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Since wedding photography is probably the largest branch in the photography industry worldwide, it has absorbed a lot of photographers and each have their own way of doing things. Surely, if a general overview was possible, you would see that most play but a set of unwritten rules and guidelines. Such is the universal recipe of the “holy trinity”, the ultra-wide lens, the standard zoom, and the telephoto zoom, with most brands.
In this article I won’t be talking about any specific lens, but rather about the focal lengths that I personally believe work best for weddings. Of course, choices depend on a number of things, including personal style, but I thought I’d share my personal selection of focal lengths for photographing these events. Keep in mind, all these are indicated for the full frame format.
Before you automatically label me as a “Canon guy” who uses the 16-35 f2.8L, let me just say that I still think it’s the best length even with a 14-24 f2.8 Nikon. Why? Because it’s the perfect solution for dealing with a number of situations, without ridiculously distorting the corners. These situations include the large groups that we all love to photograph and the crowded dance floors. It’s also a great focal length to shoot from waist level because it will still capture the full body and give a more natural perspective than that of eye level. Also, it can work magic at wedding photo shoots combined with some smart lighting. So, for wide angle, go with 16.
I found myself using this focal length a surprising number of times recently on my 24-70mm f2.8 standard-as a uniform- lens. They didn’t make it the universal range for nothing. It’s very versatile and you can do anything from portraits to even small groups. Ideally, it should be used as a prime, and as you might have guessed it, the faster the better. Be advised though, f1.2 isn’t for everybody. Accurate focusing can be a pain in the rear, but if you get it right, the results can look amazing. Not to mention the awesome way a fast 50mm prime will handle the less photography friendly places like churches.
It’s kind of hard to pick between this and 85mm. The 85 is, according to many voices, the ideal length for portraits, yet sometimes when I use it I feel the need for a bit more space between me and the bride and groom. There are just some moments that need to be stolen so to speak, and for that, 85mm is a bit too short. Why not full telephoto at 200mm? Well, this might be just a personal thing, but I don’t like to keep too far from the action, nor do I like to be right in their faces. 135mm lets me have a balance between these two extremes and that’s why I wish both Canon and Nikon would add the option of locking any focal length you want. But that’s another story.
Copyright: Olena Zaskochenko