The Best Lenses for Wedding Photography
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One of the great things about being a photographer these days is the incredible array of gear that's available to us.
I mean, you can shoot with anything from your smartphone to a Canon 5D Mark IV to a Leica film camera and get great results.
Likewise, you can use anything from a wide-angle to a telephoto lens for beautiful portraits.
But with all that selection comes a little confusion. I think that's particularly the case when it comes to lenses.
So, the question is, what are the best lenses for wedding photography?
In the video above, Mango Street provides their answer to the question.
Granted, just about every wedding photographer is going to give you a slightly different version of the answer, but this is a great place to start.
Editor's Tip: If you need another lens for your camera bag, don't buy one until you read about THE VIRTUES OF HAVING A PRIME LENS.
Best Canon Lens for Weddings: 35mm f/1.4 II
Released in August of 2015, the Mark II version of this lens quickly became a favorite of wedding and portrait photographers.
It's easy to see why, too.
Not only is the 35mm focal length ideal for portraiture when shooting with a full frame camera, but this particular lens also offers excellent performance.
The dual aspherical elements combined with the Ultra Low Dispersion element means that chromatic aberrations and color fringing are minimized, which gets you clear, sharp images.
Additionally, this lens has a Subwavelength Coating, which helps reduce lens flare and ghosting, the result of which is improved contrast and color accuracy when compared to the original version of this lens.
Another feature that's hugely important for wedding photography is the Ultra Silent Motor, which doesn't just provide you with virtually silent autofocus, but it's also very fast. That means no waiting around for the lens to focus on the subject, instead allowing you to capture the shots you need.
With full-time manual focus override, you can take control of focusing whenever it's necessary. That can prove to be advantageous in tricky lighting situations when the autofocus isn't quite up to the task.
Next Best Canon Lens for Weddings: 85mm f/1.2 II
While a 35mm lens is a fantastic primary lens for weddings, having something with a little more reach will give you the ability to vary your shots and get in tighter on the subjects without cramming the lens in their face.
For that task, the Canon 85mm f/1.2 is an excellent choice.
Released in 2006, this is a much older lens than the 35mm f/1.4 discussed above.
But don't let its age fool you...
Like just about any prime lens, this thing produces supremely sharp images thanks to a fewer number of optical elements in the lens.
Not only that, but the floating optical system that Canon used in this lens helps suppress aberrations like ghosting and flare to help you get even better results.
Like the 35mm lens discussed above, this rig also has a lightning-fast autofocus system, the importance of which cannot be understated when you're tasked with snapping quick shots of a wedding.
And as far as shallow depth of field and bokeh go, it's tough to beat this lens, which creates buttery smooth bokeh for gorgeous, artistic-looking results.
There's a problem with both of these lenses, though...they're expensive.
The 35mm f/1.4 II is around $1,650 brand new, and in the case of the 85mm f/1.2 II, you're looking at a new price of well over $1,800. Yikes.
Editor's Tip: Stretch your gear budget to the max by buying pre-owned lenses. SEARCH FOR HIGH-QUALITY USED LENSES RIGHT NOW.
Why Not Zoom Wedding Photography Lenses?
A lot of wedding photographers have a zoom (or two or three) in their kit, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
Something like a 24-70mm or 70-200mm lens has many excellent applications for weddings.
But if you're just starting out in wedding photography, it's hard to beat the advantages that prime lenses have over zooms.
Chief among those advantages is the ability to shoot with a larger aperture, which allows you to create a gorgeously shallow depth of field.
Not every photo you take will be carefully curated in front of a gorgeous background, so being able to fill the background with bokeh is definitely a plus.
Another advantage of the large apertures that prime lenses have is that it allows you to shoot in low-light situations without using a flash or using an obscenely high ISO.
Again, that gives you the ability to get more creative and take more shots while also keeping the images more natural looking and without worrying about graininess.
These Canon lenses are among the best wedding lenses for another reason - they're incredibly versatile.
It can be hard to make the transition from shooting with a zoom lens to shooting with a prime lens, but once you get the hang of it and understand that you need to simply move around a little more to get the shot you want, I think you'll find that prime lenses are a Godsend for your photography.
And, if nothing else, prime lenses are durable, tend to have a smaller form-factor, and in some cases, are less expensive than zoom lenses.
That's a whole lot of reasons that advertise why a 35mm or 85mm prime is the best canon lens for weddings!
And, due to the popularity of these lenses, there are plenty of used versions out there that you can buy.
Buying used lenses not only helps you stretch your budget to upgrade to a lens that might otherwise be out of your price range, but that also means that you can sell your old lenses and use the proceeds to finance your purchase.
What's not to like about that?!