What is the Best Lens for Wedding Photos?

Are you about to shoot your first wedding gig? Do you think you have the right gear with you?

Is your camera the latest rig that is up for the task? Even better, do you know the best lens for wedding photography?

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Here’s something you really need to know.

When shooting a wedding, there are two types of lenses you need. The must-haves and the nice to have.

The former are primary lenses that will do most of the job while the latter can be used on a few special occasions or when the main one accidentally breaks.

In this article, we are going to shine the spotlight on the best wedding lens you should have in your photography arsenal.

The 5 best lenses for wedding photography

top lenses for wedding photography

Here is a small list of the best lens for wedding photos you should have:

1. 70-200mm: Great for flattering portraits and amazing shallow depth of field

Bigger weddings need bigger machines. And when you want to go bigger, think of nothing else but a 70-200mm lens.

This beast is big and heavy but we bet you can’t do without it…wondering why? Keep reading.

You see, there are those moments when the weds don’t need to see the cameras flashing in their faces too many times.

Plus, it is amazing when they see a very rare moment of their wedding when they thought a photographer was not around.

In short, 70-200mm will allow you to shoot candid pictures without the weds noticing. You basically become invisible.

With enough pixels, you can zoom in a little to get ultra-clear images without changing your location.

If you need a longer focal length, you can switch to a 70-300 lens.

2. 50mm: Best for capturing portraits and isolating subjects

This one could easily come off as the workhorse of wedding photography. Anyone who is lost on what kind of lens to use should settle for it.

Given that it stands in between a 35mm prime, 85mm prime, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm, it can easily and conveniently give the best of both worlds.

It has a wider, super-fast aperture that brings out the true details of images even at low-light dinner parties and candlelight receptions.

Plus, its decent depth of field will let you isolate your subjects and shoot either a couple or a single individual.

Canon’s 50mm f1.2 spots the best glass elements which is why it costs a lot.

Luckily, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM performs just as magnificently yet it is top-rated and goes for around $500.

3. 85mm F1.2: Best for clearer portraits

85mm F1.2 lets you pop out certain details and defocus others.

You can choose the eyes or the bride’s hair to reflect its full glory while everything else sleeps.

How exactly does this lens do that? Well, it’s got an excellent bokeh.

This lens also lets you capture portraits of the bride, groom, the maids, and smaller groups.

Furthermore, it’s a low-light monster that lens your evening and night photos pop out in full glamor.

85MM f1.2 is a fixed lens that requires a bit more elbow grease to zoom in and out. Nevertheless, you’ll find the hard work to be well worth it. 

Many 85mm with f 1.2 lenses are going to be expensive.

But there are cheaper alternatives you can check out like Nikon 85mm f/1.8 g lens, Nikon 85mm f/1.8 S, and Canon 85mm f/1.8.

4. 16-35mm f/2.8: Best for immersive wide-angle portraits and group shots

Do not underestimate the power of a 16-35 mm lens. It shoots magically wide-view photos that exaggerate every tiny movement and energy exuded by the subjects.

The lens faithfully captures their full glory to the last detail. 

16-35mm lens can also come in handy when you want a wide close-up of the wedding venue, buildings, and other landscapes.

It captures both the bride and groom and uses the background as the backdrop. A classic example of this lens is Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L USM.

Overall, a 16-35mm lens will certainly add a nice dynamic to your wedding photos, separating them from those captured on different models.

However, have it as a backup and not the main lens.

5. 35mm prime: Best versatile lens

There is no lens that is as versatile as 35mm f/1.4. Yes, 50mm f/1.2 knows how to strike the right balance on any occasion.

However, 35mm is the ultimate weapon for a photographer under the pressure to capture moving crowds, the dress details, group portraits, and any other small details—all within a short amount of time.

35mm can comfortably capture at wide angles-though not as good as 15 or 16mm.

Nevertheless, it gets the job done and the images lack exaggerated distortion found in wider focal length models.

Like other lenses in this article, 35mm too is fast, effective, and works incredibly amazing in low-light conditions.

Its images are a mirror reflection of what the eye would naturally see. As such, it is most needed in documentary-style wedding photography. 

Some of the biggest 35mm contenders include Nikon DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens, Nikon NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G, Canon EF 35mm f/2 and Canon RF35mm F1.8.

These are merely a few of the best lenses for wedding photos. There are other amazing options like 105mm and 60mm.

You need these to get the detailed structure of the bride and groom’s wedding rings and any other jewelry they may be wearing.

Besides capturing jewelry and rings, macro lenses can be used to shoot portraits and landscapes in bright light.

105mm, in particular, can be cropped to become 157.5mm and easily replace any 70-200mm lens.

As you can see, it can be a good idea to always have a 105mm lens around. 

Final Thoughts

We just went through a list of the best lens for wedding photography worth having. No one lens can do all the job for you.

In fact, it is irresponsible to shoot a wedding without a backup camera and lens.

Therefore, make sure you have your primary lens and a few backups just in case you need to shoot from a different perspective or when the main one fails.