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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 26 Jan 2017 (Thursday) 11:24
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Lenses for weddings?

Mostly Lurking
19 posts
Likes: 26
Joined Nov 2015
Jan 26, 2017 11:24 |  #1

I've recently broke into the wedding industry...Yay!
I have a Canon 6D, Sigma Art 35, and Cannon 50mm1.4.
I have to rent everything else. I'm going to be investing in a lens so I don't have to rent them all the time and feel like I'm throwing away money.
I usually rent the Canon 24-70 and 70-200 2.8ii

What lenses do you use for weddings? What parts of the wedding do you use each lens for? Which lens do you suggest I invest in?

I usually photograph families.

Thank you!

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Light Bringer
50,968 posts
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Joined Nov 2004
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Jan 26, 2017 15:32 |  #2

Covered in the Wedding FAQ, which is a bit old with regards to models but the lens recommendations still hold. Also asked most days so a search will help.

Short answer: it depends on the individual and the location, but I find 16-35, 24-70, and 70-200 my main lenses, with occasional use of the odd prime, I only have 50mm. If I had unlimited funds I'd buy another 100mm macro, I got rid of mine when I switched brands and use tubes, which are only ok. I'm seeing a lot of tilt shift use too.

I find lighting more important than lens choice generally.

Professional wedding photographer, solution architect and general technical guy with multiple Amazon Web Services certifications.
Read all my FAQs (wedding, printing, lighting, books, etc)

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Joined Dec 2016
Jan 26, 2017 19:00 |  #3

24-70 2.8 L for group shots and wide angle shots of bride getting ready. 50mm 1.2L for bride portraits and low light receptions. I just got my hands on a 35mm 1.4L and will start using it for the wide angle bride shots. 100mm 2.8 macro for rings, cake, and flower details.

Senior Member
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Jan 26, 2017 21:10 |  #4

In my opinion:

1) Specialised Lens like Macro, Fisheye, UWA(16-35mm, 12-24mm, etc) for rings, architecture, etc etc

2) Prime duet like 35mm / 85mm

3) Zoom duet like 24-70mm / 70-200mm


Canon 7D2+grip | 18-35mm ART | EF-S 10-18mm | EF 70-200mm f/2,8L IS II | ZE 2/100mm | ZE 2/35mm | ZE 1,4/85mm | CV 3,5/20mm | Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2,8D | DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2D |
Olympus E-PL3 | 7-14mm f/2,8 |
Speedlite 430EX III-RT | 600EX-RT | YN 600EX-RT |
Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod |

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Joined Oct 2008
Location: Knoxville, TN
Jan 27, 2017 20:35 |  #5

I shoot with two cameras (7D2 and 5D3) and for most of the day there's a 70-200 2.8L II on the 7D2 and a Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC on the 5D3. I could get by with just those if I needed to. I prefer to swap to fast primes (85L II or 50 1.4) for receptions, but I could do it with a 24-70. I have an older Canon 17-35 2.8L for really wide shots or small rooms and a Tamron 90 macro for shots of rings and details. 50 and 85 primes are useful for shallow DoF "make ready" shots. I'd probably use a 35 prime if I had one, since I've been in some places too tight for a 50 and had to use my 24-70.

If I were just starting out, the 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 would be my priority lenses. They can pretty much cover it all, especially if you add a a fairly cheap extension tube for macro. The rest just adds a little spice and variety to the mix.


56 posts
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Joined Oct 2012
Location: San Jose, CA
Feb 01, 2017 01:52 |  #6

Varies by individual, but for my wedding work I shoot with dual system with a 5D3 and A7RII.

My main lenses are Sigma 35 Art, Sigma 50 Art, Sigma 70 macro, Zeiss Batis 85 and as of recently I swapped out my 16-35II for a Zeiss Batis 25 as I found I don't go passed 24 all that much. Never liked mid range zooms and had the 70-200II but I prefer the look of a fast 85 prime more.

I could get by with just a 35/85 combo though.

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Joined Aug 2006
Location: Perth - Western Australia - Earth
Feb 01, 2017 09:52 |  #7

The last wedding i did was with a 1dmk4 - i normally used a 16-35 and 70-200
When i was using a 1DX i used 24-70/70-200 but never shot a wedding with that combo.

There was a ceremony i shot with a 400 f2.8 and 14f2.8 though, it was just as a second shooter, but the B+G really loved the pictures, especially as they walked back out of the church

My Best Imageswww.echo63.deviantart.​com (external link)
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Location: san francisco, CA
Feb 10, 2017 22:39 |  #8

Last wedding I shot primarily with 24-70/70-200 combo for the most part and throw in my 1.2 primes when I have time for creative stuff. I take out my 400mm for large churches with limited access and receptions if there's interesting lighting

Canon 1DX | 6D | 16-35/2.8II | 24-70/2.8II | 50/1.8 | 70-200/2.8 IS II | 85/1.4 | 100/2.8 IS macro | 200mm f/2 | 400/2.8 IS II | 2xIII
Leica M8.2 | Noctilux 50 f/1 | Elmarit 90/2.8 (external link) | Facebook (external link) | flickr (external link)

Senior Member
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Joined Jan 2007
Location: Lancashire, UK
Feb 12, 2017 05:25 |  #9

24-70mm & 70-200mm on 2 x 5Dmk3's, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye on a 550D. I use this setup all day.

tubes for any macro work..:)

http://www.michaelhard​ (external link)​rdcastlephotography

3,846 posts
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Joined Nov 2010
Feb 12, 2017 08:30 |  #10

What do I use?

45mm Tilt
100mm macro


Senior Member
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Joined Jun 2009
Location: Maryland
Feb 20, 2017 14:56 |  #11

I use a 35/85 combo for most of the day until the reception begins and then I swap out the 35 for a 24... I also keep a 50mm, 14mm and 105mm (135mm when I shot Canon) in the bag with me but I rarely use any of those for more than a shot or two.

If you're not sure what lenses/focal lengths you'd find most useful at this point then you might want to keep renting until you figure it out on your own. After you shoot a few weddings you'll know what gets the most use and can spend your money accordingly. Much of lens selection is personal preference and YMMV.

1513 Photo (external link)

Senior Member
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Joined Dec 2016
Location: Stratford, CT, USA
Mar 15, 2017 07:20 |  #12

The 24-70 ii and 70-200 ii are highly desirable lenses, so if those are working for you I would buy them then if you want to switch them out at some point sell them after acquiring a suitable replacement. Renting is so costly you're losing a lot of money by renting versus buying then reselling.

-Joe (external link) | RapidPhotoCT Facebook (external link) | RapidPhotoCT Instagram (external link)

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Joined Nov 2014
Location: Toronto Canada
Mar 15, 2017 10:34 |  #13

There are two reasons that the 24-70 F2.8 and 70-200 F2.8 IS zoom are the two most used and recommended wedding lenses:
1) zoom range covers everything needed
2) for the most part, F2.8 is the widest Aperture that will get most things in focus

the 35/85/135 crowd would argue
- the above combos create boring pictures (tiniest bit of truth but a good photog is still a good photog)
- the above combo is not fast enough for dark receptions (true - except if you have good off camera lighting)

the 24-70, 70-200 crowd would argue
- the 35/85 miss potential pictures zooming with their feet
- are too focused on 'perfect' pictures
- are obsessed with thin depth of field

the reality is that an experienced Pro can shoot a wedding on anything and an inexperienced amateur will struggle with the 'perfect' setup

if you asked 'most' experienced Canon wedding shooters the one camera, the one lens and the one flash they would take to shoot a wedding, they would answer:

- 5D4 (plus spare battery) + Canon 24-70 F2.8 + 600EX-rt (plus battery pack for bounced flash)

After the above setup, everything is a bonus and also an artistic choice (with the exception of lighting - great lighting can't be replicated with any lens or camera)

If I was a starting wedding photog, I would buy lenses in this order:
1) 24-70 F2.8
2) 70-200 F2.8 IS
3) Fast 50 (or close focus Tamron 45mm type lens)
4) 100macro
5) Fast 35
6) Fast 85

If you live in a very scenic area or shoot massive wedding parties, then #3 should be a 17-40 / 16-35. I'm not personally a big fan of this type of lens for weddings because of the potential for distortion, but I have seen it used very well by photogs who use it a lot but I personally would avoid it unless you are very good at 'using' it with 'people' as your target or you need it because of the venue.

My runner-up type of lens for indoor dance / receptions is a Fast 28mm - in my opinion, it is the perfect FL / DoF type tradeoff if shot at F1.8 - F2.

good luck

Hockey and wedding photographer. Favourite camera / lens combos: a 1DX II with a Tamron 45 1.8 VC, an A7Rii with a Canon 24-70F2.8L II, and a 5DSR with a Tamron 85 1.8 VC. Every lens I own I strongly recommend [Canon (35Lii, 100L Macro, 24-70F2.8ii, 70-200F2.8ii, 100-400Lii), Tamron (45 1.8, 85 1.8), Sigma 24-105]. If there are better lenses out there let me know because I haven't found them.

Cream of the Crop
9,080 posts
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Joined Jun 2009
Location: Metro Chicago
Mar 28, 2017 00:28 |  #14

I shot my first weddings with a Rolliflex which had a standard 80mm non-interchangeable lens.

It did the job.

As others have said, 16-35, 24-70, 70-200 is the go to kit for weddings.

I've shot a lot of weddings, especially those not in churches, with a 24-105.

Mostly, lens selection is a matter of preference, style and working habits.

The most important thing to remember is that the client hired you to document the most important day in their married life, not for you to show off your photographic skills.

David | Sharing my Insights, Knowledge & Experience (external link) | dmwfotos website (external link)

3 posts
Gallery: 2 photos
Joined Nov 2017
Location: Baltimore MD
Dec 01, 2017 18:38 as a reply to  @ wallstreetoneil's post |  #15

I have a 7D Mark II ,does the 24-70 need to be a canon lens? It’s out of my budget to buy even used. What about a Sigma 24-70 f 2.8?

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Lenses for weddings?
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