Lenses for Wedding Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by wet, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. wet

    wet TPF Noob!

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    What are the recommended lenses to use for wedding photography? During the ceremeony, are there any rule of thumb which lens should be used, when & why?
    I saw some experience professional photographers seems to be switching between lenses so confidently. How do they know when to do it without testing it with the existing one to see if the current one works?
    Thanks.
     
  2. shortpballer

    shortpballer TPF Noob!

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    I think photographers for the most part use some sort of zoom lens during the ceremony. Because the photographer is normally quite far from the bride and groom a wide angle or "normal" lens would be much less versatile. A zoom lens would allow for close-ups of important moments like the kiss and the reading of vows etc.
     
  3. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    I and the other photographers I know try to keep a pretty full range in the bag.

    For me that's a 16-35, 28-70, 50 and a 70-200.

    For pre-ceremony shots in the parlor, I usually use the 28-70 on one camera with a speedlight, and the 50 on the other camera. The 50 is a faster lens (F/1.4) and the depth of field it creates can really highlight the drama and romance of getting ready for the ceremony.

    During the ceremony I usually use the 70-200 on a monopod. It's great for getting in close without disrupting the ceremony. But I also know people who use a shorter range like the 24-70.

    For portraits after the wedding I usually use the 28-70 depending on how big the bridal party is. If I can swing it, I'll keep using the 70-200 since longer focal lengths tend to be more flattering. For light I usually have a speedlight or two (again, depending on how big the party is) on stands firing with the help of some pocketwizards.

    During the reception I have the 28-70 on one camera and the 16-35 on the other. Usually both with a speedlight attached. The 28-70 does a better job when someone pulls you aside and asks you to catch a picture with so-and-so. The 16-35 is absolutely excellent on the dance floor.

    I think the focal range mostly comes down to preference and personal technique. Most wedding photographers need zoom lenses because there isn't enough time be running back and forth to your bag to switch lenses. And, there isn't always the room to move around to compose the shot you want.

    But, for the most part, just about all serious wedding photographers need fast lenses. F/2.8 or faster usually. Inevitably there will come a time when the venue for the ceremony doesn't allow for flash and in a dark chapel, f/5.6 just isn't going to cut it unless you boost the ISO up so high that all you can see is grain.

    For any professional, I think it's wise to cover most common focal lengths. But even more importantly, to spend the money on good, fast lenses.
     
  4. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I agree with what bpetruzzo said.

    During the ceremony I leave my 70-200 attached the whole time. You have to minimize the the running around as much as possible and often times there are church imposed rules about where you can and can't be standing. Also, you can't be standing right on top of the couple regardless of the church rules, so a fast long zoom is your best bet.

    At the reception, while I have used the 70-200 quite a bit, for table shots and dance floor shots I use the 24-70 or 17-40 the most. A flash is a must have.

    I've messed with some of my super fast primes (50L and 85L) and honestly, I'm better off with a zoom and a flash. You're running around enough in a typically crowded environment, so your ability to zoom with your feet is limited.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You really answered your own question, "experienced professional photographers." The key is experience.
     
  6. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    I am by no means a wedding togger,
    But I asked this question myself a while back,
    One of the replies was "I just pick up a lens and go"
    then I replied with "but wouldn't that lower your chance of getting the shot."
    His reply, "if you learn your lens' Capabilities anything is possible."

    Obviously you put a little thought into what you take though
    and the most important thing firs, Scope out where you will be shooting,
    Are you close to the wedding or far from it?
    if you answered far, a 70-300mm AF USM IS should do for the ceremony
    or the 70-200L if your on a better budget
    for the Portrait shots, a 28-70mmL lens should do
    the 28-70 should also do for the indoor bridal prep too
    so a 28-70mm L and a 70-200mm L and your pretty much set.
     

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