Portrait photography kit

Longer lenses and wide apertures are the name of the game here. This isn't a rule, but it's usually the most flattering equipment when shooting portraits of people. Primes provide the best image quality (usually) and have the widest apertures (again usually), making a super soft background with a beautifully separated subject, so we'll be including at least one in each of these gear suggestions. Dx camera bodies will give a greater depth of field (more stuff in focus) and a different crop factor, so they aren't always best for portrait photography. You'll see that I only recommend a Dx for the budget option for this reason. Check out the Wildcard recommendation at the bottom of the page.

Budget portrait kit

For those who want to dabble in portrait photography without spending too much money. 

  • Nikon D5000 - Used, Around £85
  • Nikon 50mm 1.8G AF-s - Brand new, Around £169 (there is a cheaper 50mm 1.8D version but it can't autofocus on the Nikon D5000 series bodies)


'Semi pro' portrait kit

I didn't know exactly what to call this kit, so it's named semi pro. It's more expensive and versatile than the budget kit, but also creates alot more options. You'll notice the kits from here down all contain an 85mm 1.4 lens, because it rocks!

  • Sigma 85mm 1.4 - Brand new, Around £650
  • Nikon D800 - Used, Around £999
  • Nikon 135mm f2 D AF DC Lens - Brand new, Around £1099


Professional portrait kit

This is serious kit for a serious professional. Expensive as heck, but this kit helps to produce absolutely amazing photos. All with super wide apertures to boot. 

  • Nikon D810a - Brand new, Around £2499
  • Nikon 85mm 1.4G - Brand new, Around £1,149
  • Nikon 70 - 200mm 2.8 - Brand new, Around £1799


Dream portrait kit

The absolute most amazing and crazy expensive portrait kit, that is still usable. This kit is made up mainly of prime lenses, and would cost more than a deposit on a house! We could list every lens available, but we'll choose just 3 to cover from 70mm to 200mm. Fingers crossed for a lottery win...

  • Nikon 200 f2 - Brand new, Around £4099
  • Nikon fit Zeiss Otus 85mm 1.4 - Brand new, Around £2299
  • Nikon 70 - 200mm 2.8 - Brand new, Around £1799
  • Nikon D810- Brand new, Around £2499


As a wildCard suggestion we're going to take a different direction to the long telephoto lenses. The recommendation is the Nikon 17 - 35mm 2.8 - Brand new, Around £1350. One photography 'rule' is to never use wide lenses for portraits, but we say break it! Break and embrace it!