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Lens

Which Lens(es) should you use for a wedding shoot?

Recently I’ve had a few friends ask me about which lenses I use for my shoots.

I personally find this can be a bit of a loaded question. Each photographer is different and has different styles. So ultimately I believe it’s for you to experiment and decide with what works best for you!

Saying that I’m still more than happy to share what I’m currently shooting with and what I find works for me!

My first choice for wedding shoots is the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8. This is arguably my favourite lens that I have. There’s just something about the bokeh, the sharpness, the durability and even the colour profile of the lens that makes me jump for joy whenever I use it! Because of the focal length and zoom factor, it gives me a lot of flexibility at weddings. And because I focus on candid moments, I like to shoot from a distance, and often the subject doesn’t know that I’m taking the photo. In addition, the focal length of 70-200mm is also perfect for portraitures for the bride and groom. In fact, I’d say over 50% of my wedding shots use the 70-200mm!

Classic portraiture shot of Jess with the 70-200mm
Close up shot of Jess during the ceremony. The zoom factor allowed me to stand from a distance and not be intrusive but also zoom right into Jess’s expression during the ceremony!

My other commonly used lens is a prime Nikon 35mm f1.8. Apart from conventional portraiture which I use the 70-200mm for, I love a photojournalistic style of photography. It’s a great style to tell a story, and I can’t see why I can’t translate that style into a wedding shoot! I love using the 35mm to capture my subjects, but also capture lots of the environment behind them as well. The 35mm is really perfect for any environmental portraits, just look at any National Geographic magazines and you’ll likely see the 35mm put to great use. Just remember, if you don’t like lens distortion that much, you’ll have to do some lens correction to flatten out your image in post-production. 

However, you can always use the distortion to your advantage. I often utilize the 35mm to take close up shots of the couples interacting. The distortion of the 35mm can create some interesting angles that you simply won’t get with a 70-200mm or even a 50mmm. In addition, when shooting weddings you always want at least one lens to be able to drop down to f1.8 because of the low light you’ll be dealing with later on at night!

Environmental shot with the 35mm. Shooting with the 35mm allows you to capture your subjects, but also include lots of the background to provide you with context in regards to the setting of the photo.
Up close with the 35mm of Kehren and Roman. Notice the slight distortion at the far ends of the frame which creates a unique angle, almost like the image is coming towards you and wrapping around you. It creates a sense of intimacy, whilst a 70mm or even 50mm would create a much flatter image that’s less intimate.

I also frequently use a Nikon 16-35mm f4 for some wide angled shots of the wedding venue, but it’ll usually only be a handful of shots. As for backups, I carry a 50mm and 24-70mm in my kit bag. And if the light is reaaaaalllyyy low and it’s difficult or not suitable to use flash, I’ll carry the 35mm and 50mm combination as they drop all the way down to f1.8 and f1.4 respectively!

So that’s my current pick of the crop. Through some experimentation, that’s what I’ve found has worked best for myself and my unique style. I’ve utilized some other combinations in the past, but currently, this is what I’m favouring.

I firmly believe it’s entirely up to you to find what combination works for you and the style you are looking for. So get out there and start experimenting!

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