What are your must-have lenses for wedding photography? — I get this question a lot! When I first started my business, I didn’t really know what lenses I needed, or which lenses I should invest in first. After shooting weddings for almost a decade, I definitely have my own preferences when it comes to the lenses I use for each portion of the wedding day.
If you’re just starting out as a wedding photographer, here are my recommendations for what I believe every photographers needs in their camera bag!
1. The 50mm Lens
This is the lens I suggest you purchase first before buying anything else. In some situations, you could shoot an entire wedding with this one lens. Spoiler alert: I did actually shoot an entire wedding day with a 50mm lens once. I love how versatile the 50mm is! It’s perfect for getting ready shots, bride & groom portraits, family formals, bridal party pictures, ceremony, and reception photos. You can even attach these magic macro filters (they are truly magical!) on top, and the 50mm lens instantly becomes a macro lens that you can use to photograph the wedding details.
2. The 85mm Lens
The 85mm is an amazing lens for portraits! It offers great compression and creates those beautiful, blurry backgrounds (bokeh). I used it a lot during the bride & groom portraits, and it never comes off during an engagement session. It’s my absolute favorite lens! I also use it for the bridesmaids and groomsmen photos, as well as for shooting the reception details (centerpieces, wedding cake, etc.).
3. The 24-70mm Lens
This lens is great to use in tight spaces like a small getting ready room. I also use the 24-70mm lens exclusively during the reception. It makes it very easy to go from taking a wide shot during the reception, to taking a portrait shot of the bride and groom with their guests. Also, the 24-70mm lens is great to photograph large bridal parties.
4. The 70-200mm Lens
The 70-200mm lens is an amazing lens to use if you like bokeh. If it wasn’t so heavy, I’d probably prefer using it over my 85mm lens. I tend to use it mostly for ceremony photos as it allows me to stand back and shoot from a distance, yet still capture those close, intimate moments.
5. Macro Filters
The only other lens I would add to this lineup, would be a macro lens. I’ve used the 105mm macro lens before and it’s an amazing lens! However, after trying these macro filters, I was hooked. For just a fraction of the cost, the macro filters help you achieve the same quality shots. I actually did an experiment where I took a ring shot with both a 105mm lens and a 50mm lens with a macro filer attached to it, and had my photographer friends tell me which shot looked best. Even with their trained eye, the winner was the shot taken with the macro filter!! The prices for macro filters range between $10-$30. They are SO inexpensive that you just have to give them a try!
This post that I wrote will teach you exactly how to choose the right size filters for your lens, and how to use them for the best results.
These are my must-have lenses for wedding photography! While I could add other lenses to this list (like the 35mm lens or the 24mm prime lens), I like keeping things simple on wedding days. I love having all of my equipment with me at all times, and being a gear minimalist allows me to fit all of my gear in one camera bag (this is the rolling carryon bag I use from Amazon).
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