Hi, I’m Eric, and I’m a wedding and portrait photographer. I have been shooting weddings for a while and thought I would share on what I think are the essential lenses that I use on a wedding day shoot.
I started photographing weddings full time in the year 2010. Throughout the years, I have had the chance to use many types of lenses with a myriad of focal lengths and light gathering capabilities. Given the fast-pace itinerary on a wedding day, we need to stay as nimble and lightweight as possible with our gear, while still making sure that we bring all the essentials to cover the wedding day creatively. Also, reliability of our cameras and lenses is of paramount priority, as we require speedy and consistent performance to deliver the best to our clients.
I’m currently using the Sony A9 and A7III for all my professional work. I spend on average 15-18 hours on-the-job during a single wedding day; and the small form factor and high performance of these two camera bodies continue to be great features that I can count on time and again to get me through the day a little easier and deliver the high quality results that I’m looking for.
As for the lenses, I have come to rely on three focal length groups – wide to ultrawide, the natural perspective, and short telephoto. Also, because we often shoot weddings in low light, I appreciate lenses that offer wide apertures. Zoom lenses with constant f/2.8 and prime lenses with f/1.4 or f/1.8 are preferred.
First, let’s take a look at the wide end of the focal length. Wide angle lenses are great for emphasizing the space and location of the wedding celebrations.
Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM – this lens is a must-have for events and weddings. The ultrawide perspective captures so much of the wedding venue in its images that it gives the viewer a sense of being there at the location. It is also very useful in getting the shots when there’s a large crowd of people congregated in a tight space, as most wedding celebrations tend to be packed with congratulatory members from friends and family.
Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM – This little lens is a gem! I especially love the size and weight as it is really easy to hand hold this lens for long hours without feeling fatigued. It gives amazing image quality and the wide f/1.4 aperture is really great in low light indoor or ballroom setups.
Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss – This focal length is the perfect all-rounder for me and it is my most used lens on a wedding day because it produces a natural-looking perspective with very little distortion. The sharpness and image quality is superb, and it is such a versatile lens because I can always take a step back to frame for a wider shot when I need to, and conversely, step closer to the subjects for a more intimate and close-up shot.
Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM – A short telephoto lens is great for capturing moments discretely. It allows the people whom we are photographing to have a sense of their own personal space and be their natural selves. The perspective of a telephoto lens also renders beautiful bokeh and background compression for that smooth and creamy blurring of distractions that all photographers love. The f/1.4 on this lens further enhances that effect and performs great in low light.
The gear above are my go-to lenses for a typical wedding day assignment. This setup enables me to cover the celebrations from the start of the getting ready moments in the morning all the way til the clink of the last toast is made.
Of course, there are other noteworthy lenses that are great for wedding coverage as well. The Sony FE 20mm F1.8G, Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM, and Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS setup is a great alternative to my current lenses.
Those looking for an even lighter setup may look to the Sony FE 35mm F1.8 and Sony FE 85mm F1.8 which also give very good image quality.
Overall, I love the robustness, fantastic resolution, sharpness, and beautiful bokeh that I get from the Sony GM (G Master) series of lenses. What’s your favourite lenses and setup for your style of work? Let me know!