lens with a longer focal length — around 85 or 135mm.

How many people are in the family portrait?

Large groups require a lens with a short focal length to fit everyone in. If you’re shooting a big family, a 50 or 85mm lens will give you the wide angle you need to get everyone in the frame.

If you’re shooting family portraits with only a couple of subjects, you can use a lens with a slightly longer focal length, like an 85mm, to fill the frame without having to stand too close.

What age are the kids (if any)?

Family portraits often include kids. If there are going to be toddlers or younger children, it’s a good idea to stick with a lens that has a short focal length, like a 50 or 85mm. That will make it much easier to keep them in the frame as they run around.

If you’re shooting adults or newborns — who tend to stay still during photos — you can use a lens with a longer focal length, like 100mm or longer. You can easily fill the frame without worrying about keeping up with their movements.

Want more photography tips and tricks?

Explore how Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop can help you keep your family portraits crisp and clear, no matter which lens you choose.