Any type of canon lens can be used for a single-person portrait. But when it comes to more than 10 people or groups you need to consider a few things in getting a lens. There are factors like focal length, maximum aperture, shutter speed, and zoom in and out features.
Looking into all of that will be time-consuming, therefore we have put together a list of best canon lenses for group portraits for you. Being in the photography business for 10 years, we took pictures of many groups through the years and we changed various lenses.
Canon lenses served well and best, so we present to you the ten best canon lenses for group portraits. For group portraits to look perfect, you would need a lens of at least 30 mm with an aperture ranging from f/1.8 or more and a shutter speed of 1/70th. Instead of looking for the wide best canon lens for group portraits you can see our tested review and select the one that stands out to you.
Also, after doing tests on many canon lenses for portraits we found that some specs contribute to the lens’s ability to take group portraits.
We have listed down those features as well, so beginner photographers can have no problem selecting them. For the top pick, you can go for the expensive Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens. photographers who are tight on a budget can sacrifice some features and opt for Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III.
Get your canon lens and conquer group photography! By using these Canon lenses, you can take family, friends, relatives, and colleagues’ portraits in groups easily.
- 0.1 1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM-Best versatile Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.2 2. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II-Best valued Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.3 3. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM-Best lightweight Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.4 4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens-Best low-light Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.5 5. Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens-Best Silent canon lens for group portraits
- 0.6 6. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens-Best designed Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.7 7. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens-Best Wide-angle canon lens for group portraits
- 0.9 8. Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6-Best stable Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.10 9. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6-Best feature-packed Canon lens for group portraits
- 0.11 10. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III-Best Budget-friendly canon lens for group portraits
- 1 Buyer’s guide
- 2 Final words
- 3 Faqs
1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM-Best versatile Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens Type: Wide angle
- Maximum focal length: 70mm
- Dimensions: 4.45 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 1.77 pounds
Canon EF 24-70 mm is from the “L” series of Canon which is of exceptional quality. This portrait lens is excellent for taking pictures from various focal lengths with ideal sharpness and contrast. We love how this has a hood for reducing sunlight and flare in the outdoor shooting of group portraits. Furthermore, the construction consists of 18 elements in 13 groups. The construction makes it durable and great for professional photographers. You can easily clean it as it has a fluorine coating on the back and front elements of the lens. As this is a USM lens, it has autofocus technology for vivid portraits.
Also, the maximum and minimum aperture of the lens is f/2.8 and f/22 respectively. Moving onto its compatibility, Canon EF 24-70mm is compatible with Canon-EF and APS-C models. Its inner diameter is 82mm with angles of 84 to 34 degrees. This allows you to put accessories as you please. It also features a zoom lock lever for stable group portraits at any focal length.
Additionally, the sophisticated optical design incorporates 1 Super UD and two UD elements that eliminate color distortion and optical errors to achieve a high level of color precision. There are also three aspherical components, which contribute to increased sharpness. Its sole elements have also been layered with a Super Spectra coating to reduce flare and blurriness for better contrast and color clarity.
- 1-year warranty
- High-quality construction
- Versatile focal lengths
- Sharp pictures
- Easy to clean
To sum it up, this lens is great for taking group portraits at versatile focal lengths. We did not find any chromatic aberration but it is quite expensive for beginner photographers. This lens can be used for wedding or family kind of group portraits. The result, in the end, is worth the money as this produces terrific portraits for groups.
2. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II-Best valued Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens Type: Wide angle
- Maximum focal length: 35mm
- Dimensions: 4.15 x 3.17 x 3.17 inches
- Weight: 1.68 pounds
When it comes to quality and value Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II wins as this is an ideal performer. By featuring Subwavelength coating (SWC) and construction of 14 elements in 11 groups, this produces sharp results whilst reducing blurring and flare. On a full-frame Canon camera, you get a maximum focal length of 35mm whereas on an APS-C camera the focal length is 56mm. In addition to that, you get a fast f/1.4 maximum aperture with 9 blades for excellent portraits in low-light indoor or outdoor areas. The filter size is 2.8 inches and the closest focus shot can be taken within a distance of 0.28m. You can take close-up portraits as well as this has 0.21x maximum magnification.
Furthermore, Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics provides accurate colors in all conditions. Although we did not like its heavyweight, its sturdy dust and water sealing material make up for it overall. Plus it is a USM lens that gives focus adjustments manually. The lens has only one control, which is an AF/MF switch. However, full-time manual override is present at any time you can do it by twisting the focus ring.
You will have no problem capturing colorful group portraits with the lens 35mm focal length. Additionally, professional photographers can even add the Bokeh effect thanks to its high-quality and fast lens.
- Amazing construction
- Manual focus ring
- Weather sealing
- Blue Spectrum Refractive optics
- Fast and silent
- Heavy and expensive
This is quite heavy therefore we recommend using a tripod for better stability. Aside from that, the build and results of this lens are worth every dollar. Once you use it, the sharp results will leave you satisfied and astonished. The 35mm focal length is perfect for all types of portraits whether it’s group portraits or close-up shots. Everything about this lens is incredible, from the sharpness to the color which makes it perfect for professional photographers.
3. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM-Best lightweight Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens Type: Telephoto
- Maximum focal length: 85mm
- Dimensions: 2.83 x 2.95 x 2.95 inches
- Weight: 0.93 pounds
Beginners can go for Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM as this is lightweight and is packed with features. This telephoto zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 and a minimum of f/22. This lens is not zoomable and has a fixed focal length. Due to its circular eight-blade RD, you can utilize selective focus techniques to take group portraits. It has manual controls for focusing override and has quiet autofocus performance. Furthermore, the front of the lens does not spin during focusing, making it easier to use Polaris and graded filters. The Manual Focus ring is broad and comfortable to use, and it operates smoothly even in AF mode.
Its features include a maximum magnification of 0.13x and it can autofocus. Plus its construction is of 9 elements in 7 groups. Also, we had no problem taking pictures in low or strong lighting conditions. In APS-C models the focal length is 136mm whereas in Canon models you get a standard 85mm focal length. By reducing blurriness and flare, the super spectra coated elements of this lens provide great results. Also, it is durable and has a 1-year long warranty. The lens blur effect is no joke as the group portraits with blurred backgrounds taken by this looked amazing. The least focusing distance of this lens is 2.8 feet.
- Sharp and ideal maximum aperture
- Quiet ring USM lens
- Adds Bokeh effect
- Slight chromatic aberrations
To sum it up, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is ideal for the indoor shooting of group portraits. This is lightweight so it doesn’t add up to the weight of the camera and makes photographing fast and easy. However, under direct sunlight, we noticed blurriness and chromatic aberrations. Plus it is packed with features for its price. Lastly, one of the excellent features we loved is that you can manually adjust the focus at any moment without having to adjust the manual focus mode.
4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens-Best low-light Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens type: Standard
- Maximum focal length: 50 mm
- Dimensions: 1.54 x 2.72 x 2.72 inches
- Weight: 0.35 pounds
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens has a 50mm focal length in full-frame cameras and has 80mm on APS-C types. This uses STM technology for auto-focusing. Also, it is compatible with all EOS cameras. For both continuous and still portraits, it uses Servo and smooth AF respectively. The closest focusing distance is 0.35 meters while 0.21x is its maximum magnification. To adjust the focus you need to twist the focus ring manually.
For silent and sharp group portraits during nighttime or in low-light areas, this lens delivers silent and sharp results. With lens construction of 6 elements in 5 groups, this has average lens construction. The circular 7-blade design and lens coating contribute to the rendering of photos with superb color balance whilst reducing ghosting and flare. Moving onto its durability, the lens has a metal mount, and the inner diameter is 49mm. We found this is quite slow as compared to USM lenses but the portrait you get looks perfect. The F1.8 aperture is quite fast for a lens, providing not just a large boost in light throughput but also the desired bokeh effect for portraiture. If you’ve never seen what a wide aperture can do, this is one of the cheapest and most effective options.
- Silent captures
- Manual focal adjustment
- STM technology
- Easy to handle
- Slow in focus
- No hood
All in all, Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM has the best wide aperture that can take portraits even at nighttime. It is best for video recording but can be used for group portraits as well. We took a portrait that was not at an equal distance from the lens and we noticed some issues, so look out for that as it has slow focus. Plus, you do need a hood as this is well closeted. Whether you are an expert or beginner photographer this lens is a go-to option.
5. Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens-Best Silent canon lens for group portraits
- Lens type: Standard
- Maximum focal length: 32 mm
- Dimensions: 2.4 x 2.4 x 2.2 inches
- Weight: 0.51 pounds
Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM lens has a fixed focal length and it gives crisp-looking group portraits. The maximum aperture is f/1.4 and the minimum aperture is f/16 with a closing focusing distance of 23cm. Furthermore, you can take close-up shots as this has a maximum magnification of 0.25x. With a 7-blade rounded diaphragm, this lens is great for reducing flare caused by sunlight.
As this has a fixed focal length of 32mm we found that it is easy to get adjusted for new photographers. Additionally, in a full-frame lens, it has a 51mm focal length that gives life-like results in photographs. The EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM is for EOS M series cameras that produce crisp details and consistent focus overall. It has a glass-molded lens element to help reduce spherical and chromatic aberrations, as well as Super Spectra Coatings (SSC) to help maintain color contrast.
We had no problem taking pictures even at low ISO speed. You can blur the background to get maximum detailed portraits of all types. The best thing we loved about this is that its screw-type stepping motor makes zero noise while recording videos or taking portraits.
- Greta for low-light conditions
- Special elements reduce aberration
- Smooth and silent performance
- Bokeh effect
- Suitable for all types of photographers
We love this for its close-up shots and Bokeh effect group portraits. Plus the video recording and picture-taking procedure are done silently without disturbing anyone. Its lightweight handling and useful features make it perfect for amateur photographers. This is an excellent lens in general. Colors are vibrant, overall sharpness is excellent, and autofocus is lightning fast.
6. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens-Best designed Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens type: Standard
- Maximum focal length: 50mm
- Dimensions: 2.6 x 3.39 x 3.39 inches
- Weight: 1.28 pounds
You can take the closest focused pictures at a distance of 1.48 feet with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens. Even in harsh weather like rain or snow, its weather-resistant material makes it the best-designed lens. This comes at an affordable price and can be used by beginners. Its filter size is 72mm and you have to control AF manually by adjusting the focus ring. This lens is a prime lens which means it is a USM lens that is not zoomable.
As this is from the “L” series of Canon, it’s of high quality. For selective focus its maximum aperture is f/1.2 and the minimum is f/16. Like other USM lenses, this has a Super Spectra coating that enables you to take pics in all kinds of strong or low light conditions. An APS-C camera gives an 80mm focal length. The difference between this and EF 50mm f/1.8 is that it has a better focus ring whereas f/1.8 has a slightly tight ring.
For a significant level of sharpness and precise rendering, one curved element serves to detain spherical aberrations and distortion. The rounded eight-blade diaphragm gives an appealing out-of-focus quality, making a shallow field of view and selective focus techniques more effective. Lastly, its optical design features 8 elements in 6 groups.
- Reduces distortion
- Focuses fastly
- Green fringes were noticeable in Bokeh
We love that it was not hard to get used to this prime lens. As the front element does not rotate during focusing, employing a polarising filter is simple and requires no adjustment while shooting. You can also use this for video recording. While using this for Bokeh effect portraits, there were some green fringes. If you do not want to use this for the Bokeh pictures then you can opt for this.
7. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens-Best Wide-angle canon lens for group portraits
- Lens type: Wide angle
- Maximum focal length: 24mm
- Dimensions: 0.91 x 2.68 x 2.68 inches
- Weight: 0.27 pounds
Canon’s EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is a 38.4mm-equal prime lens built for APS-C DSLRs. From the EF-S series of canon lenses, this is the slimmest and thinnest lens. You get smooth-looking pictures thanks to its7-blade rounded aperture. It features a one-shot AF that allows you to focus on the portrait while half-pressing the shutter. And you can do full-time autofocus by swiveling the focus ring by hand.
The minimum focusing distance of this lens is about 0.16 meters. You can fix this lens in all non-full-frame Canon EOS digital SLRs. In these cameras, the maximum focal length given by this lens is 24mm and the least is f/22. Further, the maximum magnification is also versatile at 0.27x to easily take large group portraits. The super spectra layer on this lens reduces glare and produces greater contrast for accurate colors.
A rear focus mechanism, powerful Autofocus mechanisms, and a high-speed CPU for quick AF performance are supported by an STM stepping AF motor. All of this combined gives smooth, near-silent autofocus results. There is also a full-time manual focus override option.
- Sharp results
- Lightweight and thin
- Wide-angle view for large portraits
- Silent autofocus
- At f/2.8, there’s the distortion
To conclude, The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is a compact, affordable, and sharp lens. It’s ideal for candid interior pictures, family portraits, group portraits, and street photography. It doesn’t have picture stabilization and captures less light than an f/2 or f/1 lens. But you can’t have it all for such an affordable cost. It’s not bad to buy at this pricing if you have an APS-C Canon camera.
8. Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6-Best stable Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens type: Standard
- Maximum focal length: 85mm
- Dimensions: 3.46 x 3.23 x 3.23 inches
- Weight: 1.27 pounds
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 utilizes an optical image stabilizer for highly accurate pictures. There’s no need for extra equipment like tripods as this reduces the shaking of the camera even in your hands. So, you get ultra stable group portraits. The lens itself comes with 17 elements in 12 groups of construction and a Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm. For increased clarity and accurate depiction, three aspherical elements are used in the lens body and 1 UD glass element is also present.
Furthermore, it is compatible with 72mm filters and APS-C-format Canon EF-S-mount DSLRs. You can adjust its zoom feature for various benefits and it is a 24-136mm-equivalent lens. We love how this can function ranging from wide-angle to telephoto. Plus the bonus is its ability to control color shifting and aberration. This is due to The optical design that includes Ultra-Low Dispersion and aspherical components. A ring-type Ultrasonic Motor is also included, providing speedy, voiceless autofocus functioning as well as full-time manual focus override.
Talking about its features, the minimum focusing distance is 35 cm with a maximum magnification of 0.21x. Further, the Minimum Aperture is f/22 to 36 with autofocus and image stabilization.
- Extensive zoom range
- Image stabilization
- Four-stop stabilizer
- Stellar performance
- Performs well in low-light
- Small aperture
All in all, with the smooth functioning of the zoom and focus rings, controlling this is refined. The reason it got chosen for group portraits is that the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus mechanism is rapid and silent. The four-stop image stabilizer is also quite useful, allowing the user to shoot handheld. The image quality is good, although the edge of the zoom range is slow.
9. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6-Best feature-packed Canon lens for group portraits
- Lens Type: Wide angle
- Maximum focal length: 200mm
- Dimensions: 4.02 x 3.11 x 3.11 inches
- Weight: 1.31 pounds
Designed for both beginners and expert photographers, it is a lightweight EF-S lens with a magnification of about 11x. Plus you get a maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6 and an 18-200mm zoom ratio. The Optical Image Stabilizer and wide focal length range help to enhance the results of your portraits. Furthermore, you can get the closest focus within a range of 0.45 meters. Keep in mind that this is compatible with only EOS cameras featuring an EF-S lens mount.
We found that the image quality is due to the installation of two high-precision aspheric lenses to counteract aberrations such as curvature of field and distortion. In addition to that, the two UD lenses prevent chromatic aberration. All the problems found in frequent wide-angle photography are solved thanks to this and it delivers optimal image quality and edge detail. A DC Micro Motor autofocus mechanism provides fast focusing performance.
Additionally, super spectra and 4-stop optical Image Stabilizers aid in producing high-quality results in all types of lighting conditions. Lastly, the AF/MF button enables quick switching between auto and manual focusing. And the rounded six-blade diaphragm gives a pleasing out-of-focus quality.
- 4 stop Image Stabilizer
- Automatically detects tripod
- UD lens element
- Rounded aperture
- Fast aperture
- Vignettes were visible in corners
Overall, Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 is an ideal lens choice for all types of photographers who take group portraits. Also, this has an environmentally friendly design that is durable and it has a robust build. We did notice a few dark colors in the corners of some pictures therefore make sure you click many portraits so you can select the perfect one. Although it is quite heavy, that can be taken into account due to the lens features pack.
10. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III-Best Budget-friendly canon lens for group portraits
- Lens Type: Telephoto
- Maximum focal length: 300mm
- Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches
- Weight: 1.06 pounds
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III is a lightweight and affordable telephoto zoom lens. Photographers who are tight on a budget can go for this as this is the most inexpensive lens on the list. The one-year warranty makes sure that it is durable and worth more than its price. Even if it’s cheap it has all you need to take group portraits. Features like Super spectra coating and the electric lens mount contribute to the stable performance even for large portraits.
Plus, the autofocusing is quick because of an inbuilt AF motor. The DC micro motor autofocus mechanism is rapid and it works best for continuous shooting at high rates. The electromagnetic diaphragm on the lens allows highly precise aperture adjustment. Its construction consists of 13 elements in 9 groups and 7 diaphragm blades. In addition to that, the maximum aperture is f/4 to 5.6 whereas the minimum aperture is f/32 to 45. Such a range of focal length aids in having a versatile zoom range as well.
You can take shots from a minimum distance of 4.9 feet and it has a filter size compatibility of 58mm. We liked how this lens created Bokeh’s effect in all types of portraits, even the close-up or group ones.
- Fast autofocus
- Extensive compatibility
- Versatile zoom range
- Not for harsh weather
- No image stabilisation feature
Overall, the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III USM is a 4x telephoto zoom lens that is suitable for group portraits, and other types of photography. Autofocusing is faster and quieter thanks to a miniature ultrasonic motor. Zooming is also smoother because of the enhanced zoom mechanism. But the quality of its body is not that strong so do not use this in harsh weather.
Now that you have decided on getting one of the best canon lenses for group portraits, let us give you features that show whether a lens can be used for group portraits or not. We made our research based on a few specs that we found common in many canon lenses for group portraits. The features are given below:
Type of lens:
There are two types of lens:
- Prime lens: Prime lenses have fixed focal lengths that can not be changed therefore they have ideal quality for a specific range. If you can get the appropriate focal length for group pictures, you can get a prime lens. Plus quality-wise, prime lenses do better.
- Zoom lens: These types of lenses do not have fixed focal lengths which mean you change angles without having to change the lens. For group portraits, we usually get zoom lenses as you can change angles.
- Wide-angle lens: We can adjust our angle of view with wide-angle lenses. You can pack so much in, but you have to be wary of corner bending, which can be problematic for large group photographs.
- Telephoto lens: Long lenses or telephoto lenses allow us to take portrait pictures from a greater distance and shrink perspective, which may be quite flattering in portraiture for some people.
Overall, a lens with more elements and groups is not necessarily better or worse. You could see a list of the number of elements and groups each lens has when reading above. Individual glass lens elements are called “elements”, whilst “groups” are either single elements or two or more elements fixed together. While having more elements can help limit optical flaws, each increased surface area can result in reflections and scatterings, which can generate flares and lower contrast. So the ending result does not depend on this but a zoom lens will need more elements than a prime lens.
As we’re talking about group portraits, or you want to capture a prom portrait, a football team, or your family. The optimal focal distance for clicking on a family group photo is 85 mm, but this may vary according to your preference. Before you buy, make sure you know what focal length you want.
For APS-C cameras, a 35mm or 40mm lens is preferable because crop distortion is minimal. Unless it becomes necessary, avoid using extremely wide angles.
Canon lenses are expensive so make sure you get the one that matches your requirements. Plus the results of the lens contribute to the price so make sure the lens you are getting has high-quality results.
Photographers who want to make sure they capture the ideal group portrait can get extra accessories. These will help in making the portrait look professional or high-quality with an appropriate lens.
- Tripod: Tripod makes sure the focal length and angle of the group portrait stay stable and balanced.
- Light filter: These are glass or gelatin elements that can be attached to the lens and are usually transparent. They can be used to cover the camera lens, convert how light passes through it, or add extraordinary effects and colors to an image.
- Teleconverter: It extends the focal length of a lens, providing a more telescopic effect than a lens alone. A teleconverter is a magnification lens that fits between the main camera and the lens.
- Adapter: Lens adapter allows you to utilize any lens with almost any camera body. However, before you go out and buy one, make sure you know what kind of lenses you want to use with it. Lens adapters are made to work with specific brands of lenses so make sure you get a canon one if you are getting a canon lens.
By now you should know the result of your group portrait depends on the camera’s lens and its specs. Do not hesitate to get a lens as they serve well in preserving memories plus you can have fun with them. Your photography skills will eventually get improved if you have the right type of lens. Therefore, think before getting a canon lens for a group portrait and enjoy the experience of taking your group portrait or another party’s group portrait.
Concluding it all up let us give you our favorite Canon lens for group portraits:
- Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens-Best Silent canon lens for group portraits: Our top pick is this, as this creates photographs with lovely creamy bokeh and is incredibly clear (particularly above f2.0). Plus it’s lightweight and stable even in hand.
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM-Best versatile Canon lens for group portraits: From robust build to versatile zoom range, this lens gives it all. The USM lens aids in the sharpness and vividness of colorful pictures.
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens-Best low-light Canon lens for group portraits: The last pick is this as this has ideal STM technology that produces minimum noise while capturing portraits. You will be amazed by its group portrait quality even during nighttime.
1. Can I use any type of shutter speed when taking group portraits with a Canon lens?
The shutter speed should be at least twice your canon lens focal length. The minimum shutter speed for group portraits is 1/70th but for the best portrait, we recommend 1/200th.
2. How to set the lens aperture for group portraits?
To get group portraits, adjust the aperture to around f/2 to f4. Set the ISO to a lower value as well. Lastly, set the ISO to 100 or 200 for improved results.
3. Is an 85mm Canon lens good for group portraits?
Yes, as they are considered to be wide-angle lenses which makes them great for large portraits.
4. Any tips for capturing the best group portrait?
Here are a few tips to capture the best group portrait:
- Have a suitable camera and lens.
- Take control of your camera’s settings.
- Posing should be flawless.
- Select a plain background.
- Choose the most suitable place with evened-out illumination.
- Utilize props. Take several pictures.
- Keep an eye on the fine details. Be confident and you will capture the best group portraits.