Portrait photography can be a challenge, any good photographer can tell you that much, and we recently had a chance to test out the perfect portrait lens while shooting street style photos at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and at Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal on the Canon EF 50mm 1-1.4 lens.
Unlike other macro photography, you only have a few moments to snap the perfect style photo before your subject blushes and runs away, so it can be tough to get that fine tuned shot if you’re too rushed. Unlike other lenses with zoom I’ve used in past to shoot street style, this one had a range of 50mm, which meant I had to be quite a bit far back from my subject to capture them head to toe. This created a nice organic energy in most photos, and made the subject feel comfortable to stand naturally, making for wonderfully crisp shots with movement once I got the hang of the full time manual focus.
While the EF 50mm 1-1.4 lens is considered to be one of Canon’s least expensive with half metal and plastic construction, it delivered photos you’d expect from a professional level lens. Probably our favourite example of this striking quality the lens achieved is seen in the top photo of Becky from the UK band Rudimental, shot at the perfectly breezy moment at Osheaga.
In addition to the speedy auto focus, the full manual focus ring on the front end of the lens proved especially useful when capturing outfit details, seen below, perfectly blurring out the background to highlight an element or close up subject.
We of course had the sun to contend with at both festivals, especially Pitchfork in Chicago which provided all kinds of interesting speckles of light to provide interest in a shot or highlight the subject.
If you’re building up your collection of lenses, the affordable EF 50mm 1-1.4 is really the perfect go-to lens for everyday use, we wouldn’t leave home without it.
Take a look at some of our favourite photos captured using it below. Also check out our full set of style shots from Pitchfork Music Festival here and Osheaga Music Festival here.