On Tuesday night I was having a nice chat with some blog friends (Marian, Maria, and Cathe) at Marian’s book signing in my hometown and we were discussing blogging and photography, and the consensus was a that a 50mm 1.8 lens (or the more expensive 1.4) is a great blogger tool for those desirable beauty shots.
The 50mm is a fixed focal length (or “prime”) lens with wider aperture capability (refer to this post for a more in depth explanation on aperture.) I bought my 50mm lens last December as an early Christmas present because I wanted the ability to snap pretty close-ups and to take Christmas tree bokeh pictures like this. The ones with those pretty twinkle light orbs!
This image was taken with the little bowl of ornaments 7 feet away from the tree of twinkle lights and me positioned another 4 feet away from the bowl. Camera settings with 50mm lens: f/stop 1.8, shutter speed 1/40, ISO 800.
If you don’t know how to use or change the Manual setting yet, get ready to learn how with these fabulous online videos for visual learners that I’ve mentioned before offered by Shoot Fly Shoot. Once you know how to change the aperture (or f-stop) to a wider setting, you’re all set to take great holiday bokeh shots, but it only works when you have a lens with that capability.
Kit lenses don’t go below a 3.5 f-stop, so you’ll achieve beautiful bokeh and shallow depth of field when you invest in a lens that allows you to go to a wider aperture of 2.0 or lower numerical setting. A really nice affordable version is the 50mm f/1.8, offered for both Nikon and for Canon and for less than $125.
The lens isn’t just great for those pretty orbs in the background at Christmastime, it’s perfect for all those beauty shots where you want to achieve shallow depth of field beyond your subject matter (where the background or foreground beyond your focal point is blurred).