If there’s one lens that is an absolute must have for wedding photography it is a standard tele lens, and by this I mean a 24mm – 70mm zoom lens. A 24mm – 70mm lens covers the popular 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm so it is one of the best and most useful lenses for wedding photography.
At the wide end the 24mm and 28mm focal lengths are great for capturing a variety of wider wedding shots comprising of people and a bit of background (such as the bride and father of the bride getting out of the transport, the bride being walked down the aisle under the watchful eye of the guests etc.) whilst the long end focal lengths are great for tight head shots, such as the bride and groom sharing their first kiss as a married couple.
Photographers have no control over weddings, and cannot halt proceedings to get people to pose or change lenses, so they have to be reactive and act quickly and efficiently to get the photos. Failure to act will result in a lot of missed shots and a very unhappy bride and groom. A 24mm – 70mm zoom lens is a versatile lens you can use for wide shots one minute and zoom in nice and tight the next minute, or use for tight shots one minute and then pull right back for a wider shot the next.
With a 24mm – 70mm standard zoom lens you won’t waste time (and mission potential shots) changing lenses, which also means you can get away with carrying less gear with you. Having the bare minimum is essential when photographing weddings as carrying around a large bag of gear gets in the way, is cumbersome and slows everything down.
Many photographers argue prime lenses have better quality than zoom lenses, and I cannot dispute this. The thing is that to see the difference in image quality between a prime lens and a top end zoom lens requires pixel peeping on the computer. The difference in image quality is negligible and in the real world paying clients won’t be able to tell.
In real life wedding shooting situations the only disadvantage with a 24mm – 70mm standard zoom lens is the maximum widest aperture. The maximum widest aperture of the top end 24m – 70mm standard zoom lenses is f2.8, which isn’t that wide when you consider the maximum widest aperture of many prime lenses is f1.4, with some even going as wide as f1.2.
When using very wide apertures the depth of field is very narrow and making sure everything you want in focus is actually in focus can be a challenge. You need to be accurate when focusing using wide apertures, and whether you can achieve this quick enough to get the shot during a real life wedding shoot only you can answer. It’s something you need to consider.
Since a 24mm – 70mm zoom lens is easier to carry around than a bag of prime lenses, is quicker to change focal lengths than a bag full prime lenses and also has very similar image quality it is easy to see why this type of lens is such a great tool for wedding photography.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.