Choosing the Right Lens for the Job

How do you choose the right lens for a photography job? As someone beginning their career in photography, choosing the right lens for a job is half the job of getting the right shots. You must still set up the shot, dial the right exposure settings considering the lighting, and compose and post-process your images. But the lens holds the key. The lens is where the magic happens. In this discussion, we’ll talk about the right lens for the job.

Understanding your photography needs is the first step. If you’re shooting bird photography, you need a telephoto lens. You can’t make do with any other lens or contraption. You can use a 70-200 or a 300mm prime compatible with a teleconverter and increase the focal length to get closer to the subject. The result is the same. An effectively long focal length lens.

Aperture is the next important aspect that you should consider. Sometimes you need a wide-open aperture to work with. Especially when shooting portrait photography. This is so you can exploit the lens’s ability to capture a nice background blur. However, remember that a lens’s ability to capture a beautiful background blur will also depend on other aspects. Chiefly on the number and shape of the aperture blades.

But more than anything else, a wide-open aperture lets you capture much light. This can come in handy when shooting in low-light conditions. We can take the example of bird photography here again. Birds are often perched in branches amidst thick foliage. To capture a well-exposed photograph, you must ensure the lens you’re shooting has a wide-open aperture.

Image stabilization is another important consideration you must keep in mind. Image stabilization is a feature that assists in hand-held photography. Image stabilization helps by stabilizing the image coming through the sensor (lens-based image stabilization) or after it has reached the camera (sensor-based or in-body image stabilization). This prevents shaky or blurry images when your hands move precisely when you press the shutter release button.

Build quality and weather sealing is another critical parameter when shooting. This is particularly important for landscape and nature photographers. These photographers are constantly exposed to the elements. They routinely expose their gear to rain, snow, dust, heat, and cold. It becomes imperative that their gear can withstand all of that and still deliver high-quality performance every time. Weather sealing, thus, is a must-have requirement for these photographers. They should look for lenses rated explicitly as having a weather-sealed construction.