Apr 9, 2016

Portraits with the "Nifty Fifty" (aka Canon EF 50mm/1.8 STM) Lens

Stella.  1+ year old.

Once upon a time, I was decluttering and selling things that were collecting dust in my home.  One such item was my Canon EF 50 mm lens, popularly known as the "Nifty Fifty", that I had received as the second lens for my DSLR camera.  Fast forward several years: I pick up photography again and kick myself heavily for selling a great lens.  Thankfully, Canon had a sale on refurbished lenses last month and I managed to acquire the "Nifty Fifty" for less than $100! 

The updated lens, the Canon EF 50mm/1.8 STM, has a maximum aperture of F1.8.  The aperture on a lens is analogous to the pupil of your eye; the bigger the aperture, the more light you let into the camera.  Dropping the F-stop down to 1.8 allows you to get an extremely shallow depth of field (these are the blurry backgrounds you see in photographs) which I love.  The focal length of the lens is very similar to my field of vision so I am capturing my subjects as I see them.  After my lens arrived, I decided to test drive it for portraiture.

The first photograph of Stella (my friend's dog) is one of those rare shots I have not been able to take again because she rarely stays still enough for the camera.   At least, not when I'm shooting!  I took some headshots for my friends Helen and Liz as well.  I had been asking Helen to model for weeks and Liz needed a professional headshot.  Liz ended up using the picture I have shown here to submit for an article she was writing. 

Liz(left), Helen (right)

Self portraits.

I also took a few self portraits for kicks. I used to take self portraits fairly consistently when I was "fashion blogging." You know, back when fashion blogging was a bunch of us taking photos of our outfits against our bedroom walls, before everything looked straight out of magazines. Anyways, I went over to my boyfriend's on a Saturday, and yelled, "Don't come into your room! I'm shooting!" and disappeared up the stairs to produce these two shots.  I'm now trying to decipher how much I've aged in the past several years.  Sigh.  The things you know.

After taking many photographs, I'm starting to see a bit of homogeneity in my work.  I would like to expand my compositions, subjects, and to venture into telling stories with images.  I recently found a lot of older photographs I'd taken on an external hard drive.  I was surprised at what I used to take pictures of which are largely ignored now.   There's something to be said for taking your environment for granted and never stopping to smell the roses.  I want to work on taking more photographs and to lift myself out of this stylistic rut.  I'll end on a favorite inspirational quote.

"Life begins outside of your comfort zone."

-Neale Donald Walsch


  1. Oh wow what a gorgeous lens! I'd love to add this to my collection xx

    Gemma | missmakeupmagpie.com

  2. That photo of your dog is gorgeous! Such a rare shot too. Animals are finnicky like that.

    nat - Dignifiable

  3. I'm the same when I look through my old photos! I used to take so many pictures of things I wouldn't anymore. Interesting how perspectives change.

  4. Beautiful pictures! :)


  5. Beautiful photos. I feel the same way, I looked at some of my old photos, and they look so different than my current photos.
    Blue Jazzmin

  6. you took amazing photos! i think i'm going to buy the lens someday. it has beautiful background blur effect in which i dig sfm. your photography journey have came a long way!

    xx http://tanaditya.co.vu

  7. loving your lens! the photos turned out so pretty!


  8. Your self-portraits are killing it; I used to take so man self-portraits back in the day for my blog and I'd awkwardly set up tripods in the middle of streets or parks. Must have been the saddest thing to watch, haha.

    Also, I keep laughing everytime you say "nifty fifty" since I've never heard that term before for the 50mm lens. :P


  9. Gorgeous pictures! I love a good 50mm lens...but really need to save up to buy myself a decent camera - recently sold the Sony A5000 I had, but should probably look into buying a new camera with a reasonably priced 50mm!

    Meg | A Little Twist Of…

  10. I find photography so satisfying. Getting that image just right is a fun little project. I think the portrait shots of your friends are really lovely! I also remember those self portrait pics very well. If you go further back on my blog you'll find photos of me in my bedroom! Oh those were the days eh?

  11. Photographing everything around you is really underestimated. Taking time for yourself to take self portraits too. I adore your photos. You've got your own style, and they're refreshing to look at.

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

  12. i think the shots are great!
    of course, never hurts to always seek out for new inspiration!

    Animated Confessions

  13. Such a lovely portraits but I have to say that doggy Stella totally own this post! :)
    I remember those days when fashion blogging started and totally agree with you that now is all about to get that perfect photo and back then was all about sharing the look. How fast things can change, right?:)

  14. Oh god, the Canon lens looks perfect! I've been meaning to get a Canon and 50mm lens one of these days but they are just way to expensive for my range right now. Love the shots, this just makes me want to get it even more!

    xx Bash |   go say   H E Y   B A S H

  15. Ugh I love these shots, you're such a talent! The new lens was definitely worth the investment xx

  16. I recently got a 50mm lens. I can't wait to try it out! :)


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