Shooting photographs for a wedding is a specialized talent that not all photographers have. Indeed, as a professional photographer, you have to have the right expertise, the right equipment, and the right talent for making sure a couple’s important day is memorialized in still photography and maybe even videography so that it is never forgotten.
To do this, you’ll need not just one lens but several lenses that are crucial to capturing all the things that go on during a couple’s wedding day. If you’re new to wedding photography or you’ve only done a handful of jobs, the first thing you need to realize is that there are certain types of lenses that are a must-have for every single wedding job, both big and small. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
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Basic Types of Photography Lenses for Weddings
As most professional wedding photographers will tell you, having several sets of lenses on hand for each job is imperative because each venue and each job are different. Here are six of the lenses that a good wedding photographer always has with him or her on that special day:
- 70-200 mm lens: this lens creates the right amount of blur and allows you to capture up-close moments without ruining the moment or being too noticeable. You can even capture very candid shots that include both tears and big smiles.
- 50 mm lens: this lens creates a more natural look for your subjects and is perfect for portraits. It has a wide aperture and therefore can be a life-saver when it starts to get a little darker, allowing you to take great pictures with little help from your flash.
- 24-70 mm lens: perfect for smaller spaces, this is a very versatile lens that is perfect for afternoon tea parties in someone’s living room or an impromptu shower in someone’s office.
- 100 mm macro lens: this lens is perfect for very close-up and detailed shots; for example, a shot of the couple’s wedding rings. In fact, if you add the right lighting and a little of your own creativity, your pictures can look just like the crystal-clear photos of products in store catalogs.
- 16-35 mm lens: with an ultra-wide angle, this lens is perfect for shots of the venue and even landscape shots. If the venue is especially gorgeous, this is definitely a lens you’ll end up using to show it off to others.
- 85 mm lens: when you need a perfect portrait lens that doesn’t distort the image like some wider-angle lenses do, this is the one you want. It is a great lens to use for portraits that are even undistorted at the edges of the photograph.
Are these the only lens types beneficial for weddings? Of course not, but they are a good start because you’ll find a use for each of them at every single wedding you work. Now we can take a look at a few of them in greater detail.
Top Rated Wedding Photography Lens Picks
Bright, Wide-Angle Zoom Lens: The 24-70 mm f/2.8 by Sony
Many professional photographers call this type of lens the “walk-around lens,” mostly because there are so many uses for it. It is a very versatile lens that you can use for both wide captures and close-up portraits, and just about everything in between. There is no distortion with this lens and almost no learning curve, which means even beginning photographers can take great pictures with it.
The SEL2470GM lens allows for natural, life-like imagery and great detail and texture with every photograph you take, and the contrast and quality are second to none thanks to the nano AR coating.
- Accurate light transmissions for great clarity.
- Lightweight and easy to install and use.
- Versatile aperture range of f/2.8 to f/22.
- Complaints about it breaking easily.
- Complaints about it not focusing correctly.
Bright and Versatile Telephoto Lens: The 70-200 mm f/2.8 by Sony
If you want both sharpness and smooth bokeh, the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS lens is the lens you need. This is a heavy-duty, high-tech lens that you can use reliably regardless of what you’re taking a picture of, and one of its biggest perks is more constant lens length regardless of how much zooming and focusing you’re doing. In addition, its resistance to dust and moisture means this is one lens you can use for many years to come.
This lens also has a nano AR coating that represses flare, ghosting, and reflections, as well as superb resolution every time.
- Minimum focus distance of 37.8” / 0.25x max. mag.
- 11-blade circular aperture for gorgeous bokeh.
- Ideal for video and for precise manual focus.
- Complaints about it being no better than a less expensive lens.
- Very pricy at $2,400.
Portrait Prime Lens: The 85 mm and 50 mm f/1.8 by Canon and Nikon
The Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM medium telephoto lens is a fixed lens that brings your subject into focus quickly, with the closest focusing distance being 2.8 feet. It is perfect for both natural images and portraits thanks to its perspective and its natural view angle, and its weight of only 15 ounces means it is super easy to use even if you have to put it on in a hurry. It also does a great job of producing the perfect amount of background blur when you need it.
Similar to the 85 mm lens, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens is a compact lens that is upgraded and includes the ability to enjoy edge-to-edge sharpness regardless of the format, not to mention an aspherical lens element, autofocus, and dimensions from the camera lens mounting flange of roughly 2.83 inches diameter by 2.01 inches. You also get a silent wave motor that is exclusive to Nikon and can make all of your picture-taking more pleasant.
- Lightweight, compact, and easy to use.
- All-natural background blurs for the perfect picture.
- The ability to capture even the most minute details.
- Complaints about the focus not being sharp enough.
- Complaints about the autofocus feature not always working.
The Macro Lenses
For the most part, macro lenses are used to take close-ups of certain items. You can find these lenses in various ratios and they can be used to focus on objects from infinity to 1:1 magnification. Most of the time, however, you still have to be very close to your subject to get it to look detailed enough for you. Some of the better macro lenses for you to enjoy include the following:
- Olympus 30 mm f/3.5 macro lens. These are made for micro four-thirds’ mountings and offer features that include seven lens elements in six groups, an extra-close focusing distance of 0.095 meters, a 40-degree angle of view, and an aperture range of from f/3.5 to f/22.
- Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 macro lens for Nikon AF cameras. With a life-size (1:1) magnification, this lens has a 12.2” focusing distance and a mechanical design that is focus-free so you can use it with ease. It comes with an optical stabilizer (OS) and consists of a kit with accessories to make your next photo-taking session a breeze.
- Samyang 100 mm f/2.8 macro lens. This lens is made for the Fuji X interchangeable lens cameras and comes with ultra multi-coated glass for extra protection and made of 15 glass elements in 12 groups. Even better, the lens offers a minimum focusing distance of just one foot.
- Very useful lenses when you need clear, detailed close-ups.
- They come in a variety of magnification ratios.
- They are easy to use for most photographers.
- They tend to be very expensive.
- They only serve one purpose and usually aren’t very versatile.
The Wide, Bright Performer: The 35 mm Prime Lens by Meike
Meike’s 35 mm f/1.7 large-aperture prime fixed lens is made for various Sony e-mount digital mirrorless cameras and offers a minimum aperture of f/22 and a 49 mm filter diameter. It is super multi-coated for extra durability and has a manual setting, which means the lens is not yet attached. With a different setting, the lens can also be used on Sony e-mount full-frame cameras as well.
- Can accommodate more than a dozen different Sony e-mount cameras.
- Offers a lens structure of five groups and six slices.
- Reasonably priced at around $70.
- Complaints about the focus ring not working properly.
- Complaints about the manual focus not being precise.
When you’re a professional photographer, you’ll naturally want to take your time building up your collection of lenses because let’s face it, there are plenty of them on the market that would make a great addition to your collection of accessories, and most of them are expensive. Nevertheless, having a wide selection of lenses is crucial because each one offers its own advantages and is perfect for specific situations.
When photographing a wedding, many different lenses will come into play because you’ll be taking all types of shots throughout the day, including far-away and close-up shots, dark and light shots, portrait and venue shots, and so many more. You only get one shot at creating once-in-a-lifetime photographs for someone’s wedding, so having the right lenses is important if you don’t want the bride and groom to be disappointed. The above lenses are a great place to start when adding to your collection, but they should not be a stopping point because you’ll always be adding to your collection of great photography lenses.