Mim and her wonderful portrait photography <shameless plug>you can hire her by the way</shameless plug>. I'm deliberately not showing off any of my pictures in this post until I've got a little better at using it.
My only other two lenses don't have a massive maximum aperture so it's great to finally have a fast lens in my arsenal. The benefit of greater lens speed is to widen the aperture which allows for throwing the background of your subject out of focus. This has the benefit of making the subject stand out and drawing the eye towards it. It's particularly great for portrait work.
The other great plus to this particular lens is it's just about the smallest, cheapest, lightest lens Canon make. This thing is tiny, weighs something like 130 grams and is less than 80 quid! It's just about the best bang-for-your-buck you can get in my opinion.
Usage is obviously quite simple as it's fixed focal length so there's no zoom ring to worry about. You only get a focusing ring and an auto/manual focus switch, no image stabilisation switch to worry about either. It does feel very strange to use at the moment though, because of it's size and weight it gives the camera a completely different feel. Not to mention that I'm used to zoom lenses so there's nothing to twist unless you're manually focusing. You have to move yourself in order to frame the subject as you want and while none of these things are bad, it does give a different feel to the experience of taking pictures. The results, though, speak for themselves, you can produce really great images from this lens which is a real shocker given the price.