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Mirrorless lenses that are perfect for your next environmental portrait

While standard headshots on a backdrop are perfectly acceptable, something about environmental portraits screams uniqueness. With that shallow depth of field and sharp subject, no environmental portrait is the same.

In order to get the most out of your next environmental portrait session, consider a few of these mirrorless lenses below. These offer superb image quality and you’ll be able to see the value time and time again.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 — Beautiful bokeh and background separation

With so many 85mm variations for the E mount system, it’s hard to find one that fits every need. But the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 might just be the ultimate for portrait shooters, providing a creamy look to your background with some impressive bokeh. Here’s what I had to say in my review:

“I used the lens with some other environmental portraits, and it performed quite well, giving the background separation I was looking for between the subject and the scene.”

Bryan Esler

Panasonic Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 — The ultimate portrait with Micro Four Thirds

There’s nothing quite like the Leica 42.5mm f/1.2 lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Featuring an all-metal body, this lens is one of the most solid lenses I’ve used in recent memory. But outside of that, it’s the perfect portrait lens for Micro Four Thirds shooters. Its optics are simply unmatched. Here’s what Levi Sim had to say in his review:

“One major reason to buy a lens with a big aperture like f/1.2 is to get the terrific bokeh associated with it, and it is very nice on this lens. That out-of-focus-ness really helps eliminate background distractions, as in this portrait below I made in a crowded room the other day. Besides the bokeh, however, a fast lens also supercharges the camera’s autofocus ability because it’s bright and makes it easier for the camera to see and focus properly.”

Levi Sim

Sony 50mm f/1.2 — The character screams!

Prior to the 50mm f/1.2, Sony had long been critiqued for its lack of character in its lenses. But the 50mm f/1.2 proves the naysayers wrong, and then some. With fast autofocus, unmatched sharpness and a beautiful bokeh and background separation look, the Sony 50mm f/1.2 is in a league of its own. Here’s what I had to say in my review:

“The Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM is a beauty. It’s small and lightweight, but offers the performance of something double its size. First and foremost, the bokeh and background blur is absolutely gorgeous. At f/1.2 and even f/2.8, it makes your subjects stand out in ways that few lenses can.”

Bryan Esler

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 — Worthy of the red ring

While great for portraits, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 lens is also a stunner for weddings and other events. You’ll get amazing optics, with some nice background separation and attractive bokeh. Here’s what Brett Day had to say in his review:

“The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM is a premium lens with a premium price but you get top-drawer optics and results. Yes, the lens is rather bulky and heavy. It’s also not the fastest autofocusing lens I’ve ever used. However, the image quality, aside from a few issues with fringing and vignetting, is superb.”

Brett Day

Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 — Unmatched optics for medium format

While not exactly a lightweight lens, the Fujifilm 110mm f/2 for medium format is unlike any other portrait lens you’ll use. Your subject pops off the screen like none other, and the background is creamy, with a beautiful bokeh look. Here’s what Darren Miles had to say in his review:

“The optical quality from the 110mm will literally take your breath away. It’s one of those magical lenses that’ll leave you wondering and wanting what you can create with it next.”

Darren Miles

Panasonic Lumix 85mm f/1.8 — Ultra sharp, with beautiful bokeh

Considered as a must-have lens for L mount users, the Lumix 85mm f/1.8 offers extreme sharpness, wonderful colors and beautiful bokeh. The lens is nearly flawless, with no chromatic aberration or flare to speak of. Here’s what Brett Day had to say in his review:

“The bokeh you can achieve with this lens from Panasonic is very impressive. Shoot wide open at f/1.8 and your backgrounds will simply melt away. This will please portrait photographers to no end.”

Brett Day