Editor’s note: Please welcome professional Wedding Photographer and YouTuber, Sally Watson, to Steve’s Digicams. Sally’s work is so amazing we’ve contracted with Sally and partnered with Tamron Lenses USA to create this SPONSORED POST about the new Tamron 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043), offering examples and tips for shooting portraits at key portrait focal lengths. The advice contained in this piece will apply to any lens, naturally, but please know our praise for the new Tamron 35-150mm is genuine. It’s an affordable and high-quality zoom lens for shooting portraits, and worth considering for any Nikon or Canon shooter.
With all of the prime lens options on the market, it can be hard to choose the best focal length for your work. From fashion portraiture to wildlife photography, photographers around the world are always researching the latest and greatest technology when it comes to lenses. From the versatility of zoom lenses to the stunning beauty that comes with a prime lens, there are truly a vast amount of choices.
What if I told you that you could have all the picture-perfect portrait focal lengths in one lens without sacrificing wide aperture?
Tamron has created the 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Model A043) stabilized lens, a well-made zoom lens with incredible image quality and the capability to shoot every great focal length photographers require for portraiture.
| Manual | 95mm | F3.5 | 1/250 | ISO 320 |
Photographers desire and demand image quality and the Tamron 35-150mm delivers. Its sharpness, contrast, and ability to create beautifully compressed images make it an all-in-one dream lens. Check out this crop of the above image:
Portrait photographers often require shooting at low apertures to blur their backgrounds and create beautiful bokeh. I believe Tamron had this in mind when creating this lens. Every captured shot is not only incredibly sharp, but also renders beautiful bokeh, which is surprising for a lens that costs less than $800.
| Manual | 150mm | F4 | 1/640 | ISO 200 |
Quite often, affordable lenses have bokeh that is distracting with harsh tones. But the Tamron 35-150mm, as you can see above, produces soft-looking bokeh that is undeniably pleasing.
Whenever I encounter a photographer coming into the industry, one of the first questions I get asked is, “what the perfect focal length is for portrait photographers?” I always say that it depends on what kind of portraiture you choose to shoot. The remarkable thing about the Tamron 35-150mm is its incredible versatility. In other words, you never need to compromise which length is the best because you have them all in the palm of your hand!
The Tamron 35-150mm begins at 35mm, a perfect focal length for portrait photographers who want a little flexibility. Why? Because it’s the widest angle you can shoot close to a subject without distortion. And it’s great for surrounding your subject with beautiful scenery.
- Extra tip: make sure your subject sticks out from the background in wider shots because you have less compression at 35mm
| Manual | 35mm | F2.8 | 1/800 | ISO 200 |
The 50mm focal length has long been an ideal portrait focal length because you’re still relatively wide and can include more stunning surroundings, but also because you’re getting more compression and shallower depth-of-field than with 35mm. 50mm is always a go-to for me when shooting weddings because of this very reason. I absolutely love all that 50mm has to offer.
- Extra tip: use 50mm on the Tamron 35-150mm to take full body shots while isolating your subject from a distant background. A field with tall grass or flowers is perfect for this!
| Manual | 50mm | F3.2 | 1/800 | ISO 200 |
| Manual | 50mm | F3.2 | 1/800 | ISO 200 |
85mm, the bread-and-butter of portrait photography. Photographers gravitate to the magnificence of the 85mm focal length because it typically blends beautiful lens compression and subject sharpness. If you try nothing else as a photographer, set the Tarmon 35-150mm to 85mm and you’ll be set and ready to go. As you can see from the below images, this lens is amazing.
- Extra tip: if your camera doesn’t have Eye-AutoFocus, make sure to set your focal point on your subject’s eye
| Manual | 85mm | F3.5 | 1/125 | ISO 100 |
| Manual | 85mm | F3.5 | 1/800 | ISO 200 |
| Manual | 85mm | F3.5 | 1/400 | ISO 200 |
Some folks don’t like shooting portraits at higher focal lengths, but I love to have them in my arsenal. The longer the focal length, the further you can be away from your subject, which happens to be amazing for wildlife photographers and photographers that need the length for beautiful subject compression for ad campaigns. 105mm is definitely one of my favorite focal lengths on the Tamron 35-150mm because of the way it makes your subject pop from a beautifully compressed background.
- Extra tip: unless you’re trying to incorporate or juxtapose your background, try to make your subject fill the whole frame.
| Manual | 105mm | F4 | 1/400 | ISO 200 |
| Manual | 105mm | F4 | 1/640 | ISO 200 |
135mm has become the hot new focal length for prime lenses, and it’s no different in the Tamron 35-150mm. If you thought the bokeh and background compression were creamy at 105mm, 135mm is even more beautiful and somewhat dreamlike. Anytime I get to shoot portraits outside, 135mm is my go-to longer focal length as it’s a nice compromise between 105mm and 150mm.
- Extra tip: try shooting with soft backlighting (closer to sunset), which creates a halo effect around your subject’s hair.
| Manual | 135mm | F4 | 1/640 | ISO 200 |
| Manual | 135mm | F4 | 1/400 | ISO 200 |
150mm, the lesser-known option for a portrait focal length. Because there are actually very few options when it comes to purchasing a 150mm prime lens, I am so glad Tamron added this focal length to this zoom. 150mm is for when you want to get as tight as possible to your subject. No context. No background. Just you and your subject. As for the results? I absolutely love and adore every single image created at this length. The’s an elegance to the contrast, sharpness, and compression that similar to the Tamron 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens.
- Extra tip: at 150mm, you’ll be so far away from your subject, don’t forget to communicate with them as you set up your framing.
| Manual | 150mm | F4 | 1/800 | ISO 100 |
| Manual | 150mm | F4 | 1/500 | ISO 100 |
The Tamron 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD offers much more than focal length versatility. It boasts impeccable design, beautiful image quality, creamy bokeh and you can use it with both Nikon and Canon’s full-frame and APS-C camera bodies. This is an incredible feat for a zoom lens to blend this much performance and quality for such a low and reasonable price. Looking at the image above created for this piece, the Tamron 35-150mm quickly became a favorite lens of mine, and I plan to shoot with it for a long, long time!