85mm, 100mm, or 135mm: Which Is Best for Your Portrait Photography?

When it comes to portrait photography, one of the most important choices you will make is the focal length you will use, both because it determines the overall look of the frame and because separate focal lengths can render your subject in drastically different ways. This great video takes a look at three of the most common focal lengths, 85mm, 100mm, and 135mm, to help you decide which is right for you. 

Coming to you from Tom Calton, this awesome video compares three common portrait photography focal lengths: 85mm, 100mm, and 135mm. All three lenses are suitable for portraits, but they each render your subject in a unique way. The wider the focal length, the more extremely differences in facial geometry will be rendered (which is generally why lenses are considered unflattering as they get very wide). On the other hand, longer lenses tend to compress and flatten features more, which is often considered flattering. That being said, one important thing to consider is the working distance. 135mm lenses can be a lot of fun, but if you are in a compact studio environment, they can be a bit hard to work with, especially if you are shooting half-length or full-length portraits. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Calton. 

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Carl Viktor's picture

It was now the first time I visited Tom Calton's YouTube channel. So, thank you for the good and useful suggestion to watch this video! It was a well thought out and well made video.
I also thought a lot about this question, which glass is the best. So I purchased Fujinon XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR for my Fujifilm X-H1. Any "problems" with the different focus lengths I compensate and fix with off-camera flashes.
PS. I gave him a thumbs up for the video.

John Nixon's picture

I’m a fan of either 65mm or 200mm myself