Q: What's the first lens I should buy?
The very first lens that I bought? I shipped it on its merry little way to Adorama's used department years ago. I remember looking at lenses the summer after high school and wondering, how could they charge more for a fixed lens?
*Fixed lens: fancy term for a lens that doesn't zoom.
Your lens needs will be different based on what you photograph: real estate, food, weddings, seniors, newborns, your own kiddos, etc. But I think there is a go-to lens that works for each situation (aside from sports photography)! That lens?
I think it's so versatile that it is the perfect "first lens" for you regardless of what you specialize in. If you can't afford the L series glass, try out the Canon 50 1.4.
Related: What's in my digital bag
3 tips for buying a lens
Rent before you buy!
When I was still adding to my camera bag, I liked working with Borrowed Lenses! I don't suggest going into debt for a lens, so if you need something that you can't afford, create a budget to rent that lens!
Understand your style!
Everyone has a different vision! If you have to just pick one lens, go with one that will let you get close to your subject/object and shoot from a distance without distortion.
A wedding photographer that specializes in small chapel weddings would also like the Canon 35 1.4 because they would have more room to move around!
Think about variety!
When you're adding lenses to your collection, consider what would add something new + fresh to your final gallery!
I am not a fan of buying all the gear just because you can! Pick the lenses that are a must for you as an artist. If you think you're missing something, rent it to be sure it belongs in your gear family. We like to keep it simple: 50, 85, 100 macro, and the 70-200 zoom.
Related: The lenses I Use and How I Use Them