What lenses do you need to wedding photographing?
Demand in the title is one of those that torment humanity from the night of the times (…). So in this article, I carry the translation of a post about one of the most famous online photographers.
Today I will share information about the lenses I use during the various parts of a wedding day (preparation, reception, ceremony, etc.). I will focus on my approach and my method in relation to what I bring with me.
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We need to be sure to have a wide range of lenses and first opt for fixed lenses so I can shoot with wide openings in low light situations without the need for flash.
Lenses I bring with me:
35 mm f / 1.4 – this wide angle lens is ideal for capturing the entire room. The bride is preparing, as well as for making pictures while preparing bridesmaids in small groups;
85 mm f / 1.2 – this lens is traditionally used to capture portraits of the bride while preparing and bridesmaids from afar. The 85mm lenses has a beautiful photojournalism, so I like to stand at the farthest point in the preparation room and shoot with such a diaphragm that the bride comes in focus and objects/people in the foreground blur;
50 mm f / 1.2 – this goal is the most multipurpose in my opinion. It’s not as wide as 35 mm (which sometimes can include like the hotel’s corner of the hotel or a messy closet) but offers more freedom than the 85mm (with a faster focus too!). I use 50 mm to photograph everything from preparation to spontaneous shots to bride while dressing and other details;
100mm f / 2.8 Macro – this lens is ideal for catching small (but important) details such as wedding rings, beads on a dress or small sparkling details.
Arrival to the ceremony place about 30 minutes before the start, so I can document the mackerel site by guests, clothing, or bags that can sometimes weaken photography. During this time, I load my small bag with the lenses I will need to document this part of the day.
Lenses I bring with me:
70-200mm IS f / 2.8 – this lens is my favorite lenses for weddings with more than 75 guests. The goal is always to go unnoticed to the wedding guests, so I try to stay safe from the bride and groom for most of the ceremony. This zoom is great for close-ups, as well as for fast focusing, for situations like the wedding party or the bride walking down the aisle;
35mm f / 1.4 – this lens is ideal for a panoramic photo of the ceremony venue and guests sitting during the promises. It helps to describe the scenery of the ceremony and helps to tell the story;
50mm f / 1.2 – I take this lens when someone asks for a portrait. It’s common for guests to be photographed or a family member asking for a quick group photo, so in these cases, I’m prepared with a lens that’s perfect for this request.
Portraits (family, nun party, bride, groom)
The goal for me during this part of the day is to be always ready and I have a myriad of lenses that give me the chance to change quickly, according to the size of the group I am photographed. For example, family photos may vary among 35 people in one shot and 4 in the next.
I do not want to use the same lens in this situation, so I bring the lenses that will offer more variety. When it comes to photographing the bride and groom, I use 50mm, 35mm, and 85mm diffusely as they reflect my style and vision.
Lenses I bring with me:
35mm f / 1.4 – this has become my favorite target recently. I love the amplitude of this goal (it captures almost what the eye sees naturally) and works well for groups ranging from 2 to 9 people;
24mm f / 1.4 – this goal is impressive for large groups. Any group with more than 10 people is largely documented with 24mm, although I have to alert you to leave space on the edges of the photo because this lens distorts the edges. You do not want Aunt Mae to complain because her back is twice as big as normal because of your photography, right ?!
50mm f / 1.2 – I occasionally use this lens for portraits ranging from 1 to 2 people. It is fantastic for the bride and the parents, as well as the groom and witnesses, and is a great goal to portray the bride and groom;
85mm f / 1.2 – JD uses this lens for portraits to distance themselves to capture spontaneous moments that occur while positioning couples and groups for official photos. This goal is ideal to capture that stolen look that a bride gives her groom, a bridesmaid setting her flower basket, or the ring bearer weeping in her grandmother’s arms. As a second photographer, JD is great at anticipating (and capturing) these moments.
I love fixed lenses for the reception because they offer a lot of flexibility in situations of low brightness. I usually take a shot using a blend of flash and ambient light, but I personally prefer photos illuminated with natural light.
They give a more natural charm and a touch of authenticity to the party, but also use flash when the creative team (florist, caretaker, coordinator) prefers traditionally lit photos. I also have a light source of artificial lighting installed in a corner of the room that creates enough light for photos that are usually too dark, especially during the first dance.
Lenses I bring with me:
35mm f / 1.4 – this lens is ideal for an overview of the reception (when I can clean up the room to get a free view and nobody in the background) as well as for the big entrance. When the wedding party has begun, I love concentrating on the subjects, but I also like the story told about their entrance, which usually concerns guests who welcome them. I also use this goal for a portion of the first dance to capture a large part of people watching the couple and the story surrounding the moments of the beginning of their life as a husband and wife;
50mm f / 1.2 – Use this lens for detail photos (main table, single tables, centerpiece, wedding cake, toast, dessert bar, seating charts, etc.) as well as spontaneous photos during Cocktails, when time allows. The 50mm is great for the first dance even when I want attention to both the bride and groom;
85mm f / 1.2 – I love this goal for its ability to allow me to stay away with little light and capture what I want. The 85mm is great during the father/daughter dance, the speeches, and the first dance. There is something magical in the light that captures and in the effect it produces. However, because of its weight, I put this goal far away in the backpack just as the formal dances are over … it’s too heavy!
24mm f / 1.4 – this is my favorite target for capturing the party and the dance. Yes, the photos of dancing people are important (and JD catches them brilliantly), but when it comes to ballroom dancing, the story surrounding the guests is as important as the dancers themselves. The reactions tell a very different picture and the 24 mm is so wide to capture them really well.
I hope this article will clarify my ideas about the choice of goals during my work, and I wish you all the best and that you can find the best solution for you. To see a list of all the photographic tools I use, do not hesitate to read this post.
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