These 4, now 5, lenses make my perfect Arsenal (Updated)

This is the question I'm probably asked most as a photographer. So many times that I just decided to put it all in a blog post as to answer everyone at the same time. This is in no way a recommendation on what lens you should purchase. This is just the gear that I roll with currently.

35mm 1.4G Jamie Loyd for Spy Optics

35mm 1.4G Jamie Loyd for Spy Optics

35mm 1.4G Redemptive Cycles & Faith Skate Fundraiser

35mm 1.4G Redemptive Cycles & Faith Skate Fundraiser

35mm 1.4G GBHS Bark In The Park

35mm 1.4G GBHS Bark In The Park

Nikkor 35mm 1.4G

Many times the tools that an artist uses shapes his style. In this moment it's the other way around. Let me explain why my style pointed me towards this particular lens, and why it's become my go to lens.

1. It gets me up close- Being that its 35mm its wider than average so it pushes you to get close. I really like being close to my subjects.

2. My growing love for imperfection- This lens is a fixed focal length, (No Zooming Allowed) which has allowed me to know exactly what I can get in frame. I love the look of imperfect framing and I've always struggled getting it with a zoom lens. I know this probably sounds weird, but all of the reasons photographers love zoom lenses are the very reasons I dislike them for my lifestyle work.

3. First person shooting- I love being part of the shot. What I really mean is that I often shoot as one of the people involved in the image. You'll never really actually see me, but I definitely try to give you the sense that I am there.

I can give you much more reasons, but hey its just a lens. lol. Check it out here.

 

 

14-24mm 2.8G- Birmingham Al.

14-24mm 2.8G- Birmingham Al.

14-24mm 2.8G- Will Lochamy

14-24mm 2.8G- Will Lochamy

Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8G

This lens really needs no introduction. To say that it’s legendary is to hit it right on the mark. It is a veritable workhorse for me. For landscape photographers, it’s always a tasty lens to have.

Another tasty bit that makes this lens remarkable is how incredibly sharp it is, corner-to-corner. Wide-angle lenses –especially those with the bulbous front element that this one has– often lose some of that sharpness in the corners. At 14mm, you’ll definitely see some distortion and there will be some vignetting at that range as well, but both are easily corrected in software. If you use Lightroom, it has a built-in lens profile to correct for those.

I use this lens for music, travel, landscapes, and dynamic active lifestyle where I can get super close. The lens has an interesting vortex look to it that works great with landscapes. Dynamic action or journalistic image are great where the subject is close to the lens. This is a fantastic lens for active shots. Check it out here.

 

24-70mm 2.8G- Brittney Harrison

24-70mm 2.8G- Brittney Harrison

24-70mm 2.8G- Alexis Hegenbarth

24-70mm 2.8G- Alexis Hegenbarth

Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8G

It was announced about the same time as the 14-24mm and it is possibly the most used Nikon pro lens of today. If you go to any event or any pro shooting where there is a photographer using a Nikon camera, chances are he’ll be using this lens. It is loved in all fields of photography because it is the best all-round lens money can buy. Why so? Because it is a solid block of metal and glass that takes tack sharp pictures at wide open aperture without making compromises like dark corners . It is also unbelievably fast and in Nikon’s good tradition of high compatibility.

At 24-35mm this lens is great for lifestyle groups and tighter spaces that need to capture more environment. It works great for indoors when you are working withing a confined space. One thing to be aware of is shooting one person vertically full body, it tends to distort a little. I preferto shoot at 50mm when it comes to this type of shot. At 35mm it is great for movement and action with 2-5 people.

At 36-70mm I love this lens for lifestyle imagery with one person. At this length everything is very much like “real life”. Things feel very real to what the normal eye sees. This lens is great for portraits and one on one interaction with a subject. Lifestyle and fashion images with one subject are great for this range. Check it out here.

 

70-200mm 2.8G- Kelsey Taylor

70-200mm 2.8G- Kelsey Taylor

70-200mm 2.8G- Andrew McCain, Danielle Spencer,  Nick Daviston.

70-200mm 2.8G- Andrew McCain, Danielle Spencer,  Nick Daviston.

Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G

I can shoot moments that happen further away without being intrusive or even the subject knowing. This lens also works great for tighter portrait as it compresses the image. I also love shooting subjects in a bigger environment with it because it gives the scene a dreamy feeling. I’ll also shoot some fashion images with it to compress the background and really put the focus on the subject and clothes.This lens is the workhorse of the Nikon lineup. No lens has spent as much time on Nikon bodies – including mine – as this one, and every single one of my Nikon-shooting buddies swear by the 70-200mm. The focal length is useful for just about every kind of shooter. I typically have this one on hand for all important shoots. Check it out here.

50mm 1.4G- Hannah Godwin

50mm 1.4G- Reid Perkins wearing Free People

50mm 1.4G- Reid Perkins wearing Free People

Nikkor 50mm 1.4G

I'm not a big "depth of field" kind of photog. It's just not a big part of my creative process. Don't get me wrong, depth of field is important. it's just that an aperture of f2.8 is fine for me 90% of the time. For the other 10% I rely on this "nifty 50".

The auto focus speed on this lens is also a tad bit slower than my other lenses. That's not to say that it's "slow," just slower than what I am used to. This doesn't really become an issue unless I'm going from one focus extreme to another (i.e. closest focus to infinity) or need to follow fast action. I tried using the lens to shoot fast action, and my hit rate was decidedly down from what I normally expect with an AF-S lens. But with all that said I love the selective focus, and how it renders the out of focus elements. Backgrounds just melt away. Check it out here.