Seeing how this photography thing is my joy and livelihood, I thought it would be fun to share the lenses in my bag and talk about which ones are my favorite and why! I’ll explain which lens I use for what part of the wedding day as well! All of my canon lenses, except one, are prime (fixed focal length), so they each serve a different purpose and produce a different look for a wedding day! My camera body is a Canon, 5D mark iii, so all of my lenses are Canon as well. I also have a second camera body, of another Canon 5D mark iii for back up or incase I shoot with two cameras on me for a wedding day.
Even though I shoot with natural light, I of course have flashes for when I am shooting inside, mainly for the reception. For my camera body, I use the Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT flash because this flash can wirelessly connect to my other two off-camera flashes. This is amazing because they can sync with one another and you don’t have to use a remote or anything. When you shoot with this flash, it will trigger off the other flashes, so you can have bright reception images that are back lit, as well as your subjects being lit well too.
Here I’ll share in order of my favorite to least favorite lens to use, as well as some pictures to give you an example of which look each lens produced.
This will forever be my favorite lens since it has been with me from the very beginning! My 50mm was the first lens I bought when I first bought my 5D mark iii, so it is the lens I am most use to shooting with. I love it because it is the most similar to what you see with your natural eye. So if I want to bring my camera with me anywhere but don’t want to bring a heavy bag full of gear, I just put on my 50mm and head out.
On a wedding day I shoot flat lays, detail shots, candid moments, portraits, ceremony, reception details. I pretty much use it during all parts of the day, which you can’t do with the other lenses nearly as much!
2. 85mm 1.2
This is my most recent addition to my collection! I have rented and brought this lens to weddings with me before, but it feels so good to have it on me all of the time now!!! The compression on this lens is so beautiful. It really gives those creamy backgrounds and nice bokeh. It is beautiful for portraits and helps keep the clients skin-tones looking amazing.
This lens is hard to focus quickly and you have to back up a lot to use it (unless you are shooting really tight), so it is not good for shooting a ceremony or reception entrances. I have used it during getting ready portraits, reception details, definitely for portraits of the couple, family, and bridal party portraits.
3. 35mm 1.4
This is my wide lens which I have fallen more in love with. I do not like to shoot wide as much, since I prefer pictures of mainly my subjects and less about the wide open backgrounds. I’ve learned to love how it can capture so much in a frame, which tells a great story for using it at different points of the day.
I do love it for shooting in tight getting ready spaces, getting an overview of the ceremony or when the subjects are coming close towards me during the processional or recessional, and of course during the reception dancing. I will use it for big bridal party or big group family portraits as well. I will use it also to capture the scenery, the venue, overview of the cocktail hour, etc. of the wedding day too! Those types of pictures are also great images for the vendors to have to have. So this lens gets a lot of use out of it!
4. 70-200mm 2.8
This lens I do not use that frequently because its lowest aperture is a 2.8 and I prefer to shoot at a lower aperture most of the time. I really love bokeh (blurred background), so I mainly just use this lens for wedding ceremonies so that I can zoom in and out with out getting too much in the way. I prefer to lay back and not ruin those moments.
This lens can still be great for family portraits and such, it is just super heavy so I prefer to use my prime lenses instead. This lens does however look and appears to be the most “legit” lens to people who do not know about the benefits of prime lenses.
5. 100mm 2.8 macro lens
This lens is what I use for shooting bridal details and ring shots during the getting ready part of the day. I don’t really use it for anything else.
I may use it if there is some intricate details at the reception and more time for these types of shots, but I mainly just use it for the earlier portion of the wedding day!
Well I hope that helped give you a little insight into what’s inside my camera bag! I of course also carry a ton of memory cards, which are the thick, SanDisk Extreme: 64 GB or 32 GB cards. I also have a lot of spare batteries for my flashes, along with my rechargeable batteries. There are other little odds and ends I keep in there, such as ribbon, safety pins, etc. that I like to keep on me. The bag displayed is my big bag for rolling the lenses around with me on the wedding day, but I also have a little camera bag for when I want just a few lenses right on me.
The growth of this bag was not overnight, but each lens was purchased overtime. I use to rent certain lenses for wedding days that I did not own yet. I feel so grateful that it has grown and that I able to own each of these since they all are like another baby to me (haha). Reflecting on my camera bag reminds me how import it is to enjoy the process and to always continue to grow! At the end of the day though, being a great photographer is so much more than having the right gear. When I was first starting out, I shot a lot with just a couple lenses, especially my 50mm 1.4. I still produced great work because you still need to focus on good lighting, posing, making your clients feel comfortable, etc. I’m a firm believer of making the most out of what you have and putting in the work!