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It’s All About That Lens

A very important piece to your photography puzzle is the camera lens. There are many options out there, and the lens you use really depends on the features and what you are photographing. This ‘puzzle piece’ can be a confusing and intimidating one if you don’t have the right resource. 

Does this sound familiar? When I got my camera,  I had high expectations  thought, like many, that you would hand me this camera and I would be seeked out to photograph the royal wedding. Even as I started to research and learn more about my camera settings, I felt like something was missing. My pictures were nothing like I expected, and I almost gave up. That was until a friend told me about different lens options, and thus began my love affair with my Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras.

My goal is to raise your awareness for the different camera lenses I have had experience with in hopes you don’t fall into the photography depression that I did. 

Before I talk about the three lenses it is important to understand what the ‘numbers’ and ‘letters’ mean tagged onto the description. The numbers refer to the zoom- it is actually the physical measurement of the focal length (the lower the number, the wider the lens and more we see when taking pictures). So to put it in perspective, if you use a 100 mm lens, it will make things look twice as close as a 50 mm lens. As far at the ‘letters’, I always recommend to stick with AF (auto-focus).

If you don’t understand your camera settings, learn them in these 3 easy to read modules:

My first crush: 18-55mm lens

My 18-55mm lens was the lens I used because it came with my camera. It is great starter lens and is pretty versatile. It was a reliable easy to use lens, but I became bored with is rather quickly.


  • Cost– it came with the camera (essentially free)
  • Zoom– you could easily zoom in and out by twisting the lens
  • Ease of use– it was easy to get used to, especially because of the various ‘zoom’ options


  • Aperture issues– I did not find it worked great in low light or had the depth of field I wanted
  • Not for far distance pictures- ’55 mm’ is not really that much of a zoom

I got a few lucky shots with my original lens, but the majority didn’t seem much different than cellphone pictures to me (see picture below). Something was missing in my relationship with my Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-P DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens – (Certified Refurbished)

My Soulmate: 50 mm lens

Then it happened one day. Someone introduced me to my [photography] soulmate, my 50 mm lens. This lens changed the game for me. 

A 50 mm lens is sometimes referred to as a “normal” lens, because it most closely mimics the way your eyes see the world. Since it is FIXED (doesn’t zoom in or out) as 50 mm, it basically perfects what it does.


  • Cost- I read that some good lenses could cost as much as a camera. I got this lens for ~$200 (christmas present!)
  • Photos in low light– are AMAZE-ING. The room will be practically dark and you can get the shot you want
  • Depth of field-  is phenomenal. Your pictures will have those super creamy backgrounds you hoped they would have when you bought this camera in the first place!


  • No zoom– two things here. First, you have to learn to walk closer OR farther from your subject instead of just twisting the lens.
  • 50 mm is slightly close– so if I am in a room with a lot of people close by who want a picture sometimes my back is to the wall trying to fit everyone in!
  • Not ideal for landscape/distance shots– it does the trick most of the time, but taking pictures of my son running on the soccer field was sometimes difficult. 

If you are in the market for a new lens, or want to take the next step in your photography journey- the 50 mm auto-focus lens (in Nikon OR canon) is non-negotiable.  I absolutely love this lens and what it does for my portraits. I have people ask me constantly what camera/lens I use. I use it for 99% of my pictures. Check out the reviews for yourself!

My Long Distance Love: 70-300 mm Lens

Although my 50 mm lens works for 99.5% of my pictures, there were times that I had thoughts about trying something new. When I was photographing my kids playing sports, or anything farther than a portrait distance I was missing something. That’s when I got my new toy – my Nikon 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras.

Save up to 40% off retail at KEH Camera!

With this lens I can zoom in and get clear action shots of subjects from a distance. Although I only use this lens in certain situations, let me tell you- it is fun! My kids love that I can get close up shots of the woodland animals in our backyard. The below picture on our left shows the trees in our backyard. The picture on the right is of a falcon sitting on top of those trees. You can really see the full zoom potential here. 


  • Great for distance- clearly!
  • Great for outdoors- works great for sports and nature shots
  • Cost- If you shop around you can find a great deal!


  • Not a day-to-day lens– this lens will not work good for most indoor shots or daily portraits due to zoom

If you have a purpose for a zoom lens (sports, nature, etc), then you won’t be disappointed! I have the Tamron Auto Focus 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens with Built In Motor for Nikon Digital SLR (Model A17NII), which was super affordable (around $100) and got great reviews. Check it out if you are in the market for a zoom lens!


Depending on what you are using your camera for, there are many different options on the market. If you are using your camera for day to day portraits, I can’t stress enough how amazing the 50 mm lens is! {big time heart eyes!}. It will change your life! If there is a different type of lens you use comment below. I’d love to hear about it!

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Complete Guide to DIY Newborn Pictures -

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

[…] Just remember- NEVER, I mean N.E.V.E.R. use your DSLR’s built-in flash. It will flatten the image, dull the color, and give eye-sore shadows. Check out my post on flashes for how to use it properly. Also, if you really want to up your portrait game, and do not have a 50 mm lens, check out “It’s all about that lens” for details on the lens I use 99.9% of the time! […]

Sandra Phelos

Saturday 13th of October 2018

Renee I really enjoy reading your blog ! It makes me laugh , cry and learn all at once . You truly have a talent for creativity and writing and getting your message across in an interesting format!

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