Feature photo by Cami Turpin, shot with a Canon EF 135mm f/2 lens.

As photographers, we spend a lot of money on gear, right? So, it’s nice when our photography equipment provides us with a good return on investment. We all have our favorite lenses, but what about those workhorse lenses that stay on our cameras and make us money?! What are the best lenses for a photography business?

We asked Click Pros to tell us what are the best money-making photography lenses. Out of more than 100 replies, here’s what they said:

“My Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 because I use it for school portraits. But my Canon EF 135mm f/2L lens has enough magic to have brought in most of my outdoor client sessions.” — Cami Turpin

“My Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens never leaves my camera! I’ve definitely made back every penny I spent on that lens, and then some.” — Ebony Logins

“My Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens. I’ve done so many corporate headshots with it, and they’re definitely my bread and butter. I love it for personal portraits of my daughter too.” — Kelley Krohnert

Kelly jones
Photo by Kelly Jones, shot with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens.

“The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens all day long. My clients fall in love with the effect of the wide-angle lens on the beach at sunset and almost always choose those images for their walls.” — Kelly Jones

“The Zeiss Planar T 80mm f/2 AF lens for my Contax is hands-down the most important piece of glass in my kit. That Contax 645 system is my workhorse — it helped me develop and cultivate my vision and voice, and it elevated my brand in ways digital photography couldn’t for me. Now that I shoot mostly commercial work, and need to be shooting digital images, I use my Zeiss lens on a Fujifilm GFX 50S. While the GFX system has a slight crop, this set up lets me still see things in a similar way to how I saw them with the Contax system. I would be lost without it!” — Meg Sexton

“It’s an unusual choice, but I have to say my banged-up old Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 Ai-S manual focus lens. I attach it to my Canon EOS 6D with a $35 converter ring. This lens helps me to create the fine art look I’m striving for with the most beautiful bokeh I can imagine. I bring other lenses to client shoots, but I tend to leave this one on my camera most of the time.” — Sarah Landa

“My macro lens has served me well for product photography, but I have to go with my FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR for headshots. I shoot with a FUJIFILM XT-2, and since all Fujifilm mirrorless cameras are crop sensors, the lens is actually is a 70-200mm equivalent on a full frame. I love the separation the lens gives between my subject and the background.” — Erica Everhart

Photo by Erica Everhart taken with a FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR lens.

“The Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art literally changed my life. With it, I shot births the way I wanted; I was able to capture the environment I desired for fresh 48 and in-home newborn sessions; I was able to get the intimate family cuddles I wanted for outdoor family sessions; and I was able to shoot weddings in a new way.” — Aly Joy Nickerson

“When I did client photo sessions, it was my Canon 70-200mm. Now that I don’t, I use my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM for the bulk of my stock work.” — Mel Karlberg

Images by Lens

If you haven’t seen Click’s searchable lens database, Images By Lens, you gotta check it out! You can search and view images taken with specific lenses, which is great if you’re deciding on your next lens purchase or if you just want to compare notes. Search by lens manufacturer, lens type, image genre or by a specific lens. How cool is that?!

More money-makers:

Out of more than 100 replies, here are a few money-maker lenses that made the list over and over.

Most popular focal lengths:

  • 35mm
  • 50mm
  • 85mm
  • 135mm
  • 70-200mm
  • 24-70mm

A version of this article first appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of Click Magazine. Buy it here, or subscribe now and never miss an issue!