There are several types of portrait or people photography which may range from close up head shots to full body shots and groups of people, this will require a range of lenses from longish telephoto lenses, ranging through to wide angle lenses. So what is the best nikon lens for portrait photography?

We will discuss this under the main headings below. Bear in mind that there is a difference between DX cameras and FX cameras in respect to the focal length of lens required, due to the lens crop factor. I will quote focal length ranges and generally DX cameras would require the lower end of the range and FX cameras the higher end of the range.

Groups of People

A lens suitable for groups of people would generally be in the range from 24-50mm. Generally groups of people will require an aperture in the range f/5.6 to f/8, to ensure that there is sufficient depth of field to get everyone in focus. With groups of people it is essential that everyone is in focus.

Full Body Shots

For full single body images, a lens of around 35-50mm may work well. A suitable aperture would be  f/4 to  f/5.6 to ensure that all of the subject is in focus.

Upper Body and Head Shots

Generally for upper body and head images a lens of between 50 to 105mm would be useful and apertures of f/2.8 to f/4 would ensure that all is in focus.

Close Up Head Shots

Close up images generally require a lens between 85-135mm and apertures of between f/1.4 and f/4. Remember that low apertures of around f/1.4 will give a very narrow depth of field, so be very careful with the focussing.

Partial Head Shots

With a longer lens of between 150 to 200mm partial head shots can be obtained, but again remember that depth of field will be very limited at low apertures of f/1.4.

Summary

Some additional tips with people photography, is to use a tripod and also a remote release where possible, this will ensure accurate framing of the image and and ensure that there is no movement of the camera. Also remember that a low aperture will throw the background out of focus and help to concentrate the interest on the main subject of the image.
Full details of the range of focal length of lenses available is given in the Nikon Lens Reviews section of our site.
I hope the above discussion has clarified the best nikkor lenses for portrait photography, as it is not only about the best lens size for portraits, but a big impact on your images is also the  best aperture to be used.
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