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What lenses to take for a wedding: a set of a wedding photographer

Lens selection - the process is individual and creative. In this tutorial, I will describe several optimal sets in my opinion. This is what I came to with experience. I'll clarify right away that the main thing in photography is optics. Better you will have a simpler camera, but the lenses must be of high quality. Forget whale models like the Canon EF-S 18-135mm or EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6. First, the faster the aperture, the better. Secondly, fix is ​​better than zoom.
Let's go!


Perfect set

(Samyang 14mm f2.8, Canon 35mm f2 IS USM, Canon 85mm f1.8 USM)

best trinityThis is my personal choice. I love to shoot with fixes. These lenses offer amazing image quality, are compact and relatively inexpensive.

By and large, if you shoot in a purely reportage manner, you can only shoot 35mm all day. But for photo walks and portraits you need an 85mm lens (or 135mm is a matter of taste). But 85mm in focal length is much more convenient than 135mm, it is lighter and more compact. 14mm is needed for individual scenes. This is a very creative and specific lens. It can only be used from time to time and where it is appropriate.

Cons: There are situations when lenses have to be changed frequently for versatility. IN Registry office, for example, there is no time to change at all. Using 24-70 during the ceremony, you will receive many more different plans. On the other hand, for the rest of the day I can easily do without 24-70, so I still prefer 35mm.

Pros: All 3 lenses take up very little space in photo bagThey are lightweight and easy to use. Image quality is excellent. These three focal lengths allow you to shoot any situation and give any shot: wide, medium or close.

Update 5 years later: Now I would take Canon 17-40 f4L + 135mm 2L... In terms of convenience and quality, these lenses are more interesting than the set above.


The set is convenient

(Canon 24-70mm 2.8L, Canon 85mm 1.8)

The next set I would recommend. You shoot most of the day on 24-70mm. 85mm goes and is not removed during the photo walk. The restaurant is again 24-70. Everything is simple. I don't add to this set 14mm, because 24-70 already gives a wide angle. But this option is noticeably heavier than my favorite 14+35+85.

I take the 24-70mm + 85mm set for shooting if only the registry office + a walk is planned. in the registry office 24-70 allows you to shoot a little more interesting than just 35mm. And on a walk I use 85mm.


This set can be simplified to "mega-convenient" - you shoot everything only at 24-70 and do not worry. It gives a very high quality picture. The main disadvantage is that there is no bokeh that fixes and a wide angle of 14mm give.


Universal set

(Canon 24-70mm 2.8L, Canon 70-200mm 2.8L)

This is the choice for those who don't want any focal length restrictions. The set is heavy and cumbersome. Basically, I don't like 70-200 lenses. They are bulky and heavy. In my practice, 100mm copes with the role of a telephoto camera at 85%. But if you need to shoot an event with a large number of guests and snatch faces from the crowd, then 70-200 is certainly irreplaceable. This set is maximally tailored for reporting. If there are a lot of people, if the emphasis is more on photo chronicles than on artistry, then this is your choice.

Of course, you could add a few fixes here, but keep in mind that the more lenses you take with you, the less time you will use each one individually. As a result, I myself have seen photographers from the outside who take a bag with a bunch of lenses, and use only 2-3 of them for the whole day. You have to understand that a wedding is a dynamic event. You just won't have time, and there is no point in changing lenses every 10 minutes. For example, I find it unnecessary to carry a macro lens for several close-up shots of rings, when the same can be shot at 24-70.


Set for the lazy and creative

(Canon 50mm 1.4 + Samyang 14mm 2.8)

The lenses in the set for the lazy are quite light, which will not make it difficult to carry them on yourself for at least 14 hours in a row (which is possible on a wedding day). Moreover, these lenses can often not be changed. To fifty dollars Canon 50mm f1.4 I added 14mm here. This will noticeably add diversity. I called these two lenses a set for creative, since you will have to be creative due to the fact that both focal lengths are not very convenient. FROM fifty dollars you will often run out of frame space. And when you wear 14mm, the view becomes incredibly huge. This should be used, but carefully.

The downside is that portraits still need to be shot at longer focal lengths. In this set, we combine 35 and 85 into one lens. This adds to the compactness, but the artistic component still suffers. It is important to know where everything will take place and what shooting conditions will be. For example, for photo sessions on a yacht, where 85mm would have been cramped, this set has fully justified itself.


Set for the lazy

(Canon 16-35mm 2.8L + Canon 85mm 1.8)

If in the previous set I combined 35mm and 85mm, then in this set I combined 14mm and 35mm. What is the trick? For a reportage 16-35 is naturally more interesting than 14 and 35 separately. You can get a few extra shots that you would not have had time to take due to changing lenses.

The disadvantage of the kit is that Canon 16-35mm f2.8 is inferior in quality to Samyang 14mm 2.8 at wide angle and Canon 35mm f2 IS USM at long angle. For example, at 35mm with an open aperture of f2, you can get very good close-ups of rings. Samyang 14mm gives an even wider angle (there is still a difference between 14 and 16) and a sharper image throughout the frame starting from the open aperture. Zoom will not give such results. Plus, the 16-35 is more expensive than the two lenses combined. The set is in plus for convenience, in minus for quality.

By the way, now there are already 3 versions Canon 16-35 f2.8L (I, II, III). Each, naturally, is more expensive than the previous one.


Set "lord red rings«

(14mm 2.8L, 35mm 1.4L, 50mm 1.2L, 85mm 1.2L.100mm f2.8L macro, 135mm f2L)

Only Ls, only hardcore. Quality without compromise. We remove fees for 50mm, we remove for 35mm Registry office, 85mm and 135mm we get on a walk, at 100mm we remove the rings in close-up, 14 mm to taste here and there. This is all very cool, of course, but no normal client can tell the difference between a 35 f1.4L shot from a 35 f2 or 85 f1.8 from an 85 f1.2L shot. I'm talking about real clients, not about amateur photographers comparing bokeh and with a 300% approximation.

All this is not only expensive, but also heavy and cumbersome. When choosing optics, I am personally guided by the ratio of image quality / usability / price. For example, my favorite lens, the 85 1.8, offers excellent quality and is very compact at the same time. Canon 85mm f1.2L gives a slightly better picture, but weighs 1kg, takes up a lot of space in a bag and costs inadequate money. The choice is obvious.


Summing up

On the Internet, you can find various tips for choosing lenses for weddings. Not all of them should be followed. I recently read the article “6 lenses every wedding photographer should have“, By the way, there were a lot more lenses 6. They advised to take with you:

Canon 70-200 2.8L, Canon 24-70 f2.8L, Canon 16-35 2.8L, Canon 15 2.8 fisheye, Canon 50 1.4, Canon 100mm 2.8 macro and optional Canon 85 1.2L and Canon 24-105L. I have a feeling that the article is provided by a Canon distributor with the slogan: Let's buy everything off the counter and go shoot weddings!

You simply won't have time to use this amount of optics for the whole day. Even with two carcasses, it all makes no sense. I am already silent about the cost and weight of all this joy, which you have to carry on yourself all day.

There are many videos on youtube where professional photographers open backpacks full of expensive optics to overflowing, including telephoto a la 300 f2.8... They tell very convincingly why you simply cannot do without each lens (apparently, they are sponsored by optical manufacturers). The choice is individual - maybe for someone this is all real and should be carried with you to every shooting. My opinion - "well, it’s not healthy«.

For high-quality, interesting and versatile shooting, you will have enough 2-3 lenses. Which ones are up to you. I gave food for thought.

Also don't forget the on-camera flash. Without it, at the wedding, the photographer has nothing to do. I recommend godox flashes.

PS I quoted focal lengths based on working with a full frame.

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