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With so many lens choices out there, it can be extremely difficult for a new photographer to know what they should buy next! Everybody has a different opinion on what the essential lenses for a wedding are, and honestly, nobody is really wrong! Your choice for a ‘must have’ may be the opposite of mine. And that’s fine! You really have to learn what works best for you and your business.
The best way to do that is to rent the lenses you are considering, and try them out for yourself! What works great for someone else might not work great for you. But it can still be helpful to do research beforehand, to get a general idea of what you think might be a good option for you! So let’s dive right in… Here are the lenses I personally think that you should buy for wedding photography, and in the order I think you should buy them in!
1. 50mm f/1.2L Or honestly, any 50mm. If you can’t swing the f/1.2L yet, the f/1.4 is a sturdy little lens, and will be a wonderful investment! You can even use it as your backup when you finally are able to upgrade to the f/1.2L! This lens is on my camera 95% of the time, because it’s just that amazing. For me, it’s the perfect focal length, and if I had to choose one lens to shoot an entire wedding with, this would be it!
2. 35mm f/1.4L I will be completely honest with you… I do not like the 35mm. I don’t necessarily recommend it because it’s just an amazing lens (I personally don’t think it is!), I recommend it because I feel like it’s necessary. If you’re photographing weddings, you’re bound to be in a situation where you’re stuck in a tight room. The 50mm is a great focal length, but sometimes you just need that liiiiiitle bit of extra space, and that’s where the 35mm comes in handy. Even though it’s not my favorite lens, I use it on every wedding day! Mostly in tight getting ready rooms, large bridal parties, and ALWAYS for dancing photos during the reception!
3. 100mm f/2.8L Macro This is definitely the next lens I recommend! The longer focal length is particularly helpful during the ceremony, when you don’t want to get too close and personal. But it really shines during detail portraits!! I use it for every wedding. You can’t beat the gorgeous macro detail photos it allows you to capture!
Those are the 3 lenses that I feel are essential to a successful wedding day. These next 3 lenses are ones that I believe should come after the first 3, and in whatever order makes the most sense for your business!
1. 24-70mm f/2.8 This lens is similar to the 35mm, because it’s very handy to have in a tight space, and it’s super fun for those extra-wide dancing photos! If you already own the 35mm and the focal length doesn’t have you jumping for joy, this may not be the lens for you.
2. 85mm f/1.2L You will hear many people rave about this lens! And yes, it’s just as creamy and wonderful as they say! But the 85mm is a bit of an acquired taste. To me, the focal length is too similar to my 50mm f/1.2L, and currently it’s not worth the huge chunk of change. Instead, I bought the 85mm f/1.4, and since I use it so rarely, I’ve been very happy with it! I definitely think it’s worth it to splurge on the f/1.2 if A) you can afford it, and B) you know that the 85mm focal length is your JAM.
3. 70-200mm f/2.8 This lens is an absolute beast… It’s massive! This is the perfect lens to use for ceremonies. The low aperture allows you to use it in dark venues, and the 200mm focal length gets super close to the action, without bothering the guests. It can also be useful for receptions, especially during the toasts and when you’re creepin’ around taking guest portraits ;) This lens to me is honestly just a workhorse – I wouldn’t use it for portraits, or details, or really for most of the day. But even still, it can be a helpful tool to have around.
Hopefully this list was helpful to you! Again, what works for me may not work at all for you! Definitely test out the lenses you’re interested, to see how they suit you!