It goes without saying that you’re going to want the best lens possible for your wedding photography portfolio.
You’re in charge of capturing all those precious moments that the bride and groom will be looking back at for years to come, so you’re going to want every single image to look spectacular.
Not to mention, the better your portfolio looks, the more weddings you’ll book, and the wider your name will spread.
Many wedding photographers have shared that this specific photography is a mixed bag, and doesn’t really fit into one specific area.
You’ll need to be ready to photograph the family outside, the speeches inside, close-ups of the newlyweds, and countless requests from the guests.
Due to this, choosing the best lens for weddings may be a harder task than you may think.
Of course, there is no one lens that is going to fit all of the different scenarios that you’re going to have to be ready for when shooting a wedding.
You’re going to need a lot of experience, a professional DSLR camera, and a range of high-quality lenses. Luckily, we’re here to help you out in finding the best lenses for those special days.
We’ve chosen five of the most popular lenses for wedding photography and chosen the best one for each category.
Below is the buyer’s guide you’ll find expanded explanations on each of these lens types.
We’d advise you to read this first and choose the one that sounds best for you before looking at the one we’ve chosen as the top lens for that category.
In a hurry?
Best Lens for Weddings – Comparison Table
Best Lens for Weddings – Reviews
Best Lens for Weddings – Buyers Guide
Now we’ve looked at five of the best lenses for wedding photography, let’s have a look at a few factors that you should consider before committing to one lens. Below are the most important considerations that you need to remember to be able to choose the best lens for your shoots.
Type of Lens
As it is advised that you take a range of lenses with you to each wedding shoot, it is difficult to determine which one lens is the best. This is simply because there are lots of different lenses that work best for different situations.
As wedding days are usually held in different environments, you’re going to want different lenses to suit each area.
Below we’ll outline five of the most popular lenses to be used at weddings. We have included one of each lens in our top five list, so you’ll be able to find the best model for each lens category within this article.
Wide Angle: 24-70mm f/2.8
The focal length on these lenses can be adjusted thanks to the versatile range, meaning that you have a lot of options to switch between quickly and effortlessly. This means that you won’t have to waste time switching lenses and potentially missing the shot.
A 24-70mm is best used for capturing candids of guests chatting or arriving, location pictures, and detailed images of the decorations.
This is a well-rounded lens that is best used for distance shots that capture the action and excitement of the day. There are definitely better lenses for portraits and close-ups, but the 24-70mm can still deliver beautiful portraits if you’re at a push.
Telephoto: 70-200mm f/2.8
This is an excellent lens that many photographers enjoy using at weddings, as you don’t need to be close to your focus at all. In fact, you can remain at the sidelines of the wedding and still capture amazing moments, both close-up shots and wider ones, thanks to the quality at each focal length.
This is particularly helpful during the ceremony when you don’t want to be seen.
The 70-200mm can also be used for stunning portraits, making this lens excellent for the whole day. If you were on a budget and wanted to only use one lens for the whole wedding, we would suggest a 70-200mm thanks to its versatility.
Other lenses would excel in different areas, however, you’ll still be able to use this lens for respectable images.
This is definitely one of the best lenses for portrait photography. You can use this for the newlywed photos, as well as the family pictures. The backgrounds blend away and the faces are clear and defined – offering you perfect portraits every time.
It also works well in low light levels, making it great if the wedding continues into the evening.
While you can use this lens to cover a whole wedding if you are on a budget, it is going to require more effort on your part to get the best shots.
That is why we’d suggest using one of the above lenses for wider shots, however, the 85mm prime is definitely the best for portraits.
Wide Prime: 35mm
The 35mm is an excellent lens to use when you’re capturing the details of the wedding, especially when the bride is getting ready. This is one of the most important parts of the day for a wedding photographer, as you’re expected to get a lot of images with little time and little space to work with.
You’ll also be able to use the 35mm to get wide shots without the edges becoming distorted.
This lens allows you to get extremely close to the jewelry, shoes, or flowers that you’re capturing without the focus failing you. It’s also very good at low light levels, which hotel rooms are notorious for.
The 35mm gives you results that make the viewer think that they’re actually there, which allows the bride and groom to relive their special day over and over again.
Macro lenses are excellent for capturing details such as ring exchanges and flowers. Moreover, they also excel at portrait photography and shoots that feature bright sunlight. If you want to be able to capture all of the small details of the wedding, a macro lens needs to be in your camera bag at every wedding you photograph.
What Camera Do You Have?
Lenses are not one size fits all. Different models are only compatible with select cameras, so make sure that you choose a lens that will fit with your camera.
The last thing you want is to turn up to a wedding without a compatible lens, so make sure you choose a lens made especially for your camera and then test it before the actual wedding day.
You’ll need to consider the setting of the weddings before choosing the best lens to shoot them. As we’ve shown above, all lenses can really be used to solely shoot a wedding, however, they will each excel at different aspects.
Again, you’re not going to be buying lenses for only one wedding, and all weddings are different. This makes choosing one lens difficult, so we cannot really suggest one that fits all situations.
Having said that, we’d advise that you choose a lens that suits the type of weddings that you’re going to be shooting most commonly. We’ve included some examples below.
Weddings during the hottest months of the year are likely going to feature a bright sun beating down on everyone all day. This calls for a lens that works well in bright light, as opposed to low light conditions.
Most lenses can be used in bright light, however, it is still worth checking that your chosen model works well with strong sunlight.
While less common than daytime weddings, some couples choose to get married later in the day. These may begin in the late afternoon or early evening, and depending on the time of year, you may need a low light lens to be able to get good shots.
Moreover, these can also be helpful in poorly lit halls, churches, or hotel rooms. Low light lenses often come in handy, so it’s worth considering whether you might need one.
Portrait or Wide Shots?
Like we talked about earlier, some lenses are better for close-up shots whereas others are better for further away images. Most photographers choose one type of photograph that they excel at and use this as their main selling point when pitching themselves to the engaged couples.
For example, if you say that you’re best at portrait photography, you should choose a lens for portraits so that you can live up to your name.
Different lenses can be used for all sorts of photographs, however, they all work best for one or two picture types. You’re going to want to choose the lens that best suits your preferred shot, but that can still work well at other images.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many lenses should you use while shooting a wedding?
This all depends on you and your budget. Some wedding photographers like to carry up to ten lenses, whereas others only carry one or two. It’s worth mentioning that the more lenses you use, the better your portfolio is likely to look.
This will allow you to book more weddings and charge more per hour, so it may be worth investing in more than one in the long run.
Last Updated on 2020-12-07 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates