I’m glad the camera body post helped so many people!  Someone made a comment and said that if you can’t take good pictures with an inexpensive camera body then you will not be able to take good pictures with an expensive camera body.  That is so true!  The camera doesn’t make the photographer.  The photographer makes the camera.  When I was still shooting with my Rebel I got a few snide comments from “real” photographers with expensive camera bodies.  The funny thing was, when I saw their pictures, mine were a ton better!  Yes, more expensive camera bodies do have advantages, but if you’re just a Mom*tog a Rebel will be perfect for you!

Okay, onto lenses.  I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again.  Rent a few lenses to see what you really like before buying.  I love prime lenses (lenses that don’t zoom in and out), but they do take a lot of getting used to.  Borrow Lenses is a great place to rent from if you don’t have a local store that rents lenses.  And if you’ve read my previous posts on lenses you’ll know that I HATE third party lenses.  Yes, they’re cheaper in the short term, but you will end up getting frustrated with them and will eventually buy a more expensive lens.  Just save the money and buy the Canon or Nikon lens to begin with.  Here are  few lenses that I would recommend for you Mom*togs out there.

Cheap(er) Lenses

50 1.8 – Super affordable at only $114, this lens will allow you to stop down to get great pictures in low light.  But remember, this is a prime lens so you’ll have to get used to zooming with your feet.  The 50 1.8 was my very first prime lens and I hated it at first.  It took a lot of getting used to, but I now use prime lenses about 90% of the time while shooting.

85 1.8 – This lens is a little more expensive at $380, but I actually use this lens pretty often.  It’s a great quality lens and if you are the type of person who likes to be a little farther away from your subjects this lens is great.

28 1.8 – A great wider prime lens.  I’ve had this lens for quite some time and it’s my second most used prime lens. $440

50 1.4 – This lens is better quality than the 50 1.8.  I’ve never actually used it, but i would think it would be in between the quality of the 50 1.8 and the 50 1.2.  If it is then I would say that’s a great quality lens for the price.


24 – 70 2.8 – This would be my number one lens for a Mom*tog to have.  It’s the Canon L series, which means it’s the best glass they make.  It zooms so you have the flexibility to be a litter further away.  And it’s wide enough to where you can be pretty close.  It stops down to 2.8, which is pretty darn good.  It’s just a great all around lens.  But, it’s an investment at $1190.  This was the first lens I invested in and I still have it (and use it) to this day.

50 1.2 – My favorite lens of all time!  It’s what I take about 99% of the pictures on Mom*tog with.  The quality of this lens is exceptional.  And you pay for it at $1400 :)

Yes, these are only a few of the very many lenses that are available.  But, these are the lenses that I have experience with and that have worked for me.  I honestly wouldn’t recommend anything with an aperture over 2.8.  You will not be able to get good images in low light and you won’t get that “blurry background” look that everyone is always emailing me about.

No answer is going to be the right answer for everyone.  Do your research and RENT lenses to see what works best for YOU!


  1. Rachael says

    I bought (and saved for) the nikkor 24-70mm f2.8.I LOVE this lens and haven’t taken it off my camera since it got to my house. It is an AWESOME camera, especially for chasing little kids.

    Good idea about renting lenses…I’ll have to do that when I get ready to buy my super duper wide lens ;)

    Rachael’s last blog post..The Rehearsal Dinner!

  2. Danielle says

    Could you explain why prime lenses are better than zoom? From my research it seems they shoot better in low light. Is that the main difference in quality?

    Danielle’s last blog post..Knoebles Fun

  3. Jenny Lynn says

    Thank you so much! Yesterday and today have been soooo helpful! I have been saving for a camera for the last few months and I’m hoping to buy my camera and lens next month. This was so helpful in figuring out what will be right for me.

    Jenny Lynn’s last blog post..ahhh.

  4. great post. another great source for renting….http://www.lensrentals.com . i’ve had great luck with them.

    couldn’t agree more about the 24-70 and 50 1.2. they are both awesome. 24-70 is my go to wedding lens. one of my new favorite lenses is the 35 1.4 — i’ve had much better luck on the focusing front with this one (as opposed to the 50 1.2). currently back-ordered at B&H.

    pick your poison as they say :)

  5. Michelle says

    Thank you Thank you Thank you! I have been wondering forever what type of lenses to get and now I have a list. I can’t wait to go rent a few of these and figure out which one works best for me.

  6. Eden says

    I rented the 24-70 and loved it! I just ordered it from B&H last week and it should be coming anytime!

    Eden’s last blog post..My Friends

  7. Tracy says

    You are amazing to keep posting while in the midst of a move! If you shoot a larger portrait – more people – do you use your 24 – 70 and just use a smaller aperature? For instance in wedding group shots?

    Tracy’s last blog post..Canvas

  8. Catharine says

    I can’t believe that it took me so long to finally invest in a prime lens. I always thought zoom was the way to go. I just recently got the 85mm 1.8 and the 50 1.4 and so far so good!

    Catharine’s last blog post..Welcome!

  9. Elizabeth says

    I just got the 50 1.8 lens and I’m really pleased with it. If I had to do over I would’ve just bought my camera body and then bought the lenses separate. Great post, Drew!

  10. Sivyu says

    I love your blog! Thanks for the tips Drew! But I have a Tokina 10-17mm and it’s the best rated super wide angle lens better than the Canon 10-20.

  11. Tonya says

    I took your advice months ago and ended renting my beloved 50mm 1.4 for a week. I highly rec doing this for more that just a few days. A week was well worth the money to explore. I also learned what bohek means with this lens. It’s awesome for those close up of your kiddos faces and ideal for taking pics of infants. I have gotten the best advice here from lighting, homemade backdrops, lens and computer set ups. Keep up this great blog, I’m so glad I found you!

  12. I have the 50 1.4 and LOVE it! I use it around the house for photos of my lil girl and on photoshoots with clients. I want to rent the 24-70 and maybe I can save up for it :)

    misty smith’s last blog post..Whitney & Trent

  13. Hello. 2 quick questions. I know you are a super busy gal so I appreciate this if you get the time. I am going to buy an lens today. I keep telling myself I am and so, I am. My question is for sports or events that I am not close to my subject (my girls) do you a suggestion on what lens to buy? I have a canon rebel xsi. and my other is: you suggested a p&s camera in a previous post, the link is gone, which p&s are you wanting :O)
    Thanks again.

    Kristy Murphy’s last blog post..A Dream of Mine came True

  14. Kelly says

    So glad to hear you love the 24-70 so much. I took your advice and rented from borrowlenses.com and this lens came in the mail for me today! It’s much heavier than I’m used to, but I’m stoked to try it out! Thank you for being so open with your wisdom and advice :)

    Kelly’s last blog post..THE ERRICKSON’S

  15. Kim says

    I just wanted to say that I have the Canon Rebel and I use my 50 mm 1.8 99.9% of the time and I think my images turn out pretty good. One of these days I will upgrade!! Love your website!

    Kim’s last blog post..The Williams’

  16. Tonya says

    Which lens would you recommend for taking group photos or family photos. I was thinking about the 85 1.8 but then I need to use it for indoor studio purposes. I’m totally at lost. I would use my 50mm for everything if I could but I’m struggling with group shots of kids and families…it’s driving me crazy!!!!!! Which lens to you use for inside group shots?

  17. admin says

    Tonya – I have no idea how big your studio is or what your setup. I don’t have a studio and don’t do inside group shots. I don’t think you can go wrong with one or the other. The great thing about prime lenses is that you can zoom with your feet.

  18. Tonya says

    So my indoor studio is basically…my bedroom. I guess my question should be does the 85 mm allow you to take a group photo say standing 5-7 feet away from your subjects. The problem I am having is getting my 50mm to focus in on all my subjects. I tried bumpin up the f stop but it’s just so tricky. Doesn’t focus like my other 18-55mm lens does where all subjects light up with the red dot (sorry for my lack of technical jargon) What lens do you use for your group shots? Any advice helps. Thanks so much.

  19. Tonya says

    So I broke down and bought the 24-70. Can’t wait to use it! Thanks for sharing your passion and knowledge with us mommies! YOU SiMPLY RoCK!

  20. Sara Rose says

    I have much the same question as Tonya does. I have a hard time getting all my subjects in focus when I have a large group. What would you recommend?

  21. Angela says

    Great post! Thanks for breaking it down!

  22. Chelle says

    Thank you SO much for this post! I am dying a little to get my hands on a 24-70…it’s on my dream list for my husband to buy me one of these days.

    I can’t tell you enough how much I adore you, your blog and your knowledge–thank you SO much! xo
    .-= Chelle´s last blog ..Summertime…And the Livin’s Easy…. =-.

  23. DAISY MAI says

    Looking for a wide angle lens for nikon d90! ON A BUDGET! what is my best choice :)

  24. admin says

    No idea :) I shoot Canon. Sorry!

  25. Lisa Glowacka says

    Hi! I just found your blog about an hour ago and spent a lot of time on your photography site! LOVE YOUR PHOTOS! Hmmm maybe you’ll be available next summer while we are in Huntington on our family vacation.
    Anyhoo-I just got my first SLR camera T1i and I LOOOOVVVEE IT! I got the 50 1.8 on a recommendation for the gal who takes our family photos every year and I love that too : ) Anyway-saw the link for borrow lenses and I’m thinking of borrowing a lens for the holidays (christmas mainly) any recommendations or will my lens suffice? I have a fast moving 5 yr old, 4 year old and 9 month old :0)

    Thank you!

  26. I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to explain photography in terms we can understand. I have been into photography for years starting out by working in the lab and developing my own pictures in high school. Last year I started my own photography business and it has been going very well. I got my Canon 50D for a college graduation present and now ready to invest in a prime lens and learn how to take the camera of manual. I just wanted to say thanks again your blog and knowledge has helped me more than you know! Greetings from Oklahoma!

    Allison Benton
    Allison Benton´s last blog post ..Katie and Jacob

  27. ann marie says

    Hi Drew!

    I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. You take amazing pictures!

    This blog was written almost 2 years ago…do u still recommend the same lenses? I’m thinking about purchasing my first DSLR. Maybe the T2i or T3i and just wanted to know what lenses you recommend. I am wanting to take pictures of my 1 year old.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Ann Marie

  28. DrewB says

    Hi Ann Marie! Yep! I still recommend the same lenses :)

  29. Lisa G says

    Drew-any suggestions for a good starter zoom lens? I didn’t get the kit lens with my T1i and got the 50 1.8-but I need a zoom! Wondering if I should just get the kit lens or if there is a one up from that I should consider.


  30. Stacy says

    I’m sorry if this is a dumb question, but can you buy any brand of a lens and put them it your camera? I have an Olympus that they don’t make any longer, so its difficult to find new lenses. Could I buy one from another brand and would it work on my camera?
    Stacy´s last blog post ..Review: Harbor Town – Monroe Mi

  31. Catherine says

    Great post and a great blog! I had never thought about renting lenses. Thanks for the advice. For $107, my prime 50mm 1.8 lens is the best money I’ve ever spent. I chuckled at your comment about ‘real’ photogs scoffing at the Rebel. It works for me and didn’t cost more than my first car.
    Catherine´s last blog post ..Through the looking glass – my attempt at understanding lenses

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