10 Affordable Lenses and Accessories For New Portrait Photographers

These high quality, yet low priced lenses and accessories will help new portrait photographers get started without destroying the bank.

When you’re just starting out in any field of photography, it can be easy to make yourself think that if you want to have any chance of success, you’ll need to break the bank to get the best of the best when it comes to lenses and accessories; however, this simply isn’t true. There are tons of quality lenses and accessories on the market that are affordable, yet still very high in quality, and that will serve new portrait photographers well until they start making more money. In fact, these lenses and accessories for new portrait photographers are so good, you might find that you want to just keep on using them. Check out our picks of the best affordable lenses and accessories for portrait photographers after the break.

portrait photographers
Created with the Lensbaby Omni Creative Filter System. A must-have for all portrait photographers.

There are great affordable accessories and lenses for all cameras thanks to the likes of Sigma, Rokinon, Tamron, and others, and we have tried to show a selection of lenses below that reflect this. The gear we have chosen below really does show that you don’t have to spend crazy amounts of money on equipment when you’re just finding your feet. The lenses below are all excellent when it comes to image quality, and overall performance and the accessories will go a long way in helping you create unique images that will make you stand out from all of the other portrait photographers out there. Take a look at our picks below.

Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Extremely sharp
  • Fast focusing
  • Stellar build quality

Cons

  • May need some micro-adjustment out of the box
  • No weather sealing

Buy now Canon EF: $619

Buy now Nikon F: $619

Sony E: $619

Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR

portrait photographers

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Great sharpness
  • Nine aperture blades make the bokeh as good as it can be
  • Small size
  • Weather resistance
  • The fastest focusing lens that Fujifilm has offered as of the publication of this review.

Cons

  • Just F2…a refresh to the 35mm f1.4 actually would have been more appreciated and pushed the system ahead overall

Buy now: $399

Olympus 45mm f1.8 MSC

portrait photographers

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very small and lightweight
  • Incredibly fast focusing
  • Very sharp wide open with no need to stop it down
  • True to life color rendering
  • Really nice bokeh

Cons

  • Build quality feels a bit lacking
  • No weather sealing

Buy now: $299

Tamron 85mm f1.8 Di VC USD

portrait lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super sharp image quality
  • No focusing issues with the Canon 6D or other Canon SLR cameras
  • Fast focusing
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice feel in the hand
  • Vibration compensation built in is a godsend
  • Fantastic color
  • A unique look that makes everything seem like it’s got quite a bit of Clarity in Lightroom increased.
  • Beautiful bokeh

Cons

  • Quite honestly, not a single thing is wrong with this lens

Buy now Canon EF: $749

Buy now Nikon F: $749

Captured with the Sigma 35mm f1.4

Pro Tip: When shooting portraits, always make sure that your subject is not facing the camera straight on. Figure out which is your model’s best side and then position them at an angle as pictured above as this will create a much more flattering image. Also, remember that whether you’re shooting inside in a studio or outside, your lens is going to get covered in dust. Make sure you have a basic lens cleaning kit with you at all times. This one has everything you need, and it’s incredibly affordable.

Rokinon 85mm F1.4 AF

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • More affordable than Sony’s higher-end option: it’s $699
  • Good image quality
  • Smooth bokeh
  • Sharp image quality
  • Nice colors

Cons

  • We wish that it had more weather sealing

Buy now: Canon EF: $599

Buy now Nikon F: $549.99

Buy now Sony: $599

Rokinon 135mm f2 ED UMC

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Stunning image quality on every front
  • Very precise focusing ring

Cons

  • Kind of big, but that’s natural for a lens like this
  • Rokinon needs a new exterior. we’d pay extra for metal for sure

Buy now Canon EF: $468

Buy now Fujifilm X: $499

Buy now M4/3: $429.26

Buy now Nikon F: $489

Buy now Pentax: $499

Buy now Sony E: $378

Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super reliable
  • Automatic transition to high speed sync
  • Stroboscopic mode
  • Incredible TTL output
  • Well built
  • Affordable
  • Pretty much gives you an awesome studio option in a small size with loads of features

Cons

  • Initially tough to use until you actually sit there and page through the manual

Buy now: Starting at $110

The Rogue Flashbenders V3

portrait photographers

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • They still work just like they did
  • The belt system is really weird now. But once you get the hang of it you’ll realize it’s great.
  • Brighter than the previous ones
  • Better build quality

Cons

  • Not really a thing

Buy now: $59.95

portrait photographers

Pro Tip: Learning how to use a flash early on in your career will open up so many doors for you. We always encourage portrait photographers to learn how to light using off-camera flash, but we understand that this may seem a little daunting. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Check out this fantastic tutorial from Joel Grimes that will teach you how to create world-class portraits with just one light.

Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System

portrait photographers

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Innovative magnetic attachment filter ring system
  • Lightweight construction
  • Included felt pouches are nicely padded and help keep the many components of the OMNI system neatly organized
  • Included step-up/down rings make the OMNI system usable with a wide variety of lenses

Cons

  • Would’ve loved for the included filter wrench to be sturdier

Buy now Small: $99.95

Buy now Large: $99.95

Tenba DNA 15 Messenger Bag

portrait photographers

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • The DNA 15 provides quick access to your camera and lenses
  • You can easily tote a 15-inch laptop, a 9.7-inch iPad
  • The bag is comfortable to carry around for long periods
  • The bag is TSA friendly and provides resistance to the weather
  • Can hold a lot of lenses or multiple camera bodies
  • It has a great design that doesn’t scream, “I’m a camera bag!”

Cons

  • The zipper ring pulls feel cheap compared to other parts of the bag
  • The interior padding is on the thin side
  • Closing the top zipper with one hand when fully open can be a challenge

Buy now: $139.99