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Which Lenses Are Best For Wedding Photography and Why Focal Length Matters

Syracuse Wedding Photographer

Longer Focal Lengths For Wedding Photography

Q. Why do you use long lenses and what are advantages when photographing weddings or bridal portraits?

A. I use them for several reasons. One reason is they allow for a more comfortable shooting distances.  With longer focal length lenses (100mm – 300mm) I don’t need to be in the bride and groom’s face.  In fact, they may not even be aware that I am taking their picture.  This holds true for guests during the ceremony and reception.  Having longer focal length lenses allows for more candid and photo journalistic wedding photos.
There is also another benefit … they diminish distortion of the face and the
compression allows for a more flattering photos.  It can be somewhat complicated to explain so I have provided some pictures taken by the Stephen Eastwood which show how different focal lengths can distort a persons face.  With longer focal lengths it compresses the facial features, which in general, produce more flattering wedding photos..

Q. Do you have any suggestions for brides and grooms?

A.  If you are considering a wedding photographer, inquire about the kinds of equipment they have.  In my opinion it is vital that the photographer have various lenses at their disposal.  Wide angle lenses are wonderful for capturing the whole scene, but longer focal lengths are essential IMO for beautiful wedding portraits. So make sure they have at least one lens that is 100mm or longer (ie 135mm, 200mm, etc).

Q.  What kinds of lenses do you use for wedding photography?  Which lenses are best for wedding photography in your opinion?

A. I use the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS as well as the Canon 135mm f/2 for wedding portraits.  I also like to use the 85mm 1.2 because of its razor thin DOF (depth of field). When I want to capture the entire scene whether it be the ceremony or reception I use the Tamron 17-35mm, Canon 24-70mm 2.8 or the Canon 35mm 1.4.

Here are some examples as well as link from Steven showing the difference in focal lengths, distortion and perspective.

As you can see their are subtle differences between the focal lengths 100mm and 350mm.  The changes start to become apparent at 70mm and very apparent by 50mm.

Lens Distortion by Stephen Eastwood

Lens Distortion by Stephen Eastwood



Syracuse Wedding Photography