What Can You Shoot with a 50mm Lens?

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A 50mm may be a standard-looking lens, yet it’s popular because of its affordability, quality, and ease of use. Now, you may be wondering, what can you shoot with a 50mm lens given its fixed focal length? We’re sharing the different kinds of photos you can take using the nifty-fifty.

What Can You Shoot with a 50mm Lens?

Using a 50mm lens, you can shoot portraits and group shots. You can also do commercial photography and shoot food and product photos. A 50mm lens can also let you practice street, events, landscape, travel, silhouette, night, and flash photography.

As you can see, you can create a diverse portfolio by only using a single lens. With that said, let’s look into how you can use the 50mm to take more creative images.

50mm lens


A 50mm lens typically comes with a wide aperture, causing less of a scene to be in focus. In effect, you can achieve an amazing shallow depth of field for portraits, removing distracting elements in the background to emphasize a person’s features.

Aside from close-up portraits, you can use a 50mm lens to cover a group of subjects. Even if the perspective of a 50mm lens isn’t as broad as a wide-angle lens, it is still wide enough for shooting group pictures.

Whether you’re attending a family reunion or covering a festival, the nifty-fifty allows you to put as many subjects as you can in a single frame.

Travel Photos

When you’re spending hours exploring breathtaking views, a 50mm lens would be handy yet versatile for taking photos. The focal range lets you shoot anything from gorgeous solo pictures to sweepings landscapes and even architectural images.

  • Landscapes: Landscapes need to have incredible sharpness, and you can achieve that using a 50mm lens. The nifty-fifty has fewer moving parts and aspherical elements compared to lenses with longer focal lengths. As a result, it moves faster and smoother to ensure clarity and vibrant colors in landscape images.
  • Street Photos: Prime lenses are perfect for street photography because the 50mm’s field of view mimics what the human eye can see. Throw in the wide aperture, and you would be able to gather enough light even when shooting at nighttime.


Event photography covers a wide variety of occasions such as parties, festivals, ceremonies, and corporate events. With a 50mm lens, you can set your camera in aperture priority and low ISO levels to freeze movement while producing a shallow depth of field.

Commercial Photography

Did you know that 75% of shoppers find product photos influential when purchasing items? Hence, it’s important that products or food look the same in the images. Whether you’re photographing designer watches or the ingredients to a souffl√©, consistency in your images is key.

Person holding a 50mm camera lens
  • Product Photos: Even if you only have a 50mm lens, the field of view is broad enough to shoot products without distorting their actual appearance.
  • Food Photos: A 50mm lens is wide enough for food photography, especially if you’ll only be shooting a single item. In this way, you can do flat lays and maximize the scene to add props while still highlighting the subject.

Low-Light Photos

A flash helps you photograph moving subjects and illuminate dark scenes. However, you can only maximize its power if the lens is wide and fast enough. A 50mm lens can balance that, letting you bounce light for ambient light or do a direct flash for a sharper effect.

  • Silhouettes: The thing about shooting silhouettes is that you need to meter the background’s brighter part to underexpose the subject. With a wide aperture, a 50mm lens can handle low lighting while keeping the subjects in sharp focus to see the shape of subjects.
  • Night Images: You’ll need a fast lens when shooting with low lighting at night, particularly if you would like to add creative lighting effects. With a 50mm lens, the tighter focal range compresses the background, turning the lights into beautiful bokeh. This also allows you to use fast shutter speeds for long exposure shots.

Related Questions

After seeing the many ways a 50mm lens can diversify your photos, let’s look into some matters related to shooting using a 50mm lens.

Is a 50mm a Fast Lens?

A 50mm lens is a fast lens because it usually comes with a broad maximum aperture, like f/1.8. In effect, a 50mm lens helps a camera gather lots of light, use fast shutter speeds, and apply lower ISOs, making it ideal for low-light photography.

How Can You Zoom with a 50mm Lens?

A 50mm lens has a fixed focal length, so you can’t adjust the barrel for zooming. However, you can zoom in and out using your feet so that you will be physically closer or further away from the subject.


Despite having a tight field of view, the maximum aperture of a 50mm lens enables you to gather more light and experiment with various compositions.

With the 50mm lens, you can have a unique photography experience and take lots of images of people, nature, and many more subjects. You can even do it in studio where you have to choose the proper lighting in your room or adjust the aperture up to f/1.8 depends on the settings. It’s versatility lets you shoot different styles of photography without needing to switch to another lens so often. This helps you reduce your photography equipment costs and save more money for your monthly expenses.