Find Your Perfect Fit: Choosing The Best Lenses For Wedding Photography

A lot goes into documenting the wedding day details and intimate moments that help narrate your couple's story in stunning photographs. While your artistry and creativity are essential for capturing those special moments that your clients will treasure for a lifetime, with the best lenses for wedding photography at your disposal, you can ensure documenting each moment in its full glory. With so many options available, you might wonder what lens to use! Dont worry, we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the top-rated and must-have wedding lenses. Plus, we’ll also provide details about different lens types, their features, and advantages to help you choose which one would work best for you.

Best Lenses For Wedding Photography

infographic stating choosing the right lens can help you capture perfect photos with ease

As a professional wedding photographer, you know that capturing the perfect moment requires the use of a high-quality lens. By and large, the best lenses for wedding photography need to be fast and provide the right color rendition. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices for the best wedding lenses

1. Zoom Lenses

Wedding photography is all about capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments. And while there are a variety of photography lenses, a popular lens choice among industry professionals is zoom lenses. 

A zoom lens can help you with wide-angle shots of the ceremony and close-ups of the bride and groom. Earlier, many high-quality zoom lenses sacrificed the sharpness of most prime lenses. No more! The latest editions of modern camera fast zooms are sharp and not a downgrade from their high-end primes. With a zoom lens, you can be sure to capture all the special moments of the wedding day. Some of the best zoom lenses for wedding photography include: 

A. 16-35 mm

The ultra-wide zoom lens is beneficial for documenting wedding scenes perfectly. Great for capturing wide shots of the ceremony or reception hall, the 16-35mm lens is ideal for taking group photos of the wedding party and stunning landscape images. If you’re wondering what lens to use to frame in the whole view of the venue or stunning decor, go with an ultra-wide zoom. This lens choice can also help you capture the energy of the dance floor and all those breathtaking must-have wedding ceremony shots

When you are shooting in low light, a fast lens will help you keep pace. For that reason, f/2.8 or faster are preferred as the best lenses for wedding photography. Under the right circumstances, particularly with the best wedding cameras that can produce excellent images at very high ISO settings, f/4 lenses can be perfectly suitable for some weddings.

Popular lenses:

  • Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM III 
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master 
  • Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

B. 24-70 mm

The 24-70mm lens is perfect for close and mid-range shots, such as couples portraits or detail shots of the decorations. The zoom lenses are fast, diverse, sharp, and encompass that perfect middle-length focal range. Shooting in small dark wedding venues and other low-light situations or a smaller indoor space gets convenient with the optical stabilization (correcting a camera shake) provided by several latest models with IS versions.

For someone new to the trade, a standard zoom lens’s robust build quality and extensive focal length range makes it the right pick for the one lens for wedding photography. The Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II USM is popularly considered the best Canon lens for indoor photography for standard zooms. 

Other popular lenses:

  • Nikon AF-S FX 24-70mm f/2.8 ED VR
  • Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 ED GM 
  • Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8R LM WR 
  • Tamron SP 24.-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens for Canon EF

C. 70-200 mm

The fast 70-200 lenses have been the go-to wedding photography lenses for thousands of photographers to document wedding ceremonies, and for a good reason. The great focal range and optical image stabilization (producing sharp images) make these a preferred portrait lens at weddings or otherwise. The high image quality they produce, while shooting ceremonies from a distance, candid shots of guests or action shots of the first dance (with a creative background blur), make them the ideal lens choice.

On the longer end of the zoom range are the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III (preferred best Canon lens for wedding photography), Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR (best Nikon lens for weddings), or the Sony FE 70-200mm F/2.8 GM OSS II (highly preferred best sony lens for portraits). 

Other popular lenses:

  • Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Lens for Canon EF
  • Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens for Canon EF
  • Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM 
  • Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S 

2. Prime Lenses

infographic stating great for close-up and wide shots, prime lenses today are BOTH sharp and fast

Prime lenses are an exclusive lens choices for wedding photographers while shooting weddings because of their superior optics, which allow greater control over the depth of field. The advantages of prime lenses are the faster apertures and shutter speed (up to two stops faster than the fast zooms!), smaller size, and lighter weights.

It’s great for close-up and wide shots as it allows wedding photographers to capture a wide range of emotions, moments (from the bride's dress to the guests' reactions), and specific wedding details. You can also use these lenses for various creative narrow depth-of-field shots that truly capture the essence of the occasion. So whether you're shooting wide or close, there's a prime lens that's perfect for the job.

A. 20 mm

From the best Nikon lenses for weddings, the ultra-wide prime lenses are loved by photographers who want super wide lenses with fast apertures. Both the Nikon 20 f/1.8 and the Sigma 20 f/1.4 Art (in both Canon and Nikon mounts) are wide without a great amount of distortion and sharp. They’re solid, easy to use, and fast! You can try one of these as an alternative to the ultra-wide zooms to capture the entire wedding venue or the reception hall and get creative with your wide angle wedding photos.

B. 24 mm

The 24mm prime lens is a classic. Different models from Canon, Nikon, or Sigma all come in at a fast f/1.4 and are really sharp. Photographers who love shooting wide are going to love these lenses and the extra 2 stops they bring to the table, versus the f/2.8 zooms. The wide lens can help you capture group shots and candid moments - being really fast and able to draw in the available light.

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C. 35mm

A 35mm lens is referred to as a normal lens. It’s wide without being too wide and great for capturing wedding spaces and groups. Again, the lenses from popular models with f/1.4 and f/1.8 are all sharp and easy to handhold throughout the day. Many prime shooters will carry two cameras with them at all times. One with a 35mm and one with an 85mm. Just those two lenses and you have a lot covered without a backbreaking amount of weight.

Popular lenses: 

  • Nikon AF-S FX 35mm f/1.8 ED 
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM 
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM
  • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2.0R WR

D. 50mm

There are those who love the 50mm lens for its simplicity and those who simply find it too “blah”. Whichever camp you fall into, there are some really excellent choices from Canon, Nikon, or Sony. The 50mm lens can be really great for portraits, capturing candids and getting ready images, as they allow you to document all the emotion without getting too close. And if you’re looking for some stunning bokeh wedding photography shots, these lenses might be just what you need! 

Popular lenses: 

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G 
  • Nikon AF-S FX 50mm f/1.8 
  • Sony Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA 
  • Sony FE 50mm f/1.8 Prime Lens 
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

E. 85mm

Ideal for those dramatic portraits, the 85mm prime lens is one that many photographers are passionate about. They allow you to shoot from a distance, which helps to create a more flattering perspective. The amazing optics makes them a truly fantastic lens choice.

Considered among the best Canon lens for portraits and wedding photography, the Canon 85L f/1.2 II is known for its legendary smooth image quality, and slow autofocus. At just 1/3 stop slower, but with IS added, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM can be a wedding favorite for many years. From the best lenses for wedding photography Nikon comes its AF-S FX 85mm f/1.8 - an excellent lens in its own right. 

Other popular lenses: 

  • Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art DG HSM
  • Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

3. Macro Lenses

infographic stating whatever your needs are, there is a macro lens that will help you shoot stunning photos

One of the must-have lenses for wedding photography - the macro lens. It allows you to get close-up shots of the bride's dress, the groom's boutonniere, and the beautiful flowers. There are a variety of macro lenses on the market, each with its own set of features and benefits. While some macro lenses have a wide focal length, which is perfect for getting group shots, others have a longer focal length, which is ideal for capturing close-up shots of specific details. No matter what your needs are, there is a macro lens that can always help you take stunning wedding photos.

A. 100 mm

Many wedding photographers love having a macro lens in their bag to capture close-up and other detail shots. Offering a great balance of focal length and aperture, these lenses are ideal for capturing stunning couples portraits as well.

Popular lenses:

  • The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 
  • Nikon AF-S FX 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED VR 

B. 105 mm

Another popular option, these lenses offer a slightly longer focal length and built-in vibration reduction for sharper images, with truly unsurpassed image quality and a very shallow depth of field. A few of these models are slightly heavier but truly worth the weight. You might become addicted to this ultimate wedding lens

Popular lenses:

  • Nikon 105 f/1.4
  • Sigma 105mm f/2.8 APO EX DG OS HSM for Canon EF-Mount 

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C. 135 mm

For those who need more reach than what an 85mm can provide, there are some great 135mm choices. From the best Canon lens for weddings, the Canon 135 f/2L has been around for many years; it's still a small, light, sharp, and fast-focusing lens. An excellent addition to any camera bag. The Nikon version has been around even longer and suffers from slower autofocus. Especially for Nikon shooters, the Sigma 135 f/1.8 Art lens can be a good choice. While it is a beefy lens, the image quality is wonderful and provides an extra 1/3 stop over both the Canon and Nikon. 

D. 200 mm

If you need something long and fast, these lenses are for you: The Canon 200 f/2L IS and the Nikon f/2 VR II are excellent lenses. Not for the faint of heart, these lenses tip the scales at between 5 and 6 pounds, roughly twice the weight of most other prime lenses mentioned here. They’re also the most expensive lenses on the list.

So why choose a brighter macro lens? Do you need one at every wedding? Not likely. But picture yourself in a dark church, where you know you'll be relegated to the back. That 135mm is great but not quite long enough, and the 70-200 f/2.8 is not relatively fast enough. Bring in the big lens, and you can shoot even under the most challenging conditions. And when you're done with the ceremony, and you have a couple you can't wait to photograph, you can't find a better-quality portrait lens than this one.

Further Read: Intentional Blur Wedding Photography Techniques

Selecting the perfect lens for your camera can be a make-or-break decision when it comes to capturing those unforgettable moments. With so many different types of lenses available, a good understanding of how each can enhance the atmosphere and mood of your shots is essential to pick your best lens for wedding photography. For groups, a wide-angle lens can frame the scene, while a telephoto lens can provide beautiful close-ups of intimate moments between the newlyweds. Ultimately, the best lenses for wedding photography allow you to capture the day as you envisioned. Ensure that when the wedding is over, you have a stunning collection of images that capture not only the couple's love but also the beauty of the occasion.

At ShootDotEdit, our aim is to help you evolve as a wedding photographer. And to help you focus more on your craft, we lessen your post-production workload with our professional editing services. To learn more about how we can help, check out our pricing plans.

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