Are you seeking the ultimate guide to wedding photography lenses? Think about what you, your clients, and your wallet will need in your bag.
Congratulations, you have secured your first wedding photography job! You're thrilled, anxious, and perhaps even overawed. Or maybe you've been shooting weddings for years and would like to upgrade your equipment with a new lens that gives you more creative control. In any case, this guide to the top lenses for wedding photography should come in handy.
Wedding photography is challenging because the couple has entrusted you with documenting one of the most important days of their lives. Different photographic approaches are required for various moments throughout a wedding. Keeping this in mind, there is an ideal lens for every photograph, from group photographs to individual portraits to close-ups of the ring and cake to wide-angle shots of the first dance.
Look to other wedding photographers for ideas while experimenting with the various lenses available. Improving as a photographer is always trying new things, practising what you've learned, and keeping up with the latest trends in the field.
It's essential to consider the specifics of the wedding you'll photograph while deciding on the most acceptable lens for the job. When will we start shooting, for instance? Is it a themed wedding or a more conventional ceremony? How many people are expected to attend the ceremony? Do you have a second shooter with you, or are you operating alone?
These things can help you decide which lenses to bring to a wedding. It might not be practical to carry a large assortment of lenses if the couple only hired you for a few hours (enough time for the ceremony and wedding photographs). You'll want to have more flexibility when filming for 12 hours or more.
A more extended wedding not only gives you more time to switch lenses but can also encourage you to shift your perspective and think more creatively, which is where those lenses come in. Marriage ceremonies in some cultures might stretch for several days. There will likely be dozens of more minor rituals spread out over the course of the wedding day, so you may need to bring a variety of lenses to capture them all.
Getting your hands on the most costly or widely used lenses isn't necessarily the best way to find the best lens for wedding photography. Knowing which lens is best for your skill level, client, and personal style requires effort and research. The foundations of the various lens types will be covered before we go into lens selection for weddings.
Prime Lenses For Shooting Weddings
In photography, a prime lens is invaluable, but especially so for weddings. A professional photographer will include a prime lens, a zoom lens, and a macro lens in their bag, even though many wedding photographers only use prime lenses.
In comparison to other lens types, prime lenses are preferred because of their quickness and portability. Since the glass has a predetermined focal length, the resulting images are exceptionally crisp. The most excellent prime lens for shooting weddings is a must if you want to take professional-quality photos quickly.
Zoom Lenses For Shooting Weddings
Nowadays, even a novice wedding photographer should carry a zoom lens in their suitcase. The correct zoom lens for wedding photography will let you experiment with different focal lengths, allowing you to record the activity without being a part of it and providing you with the freedom to explore new and unique angles.
Micro Lenses For Shooting Weddings
A macro lens is a piece of standard equipment for most professional wedding photographers. Why? The macro lens allows you to go close to your subject and capture incredible detail, which is impossible with most other lenses. Macro lenses will enable you to catch photographs of tiny details, such as the wedding ring, the decor, or the beading on a garment, giving your wedding photos a magazine-worthy quality.
Though macro lenses might be crucial, they are usually the most expensive, and for beginner wedding photographers, there's no harm in using a 50mm prime lens for detail shots. However, when you have gained some experience, come back to us for recommendations on the best macro lens for wedding photography.
Remember that the lens you choose to use will be specific to the camera that you have. Keep in mind that a 50mm lens will produce a slightly different effect when used with a crop sensor but will still function properly with a full-frame camera. For the time being, we will presume that you are primarily using a full-frame camera.
You should give careful consideration to the following focal lengths while making your choice:
- 35mm f/1.4, 1.8
- 50mm f/1.2, 1.4, 1.8
- 24-70mm f/2.8
- 70-200mm f/2.8
- 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Best Canon Lenses For Wedding Photography
Canon 50mm f/1.2L
When it comes to capturing the magic of a wedding—the stuff of fairy tales—a good 50mm lens is hard to beat. The Canon 50mm f/1.2L is an excellent choice for wedding photographers in need of a 50mm lens. With this lens, your wedding photos will look like they were taken straight out of a Disney movie.
This lens is ideal for both amateur and professional wedding photographers equally (and is highly recommended to everyone with a camera). This 50mm lens creates a surreal atmosphere that hasn't been duplicated. But it should be part of a kit rather than a standalone option as you'll likely want some sharp, non-ethereal photos.
Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E
One of the finest Canon lenses for wedding photography? How about a lens that can shift its focus? For a marriage? Yep! This lens is fantastic, capable of capturing shots that can't be recreated in post-production. To zero in on only what you want to see, the Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E focuses on that while blurring out the background.
This lens is not recommended for novice photographers because of the learning curve involved in mastering it. However, this 45mm lens may work wonders for your wedding pictures if adequately utilised. Photograph the newlyweds in unconventional poses and take stunning images of the ceremony and reception backdrop.
Although this lens is a fantastic addition to your wedding lens arsenal, we recommend saving its use for the ceremony and reception's more serene moments. Also, this lens is often 30–40% less expensive than its Nikon equivalent.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II.
Wedding photography without this lens is like an ice cream cone without the ice cream. One of the fastest and sharpest lenses is the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II.
Even though it's designed for sports photography, this lens is a must-have for any serious wedding photographer. When shooting with a massive number of visitors in an open area or a large church, you may require the ability to approach close despite being far from important plays, much like a sports photographer. Canon's excellent Image Stabilisation allows you to go close to the pair without compromising their comfort.
Consider yourself on the periphery of the dance floor while everyone else is having the time of their lives in the middle of the action. For situations like this, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II is your best friend. You won't have to waste time explaining to the bride why she appears like a ghost in every reception shot, thanks to the camera's ability to perform well in low light conditions.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Macro lenses are notoriously pricey and often unnecessary for photographers. Pictures of the ring, the location of the reception, and other seemingly little aspects of the big day are essential.
It's not a proper wedding picture shot without some shots of the ring, and with the best macro lens for wedding photography, you can't go wrong. Use your imagination to take pictures of the bride's outfit, the rose in the groom's front pocket, or the champagne bubbles rising to the top of the glass.
Amazing studio-quality photographs that will make an impression when it's time to show off your work are within your reach with the 100mm f/2.8 macro. Through this lens, you will be able to capture nuances that many other photographers would miss, enriching the story. Don't lose sight of the forest for the trees!
Best Nikon Lenses For Wedding Photography
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Due to its bulkiness and heavy weight, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 is often left at home by casual photographers who are always on the move. However, the versatility and power of this lens surpass those of any other. Many professional photographers who specialise in weddings use nothing but this lens and a 50mm for their portraiture.
You can use the zoom feature to get close to your subject or zoom out to capture a broader landscape, all while keeping the lens's high standard of image clarity and sharpness. Because of this, it has become a standard among professional wedding photographers. This lens is perfect if your approach to photography is more documentary than editorial and you like to blend into the background to get stunning natural photos.
One of the greatest Nikon lenses for wedding photography, whether you're shooting your first or fifty-first.
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G
When it comes to wedding and portrait photography, this is a top-tier lens. The photos you take during a wedding must stand out and make the bride and groom look like movie stars on their big day.
Incredibly stunning bokeh is achieved by shooting at f/1.4, which causes foreground subjects to pop out of the frame while the background blurs into a hazy, surreal state. This lens is standard equipment for portrait photographers. This is the lens to choose if you want your wedding photographs to rival those in glossy magazines.
One of the most nerve-wracking aspects of wedding photography is trying to get a picture of the first kiss. One shot taken with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G t (maybe with some of that ethereal vignette added) is all it takes to capture the couple's undying love, though only if you're a master of the lens.
Nikon 24mm f/1.4G
All Nikon purists agree that this is the top wide-angle lens for wedding photography. And why is it considered by many to be the best lens for wedding photography? It's quick, bright, and crisp and takes in a wider range of what's in front of you. Both the couple and their guests/staff might be featured in the frame. This lens is a bonus for getting that perfect documentary shot, even in dim lighting.
This wide beauty angle is ideal for a variety of focal lengths and camera settings, giving your wedding photography the competitive edge you need to keep getting booked.
However, it requires experimentation and plays like any other lens. Don't forget to keep your sense of wonder alive; the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G is capable of producing some truly breathtaking images, even if you're under a great deal of pressure shooting a wedding.
Nikon 58mm f/1.4G
This is not the lens for the amateur on a tight budget who wants to take photos during their wedding. It's meant for a seasoned shopper with much to spare.
The Nikon 58mm f/1.4G is an excellent choice for photographers who have shot some weddings but want to branch out into other genres. If a potential customer were to peruse your portfolio, they would discover images that the vast majority of wedding photographers simply cannot get.
Best Sony Lenses For Wedding Photography
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8
In addition to taking portraits of the wedding party, family, and guests, it is also essential to take group shots and shots of the reception venue to remember the big day. When you don't have access to a second camera or the luxury of time to switch lenses during critical moments, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens is your best bet for capturing nearly any scene.
Ideal for those just starting in photography, this all-purpose lens is a must-have for any wedding photographer's kit.
Sony 35mm f/1.4 ZA
Sony's offering is not a starter but the main course in terms of wedding lenses. The brilliant Zeiss anti-reflective coating ensures that you know it will be stunning even before the image is uploaded to a computer. This lens can do everything from broad landscape shots to close-up portraits.
The weight and cost of this lens are more than made up for by the quality of the photographs it produces. Sony photographers shooting weddings need this 35mm lens. The Sony 35m f/1.4 ZA is capable of producing stunning images in any lighting condition, day or night.
Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS
For wedding photography, this is arguably the best macro lens available. Amazing optics can be found in the Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS. It's common knowledge that this lens excels at capturing images of the engagement ring, but what about the reception food and drinks? Close-ups of the wedding feast are an excellent way to set a mood and highlight the event's aesthetic. This lens will enhance your portfolio whether you're shooting the main course or the crystal on a wine glass from close range. It's also a terrific strategy for considering a career change into food photography.
Using the Sony 90mm f/2.8, you can capture every nuance of the ceremony and reception. Take advantage of this lens while photographing the couple as they get ready for the wedding, especially if you are shooting in one of their childhood homes. Include a close-up of their library, complete with their prized volumes, prized albums, and childhood playthings. No matter the theme, including such specifics in your wedding photography, will make the final product more meaningful to the couple commissioning it.
Sony 55mm f/1.8 OSS
The Sony 55mm f/1.8 OSS isn't pocketable, but it's light and compact and performs admirably in almost any environment. The lens is close enough to fit in a pocket but powerful enough to use when called for.
The 55mm is a fantastic choice for low-light portraits, group shots, close-ups, and environmental shots. When photographing weddings, this prime lens is among the best available. Think about the strain on your feet and back that staying on your feet for eight to twelve hours would cause while shooting a wedding. The light and compact Sony 55mm f/1.8 OSS ensures you are always ready for anything.
Best Sigma Lenses For Wedding Photography
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art
Is it unclear why you should get the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art? The reason is straightforward: not only are most Sigma lenses compatible with popular brands like Nikon, Canon, Sony, and others, but they also tend to be more reasonably priced. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art also performs well when focusing on an object. In this case, the focal length proves decisive; among all lenses, a 35mm camera has the most fantastic range of motion and is, therefore, one of the best for telling a tale. You may use it to take pictures of landscapes, people, and anything in between with ease.
Most wedding photography requires constant movement. Sometimes you have to rush up and down the aisle, popping from side to side, to get the most pleasing shots of everyone. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art is an excellent option for wedding photography since it allows for a great deal of freedom of movement about the subject, ensuring that you never miss a moment or lose your ability to create a story. After all, a wedding is the epitome of a fairytale come true.
Sigma 24-105mm f/4
In addition to being a multipurpose lens, this is a wide-angle lens. This lens is ideal for wedding photography, particularly for those just starting and wanting to enhance their optical stabilisation, image quality, and budget.
This lens is terrific because it allows you to take a wide shot of the wedding scene (with the guests seated and waiting in expectation) at 24mm, then zoom in to a super-sharp, stabilised portrait of the couple at 50mm or 105mm. This lens has an extraordinary focal length range, excellent focusing speed, and precision.
The Sigma 24-105 f/4 is one of the best Sigma lenses for wedding photography, though you should still consider carrying a prime lens (either a 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm) as your secondary lens for more intimate, dreamy photos.
Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG
The 12mm focal length gives photographers the best of both worlds, allowing them to capture stunning close-ups as well as dramatic wide-angle shots. A wedding photographer might not typically carry this lens around. Still, the unique perspective it offers makes it ideal for getting some truly memorable photos that would be impossible with any other lens.
If you're a wedding photographer, a wide-angle lens will let you go into tight locations, giving you more control to capture powerful, one-of-a-kind shots. You shouldn't rely on this lens for the entire ceremony and shouldn't bring it as a spare. This lens comes into its own when you want to capture dramatic landscape photographs at your location.
Use this lens sparingly and intelligently; it's not the everyday workhorse you need for a wedding, but it will set your photos apart from the competition.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art
As far as 85mm lenses go, this is one of the quickest available and easily ranks among the top options for wedding photography. When shooting a wedding, the range of apertures between 1.4 and 2.8 will allow you to frame and capture some of the most moving moments.
Photographing a bride with her veil and makeup perfectly in place against a background that blends into a smooth, creamy combination of colours and bokeh is one of the most satisfying moments in the art of wedding photography. You know you got a good one when you review the photos from the wedding and think, "Nailed it!" These pictures can only be taken with this lens.
The clarity and sharpness of this lens will wow you. The Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art is a great lens for photographing action, so it's a good choice if you're a wedding photographer and the couple wants a more creative portrait session with more action photos. Lights, camera, action!
The Right Lens Is A Photographer's Best Friend
The most beautiful wedding photos are a medley of several photographic genres, such as portraiture, fashion photography, reportage, product photography, food photography, and even architecture photography. The wedding photography industry is rife with jargon and options, but don't worry; we're here to clear things out for you. When you have the proper glasses, you'll be ready for anything a wedding can throw at you.
Remember that numerous lenses from each manufacturer share the same focal lengths. Still, similar to the camera, it is essential to use whatever fits your financial means and your level of professional and creative expertise.
Keep in mind that the perspective of the lens or lenses you choose to use need not restrict the final image you create. Get some practice under your belt with the lens, learn its strengths and weaknesses, and figure out how to best use it in the real world.
FAQs About Wedding Photography
As a wedding photographer, a macro lens is necessary if you want to capture breathtaking photographs of rings in intimate detail. You may also use this lens to capture jewels and other accessories as the bride prepares.
What Are The Best Lenses For Wedding Photography?
Let's check out a few of the top picks. There are excellent lenses available, but you could be using one that did not make the cut. Don't take it as an insult. Only fast lenses (f/2.8 or greater) compatible with Canon and Nikon are considered. f/4 lenses are adequate for some weddings under the right conditions, especially with current cameras that can take good photographs at very high ISO settings.
The best lenses for weddings, however, should be quick. A fast lens is essential because you frequently shoot in low light conditions throughout the day. This is why the apertures of the lenses we recommend for wedding day coverage are set to f/2.8 or faster.
Let's start with the old standbys: zoom lenses. Many previous top-tier zoom lenses lacked the sharpness of standard prime lenses. That's it! Current iterations of Canon and Nikon's fast zooms are pleasingly sharp and, in all honesty, hardly a step down from the manufacturers' top-tier primes.
A wedding is a perfect occasion for an ultra-wide zoom lens. Shooting the excitement of the reception dance floor with a Canon 16-35 f/2.8 III or a Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 is a terrific idea. It's not uncommon to find professional wedding photographers equally skilled at documenting the couple as they are the breathtaking settings in which they work their magic. The family has spent time and effort finding a beautiful location for the wedding, and you can guarantee they want to capture that beauty in the photographs. An ultra-wide zoom is a terrific method to do just that.
The Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II and the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 VR are your only options for conventional zooms. These optics are crisp and cover the sweet spot between wide-angle and telephoto. These zoom lenses are quick, flexible, and durable. The Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 OS Art lens is also brand new to the market. Both the Nikon and Sigma models feature optical stabilisation, which is very useful in low light.
One of these regular zoom lenses is a significant investment if you're just starting in wedding photography. The standard zoom is widely considered one of the most useful lenses for wedding photography. You can choose from a wide variety of high-quality solutions for use all day long on your wedding day.
On the longer end of the zoom range is the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 E VR. These lenses provide excellent sharpness and optical stabilisation. Thousands of photographers, for many years, have relied on a fast 70-200 lens as their primary lens for the ceremony, and with good cause. This lens is an excellent option for any wedding photographer because of the high-quality images it is capable of producing while allowing you to maintain a safe distance from the happy couple during the ceremony.
Wedding photography using the best Nikon lens: The Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 E VR The Finest Canon Wedding Photography Lens: A Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Lens
This lens's versatility makes it great for portraiture, whether at a wedding or elsewhere. The size and weight of this lens are a drawback. Over time, it could wear on your limbs and spine.
Primes! Some photographers swear by prime lenses and never use anything else. Some people are afraid of using prime lenses due to the lack of versatility in adjusting the focal length. Advantages of prime lenses include their smaller size and lower weights, as well as their faster apertures (up to two stops faster than the fast zooms!). Once upon a time, it was safe to state that prime lenses were noticeably sharper than comparable zoom lenses, but that's not always the case these days. Durability and speed are essential in the prime lenses ideal for wedding photography.
Photographers looking for extensive focal lengths and fast apertures adore Nikon and Sigma's ultra-wide prime lenses. The Sigma 20mm f/1.4 Art (available in Canon and Nikon mounts) and the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 are both wide lenses that maintain a high level of sharpness and minimal distortion. They're reliable, quick, and simple to operate. Try one of these if you're looking for an alternative to ultra-wide zooms.
The 24mm prime is a time-tested standard. All three options, from Canon, Nikon, and Sigma, have a fast f/1.4 and excellent resolution. These lenses are perfect for photographers who enjoy working with a wide aperture, as they provide an additional two stops of light above the f/2.8 zooms. This lens is widely regarded as a top choice for photographers documenting wedding receptions. It's all-encompassing, allowing you to capture the entire dance and occasion, and it's quick and easy to draw in the dim light.
The normal lens size is 35mm. It captures every important moment without being overly general, making it perfect for weddings and large gatherings. Again, the f/1.4 lenses from Canon, Nikon, and Sigma are sharp and lightweight enough to be held all day without tiring your hands. Many A-list photographers always have two cameras on hand. They have two lenses, one 35mm and the other 85mm. With only those two lenses, you can see a lot without having to lug around a tonne of other gear.
The 50mm lens has fans who appreciate its no-frills approachability and detractors who find it boring. Canon, Nikon, and Sigma all make superb options, so you can pick the one that best suits your preferences. The 50 is often used for candid shots, portraits, and getting-ready photos. Additionally, the bokeh of such lenses is typically superb.
Many professional photographers swear by the 85mm prime lens for all their portrait and wedding photography needs. Really, at this moment, you can pick from some superb options. The Canon 85L f/1.2 II is an established lens. The outstanding smoothness of its images is matched only by the notorious slowness of its autofocus. However, the new Canon 85 f/1.4L IS lens is on the horizon.
The new lens is expected to be a favourite for years to come as it is only a third of a stop slower (shooting at f/1.2 is such a dangerous gamble anyhow!), and its features are. The Nikon has a great lens that stands on its own. Most photographers would benefit from trying out the new Sigma 85 f/1.4 Art. While the lenses are top-notch, the weight may be an issue for some.
Numerous wedding photographers find a macro lens an indispensable tool for getting up-close photographs of the engagement ring and other small details. You can't go wrong with the Canon 100 f/2.8L IS or the Nikon 105 f/2.8 VR. Both of these lenses are excellent for portraiture in addition to macro photography.
It's no exaggeration to say that Nikon's 105 f/1.4 lens is among the best available, and it's also very cutting-edge for a lens of its type. Superb sharpness and a negligible amount of blur at the edges of the frame. This lens is fantastic. Even though it's on the hefty side, this item is well worth the investment. This one has the potential to become addictive.
For those requiring greater depth of field than an 85mm lens can provide, many excellent 135mm options are available. The Canon 135 f/2L has been around for quite some time, yet despite its age, it remains a compact, lightweight, crisp, and quick-focusing lens. It's an excellent accessory for a bridal tote. Even though Nikon's version has been more extended, its autofocus is noticeably slower. The brand new Sigma 135 f/1.8 Art lens is highly recommended for Nikon users. Despite its bulk, this lens produces excellent results and is brighter by a full third of a stop compared to the Canon and Nikon alternatives.
These glasses are perfect for anyone needing a quick and long-range solution: The Nikon f/2 VR II and the Canon 200 f/2L IS are top-notch optics. Not for the faint of heart, these lenses tip the scales at between 5 and 6 pounds, about twice the weight of most other prime lenses described here. They are the most expensive lenses available.
Why settle for any of these, then? Do all nuptials necessitate one? Most likely not. Think of yourself sitting in the back of a dim church, where you know you won't be noticed. Incredible as it is, a 135mm lens is simply not long enough, and neither is a 70-200mm f/2.8. When the big gun comes out, it doesn't matter how difficult the shooting conditions are. And when the ceremony is over, and you have a photogenic pair to photograph, this is the best portrait lens you'll discover.
How do we sum up all the beautiful possibilities available right now? Unfortunately, not every photographer needs or can afford every lens on this list. Many photographers, we've found, keep just one or two "staple" lenses and rent anything else they might need for a given shoot. With Lens Pro To Go, you won't have to make the difficult decision of picking four or five lenses to buy. All you have to do is rent the additional lenses (or cameras, lights, etc.) to complement what you currently have on hand.
The Best Cameras For Wedding Photography
In the eyes of any professional photographer, the lens is far more important than the camera body. The best wedding photography cameras can handle the challenges of low light and fast action.
This exhaustive list should serve as an excellent springboard for those curious about the top full-frame cameras for wedding photography. Are you worried about dropping a lot of cash on a camera or lens you have never used before? If you're unsure if it's the appropriate fit, we recommend borrowing it from our friends first.
- Canon 6D – An inexpensive choice that can take decent pictures when the light is low. This is one area where it can compete with the 5D Mark III, but it falls short in autofocus, which might be an issue for wedding photographers.
- Nikon D7200 –A competitively priced, high-performing alternative for Nikon users. Despite being a DX (crop) sensor, this camera is an excellent option for a beginner or intermediate wedding photographers, thanks to its fast frame rate and respectable ISO range.
- Canon 5D Mark III –Excellent low-light performance, powerful AutoFocus, and weather-sealing capabilities make this camera a wedding photographer's dream. Despite being more expensive than the Canon 6D, this camera delivers excellent results.
- Nikon D750 – The D7300 is an improvement over the D7200 in terms of resolution, frame rate, and ISO. Despite providing the photographer with professional features, its price is manageable.
- Nikon D810 – Best Nikon professional camera for weddings. Although expensive, this camera offers incredible value with its 36-megapixel sensor, colossal ISO range, and reliable operation. Compared to the D750, your only sacrifice will be in frame rate.
- Canon 5DSR – Its CMOS sensor, which has 50 megapixels, is an absolute record-breaker for Canon. To be honest, most wedding photographers do not require this quality. This camera has some severe photographic potential with the right lens.