When I was just starting out as a photographer, I didn’t have thousands of dollars to invest in equipment. I winced at the thought of dropping $1800 for ONE LENS (hello 85 1.2 *insert heart eyes here*), so I rounded up the three most important (and, really, the only lenses you “need”) to have to photograph a wedding day like a pro.
(***Disclaimer*** Everyone is different and has different preferences for how they photograph weddings. These are just the lenses that I use and love and can’t live without! You do you, friend!)
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Used for: Ceremonies, my second shooter during portrait time, first dances
Really, any long lens will work as long as you can stay out of the way and still get great shots of the vows and ring exchanges. I prefer to be unseen and unheard, so I go for the 70-200 AT 200mm. haha! Some of my photog friends get in there with an 85 and squat down in the middle of the aisle. Either way works! (PS I have this Tamron version and love it)
Used for: EVERYTHING! bridal details, reception details, portraits, post first-dance dancing.
I currently have the Canon 50 1.2 and absolutely love it. It’s sharp, it’s creamy, and creates dreamy bokeh. But if you’re just starting out the 50 1.4 is absolutely a great option. I used that lens for most of my career, up until I bought it’s big sister, the 1.2 ;). Here are some examples of my photos with the 1.2 and the 1.4. I love this focal length because it is flattering and convenient(I don’t have to back up to Timbuktu to get everyone in the shot). I also have trouble projecting my voice, so using a longer lens than this for group photos would be difficult while trying to give direction.
Used for: getting ready photos, wide shots, extended family photos, wide ceremony shots, reception.
This isn’t my favorite lense length for portraits(I say it makes people look like they have alien heads if you get up close with this lens), so I use it sparingly, but I definitely use it for every wedding. It’s a must for venue photos, getting ready photos, big family photos, and epic dancing photos.
I hope this was helpful! Feel free to ask questions or share your struggles in the comments below :)
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Allison Jeffers is a photographer and educator serving sweet couples and helping other creative entrepreneurs reach their goals. She specializes in wedding photography, elopements, and proposals as well as Bridal and Engagement portraits in Texas. She is available for travel worldwide and has her passport ready!