As a semi-seasoned wedding photographer, I am often asked which lenses I use. Whether it’s after someone views sneak peeks from a wedding day on my Instagram Stories, or they’re shadowing me on a wedding day in real time. But before I address this point blank, I have to address two other things first.
- If you ask several photographers what lenses they use or recommend, you’re probably going to get different answers. Different systems work for different people, and this is what works for me. And I haven’t really changed my answer much since I first got really started in my business!
- The most important thing is you create your art. Whether you don’t have the ”best” gear or according to a photography website you do, you can still. create. art. No matter what kind of gear you have.
My wedding photography journey began fast. I first started photographing families, events for friends, and portrait sessions, but it was after my first styled shoot (where I used my old, crop-sensor camera along with a kit lens and only one professional lens) that I first got noticed by a major wedding website which caters to thousands and thousands of engaged couples (and had about 20 people book me quite quickly thereafter). And while I’ve come a long way since, it goes to show that while quality is important, you don’t need fancy lenses in order to be a beginning professional. Just start making your art.
When I approached buying a new lens, I would often get inquisitive. I’d ask colleagues what their opinions were, message other photographers for their insight, research articles, and so on and so forth. But what I quickly realized was there was one really versatile lens people were sharing with me. After trying it out, I knew it was going to be my main choice.
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
The focus. The precision. It’s just a really, really amazing lens. And while it’s not super heavy, it’s sturdy and easy to hold and carry around all day. It never leaves either of my camera bodies and takes the brunt of the wedding day imagery. It’s a wide-angle lens that is great for far-away shots or up-close ones.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
Although a much heavier lens, the bokeh you can get with this thing is out of this world. While the weight is a slight deterrent, I could never get myself to sell it because I knew it was worth having. I’ve begun to pick this up more and I’m so glad I have. It’s great in low light situations, and while heavy (have I mentioned it’s heavy?), when fastened on my Canon 5D Mark IV camera body, it’s unbeatable and focuses like a champ.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
This is the smallest lens, I gotta say. It’s so tiny you almost feel silly having it on your camera body, but it’s a great lens to have in your bag (also it’s veryyyyy cheap in comparison to the previous two mentioned). But due to how light and how versatile it is in both low light and ideal lighting situations, it’s a great lens to purchase. Especially if you’re starting to build up your lens options.
As you can see, each lens serves it’s own purpose, and with each one you can create beautiful art, all from different perspectives. If you aren’t sure which one to purchase next, I suggest renting or borrowing from someone. And if you can’t purchase your “dream lens” yet, don’t forget: you can still. create. art. Using what I had and learning as much as I could brought my first clients, and then over time I was able to save a little to make bigger gear purchases. Don’t worry if you haven’t upgraded in a while! Just focus on your art, your learning (I also offer mentorships! *wink*) about photography, and getting as much experience as you can.