85mm vs 50mm with unedited photos

Are you ready for a little battle of the lenses? Today it’s the 85mm vs 50mm.

I’m sharing my unedited photos from each of these lenses so we can see which one is better.

Okay, okay… it’s not that one lens is better than the other, but each lens has it’s own advantages.

One lens is faster than the other.

One lens is more versatile.

One lens has the creamiest bokeh of your life.

Which one will be your new favorite lens? You know… besides those amazing wide angle lenses that we’ve yet to chat about.

Next week, I’ll be editing these photos for you! But first, I’ve got a video and a side-by-side look for ya. Are you ready to see which lens takes the cake?

Let’s do this…

85mm vs 50mm lens comparison.jpg

New behind the scenes + posing video

I’m taking you behind the scenes in today’s video! I’m sharing a bit of my posing and also the mood board that we put together for this shoot.

The colors in the mood board are… weird. Oh — ahem — I think the correct way to say it is “unexpected.” The colors in the mood board are unexpected.

Definitely not what I would have chosen when I’m dreaming up a light and airy shoot. Haha! But it works. There’s science behind color theory and it just works.

Click play to see the colors in action and decide for yourself… do you think they work together in the images?

Oh! Don’t forget your free light and airy preset. I just updated it to include a bit more on the color side. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

Advantages of the 85mm

1. Creamy, creamy bokeh

Love that dreamy blur that seems to turn into buttery goodness with the 85mm.

Even when you’re shooting at a wide aperture — which just means a smaller aperture number like 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.0 — you’re going to get more bokeh with the 85 than you are with the 50.

You can still get great depth of field with the 50, but as far as creamy bokeh goes, nothing tops the 85mm.

85mm vs 50mm lens with unedited photos
85mm vs 50mm lens with unedited photos

2. You might be more intentional with this lens

The 85mm lens takes a lot longer to focus than any other lens that I’ve worked with. Because of this, it forces you to slow down and get intentional.

Family portraits? If you can put enough space between you and your subjects, this lens is beautiful for portraits. Pair this look with something like the 24mm and you’re going to have quite the gallery.

Related post: How to plan a styled shoot

Never use this lens for shots where a bride is walking down the aisle unless it’s a long walk and the path is very well lit. Since it’s not as fast, you can easily miss a shot if someone is walking toward you.

This lens really gets the creative juices flowing for me. It forces me to take things slower, plan the entire scene and look for details I may miss otherwise.

3. It’s the perfect second shooter lens

Buy the 85 lens and let your second shooter use it. It let’s you get close without having to get really, really close to the subject. Makes it perfect for your 2nd photographer.

Advantages of the 50mm lens

1.closer to how we actually see

Studies have found that the human eye sees right around the 43mm mark. That lands it right smack dab between the 35mm and the 50mm (source).

The 50mm is closer to how we see in real life.

2. versatile

You can use this lens at a wedding, newborn shoot, for real estate, landscapes, long exposures, newborn photography — everything.

It may not be your best lens for underwater excursions photographing great white sharks (unless you plan on getting up close and personal) but otherwise, it’s going to be a great fit in almost any situation!

85mm vs 50mm lens with unedited photos - 6.jpg

I made a light and airy preset for all of my blog readers and YouTube subscribers. If you’re ready for some basic light and airy settings so you can get started, click below and tell me where to send your free preset!

3. The very first lens you should buy

Because it’s so versatile, this is my top pick for new photographers who are looking for their first lens.

If you haven’t added the 50 to your lineup, it’s a good one to have.

Related Post: First lens for new photogs

4. It feels a little more real

The images that come out of the 50mm feel a little more… authentic. Real life. Genuine. The images feel a little more tangible and with gen Z on the rise, wider lenses are going to be good to have in your bag.

Wide lenses are just plain better at communicating emotion.

I love a good 85mm shot.

But there’s nothing like looking at an image and feeling like you’re right there. Don’t stop shooting those dreamy 85mm photos, but try adding a wide shot in to your instagram feed or your online portfolio to grab the attention of Generation Z.

Related Post: Lightroom to instagram export settings

Light and airy photo tip

You can use any color for the light and airy look.

I love a good olive color, but it can be challenging with the late fall colors.

It was supposed to be overcast, cold and rainy the day of our shoot. Here in the midwest, that’s also known as code for brown.

Very brown.

So I put color theory to work, came up with a few different colors that compliment each other and had some colors we could pull in.

color theory for photography
85mm vs 50mm lens with unedited photos

I texted it over to Jenna and told her that it’d be great to incorporate any of the colors in the mood board (above) into the shoot.

She found a dusty red — is that a thing? — sweater, some red boots and blue jeans. When you first look at the mood board, it might not feel like you have much of a light and airy look but when you pair it with some light and airy light, it all pulls together.

85mm vs 50mm lens comparison

Love pinterest?

You and me both! Create a new board called “Photo Tips” and pin this image.

50mm vs 85mm — unedited photo

Come back next week and I’ll show you my exact step-by-step process for editing these photos!

We’ll talk crop, color and tack-sharp editing without overdoing it!

What do you think this underexposed photo is going to end up looking like?

If you look at her back, you can see some yellow reflections. 😳

Umm… Jordan, aren’t you always saying to never shoot under a tree? With color reflections? And away from the brightest part of the sky?

Why yes, yes I am. 😂

Let’s edit this tricky photo together, shall we?

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