February 6, 2024

We get asked frequently 'what kind of cameras do you use at your shoots'? While different cameras do give slightly different looks out of straight out of the camera, it's really what type of lenses they should be specifically be asking about. Different lenses allow the shooter to get very different looking shots, and different types of shots, based on the situation you are shooting. In general, we tend to lean towards Sony gear for video projects, and Canon gear for photo projects; we love Canon cameras and all of the lenses we will talk about are for Canon EF mount cameras. A few of these lenses are not so expensive and a few of them are what would be considered the best of the best. The best way to help pick a lens is to show off what lenses we use for specific things getting ready photos, group photos, portraits, ceremony, and reception. Most all of the lenses we are going to mention can be interchanged throughout the wedding day and may vary based on the style and look you are going for. We recently shot a small wedding in Downtown Dallas at Four Corners Brewery for a young and hip couple named Marcela and Dalton. This wedding is a great reference to see why we use the lenses we use on a wedding day.

Marcela and Dalton started their wedding day out in the homes of their family members as they got ready for their ‘BIG DAY’. For photos of this time of day we like to use three lenses; 35mm, 50mm, and a 24x70mm. These three lenses are very useful in tight spaces such as hotel rooms and houses. The 35mm and 50mm lenses are not too far apart in focal length but the 50mm will offer less warp to the image and make the subject a little more flattered in the photo. Some times when space is a little smaller than a 50mm will allow for the 35mm is going to be your best friend. For Marcela’s getting ready photos the 35mm was the best option to get a variety of shots in the bedroom we were in. The 24x70mm is a goto lens and should be the first lens that’s purchased for an aspiring photographer. Not only does it cover a wide variety of focal lengths but it is useful in many different situations. This is also a lens that can be used all day long if needed. Our second photographer did just that! They were covering the getting ready photos for the Dalton and the dudes. Thee Canon 35mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.4 are considered budget lenses but produce incredible images! The more pricey lens of this bunch is the Canon 24x70mm 2.8 L. This is a lens that a photographer will use for many years!

When it came time for the group photos and portraits with Marcela and Dalton we used two lenses. The 24x70mm is often our choice lens for group photos due to the flexibility that it offers. It’s easy to get many different compositions for different sizes of groups without moving back and forth a lot. These group photos range from the wedding party to family groups both small and large. When it comes time for the portraits of the bride and groom solo and together our favorite lens is the 85mm. This lens creates depth in the background and is very flattering for portraits. It is on the longer side of focal lengths compared to the lenses mentioned so far. This will mean you need a little more room between yourself and the couple. Another great lens for tighter spaces when taking portraits is the 50mm lens. Both the 85mm and the 50mm will render a much better portrait image than the 24x70mm but not the flexibility you may need or want for group photos. Our current 85mm of choice is the Tamron 85mm 1.8. This lens is a great mid-range price lense that will give you years of great use. We used a combination of these lenses due to the size of the space we had outside the church and the brewery.

Marcela and Dalton got married in a beautiful Catholic church in uptown Dallas. For this ceremony and all most every ceremony, we photograph we use two lenses. The 24x70mm and the 70x200mm. The 24x70mm is an amazing lens for getting wide and mid shots of anything that’s happening. When you need to get a little tighter of a shot the best lens to go for is the 70x200mm. This will give you all the range that is needed for mid and tighter shots. We will often start out with the 24x70mm to capture the processional and the bride being given away. After that, we will switch to the 70x200mm to capture everything after that. These two lenses are the first two we would suggest getting if you want to start shooting weddings. It is possible to use the 20x200mm lens for portraits and still get a really great look to the photos. When we have a second photographer with the lead photographer will use the 70x200mm and the second photographer will use the 24x70mm. This combination of lenses gave us the ability to get all of the needed angels for this beautiful church wedding! For Canon cameras, the Canon 70x200mm 2.8 L MkII is the absolute best.

The reception has many different aspects to it as a whole. There are special events, candid moments, and the unknown of anything happening at any time. At this point in the Marcela and Daltons wedding day, we were settled at Four Corners Brewery. There we had a pretty simple celebration with your typical wedding events. There were special dances, cake cutting, toast, and open dancing. The venue wasn’t too big and the main lenses used here were the 35mm, 85mm, and the 24x70mm. The 24x70mm was used for the entire day by our second photographer. For the lead photographer, the two main lenses were the 35mm and the 85mm. The second photographer is able to capture anything and everything that is happening due to the extreme flexibility we mentioned. With the 35mm the lead is able to get wide shots of details, groups, and great candids that really show off the location. The other side of that coin is the 85mm that offers us the ability to get tighter intimate shots of things like the toast and special dances. This is also a time in the wedding day where you can use the 50mm or even the 70x200mm for much of the same type of shots.

It’s easy to see that there is no right or wrong to the lenses a photographer uses on a wedding day we use many of them to get the amazing images we capture for our couples and their families. We have chosen the lenses in our camera bags due to the need to be ready for anything at any time on a wedding day and also to accommodate two different photographers capturing two different angles. For us, these are the best lenses for wedding photography if you are using Canon cameras. When it comes to Sony and Fuji cameras we have a whole different list of best lenses for wedding photography but the concept is the same. Be ready for anything and if it comes to getting one or two lenses, start with the most flexible zoom lenses.

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