Today’s question is from Zane and he asks:
Table of Contents
Topics Discussed in this Episode:
- Getting ready photos
- Wedding ceremony photos
- wedding reception photos
- Wedding portraits, bridal photos and large group photos
- Prime lenses
Hey Zane thanks for your question.
Really any one of those three lenses that you mentioned, you could shoot a whole wedding. You will definitely get different looks to the wedding and you will also get some restrictions with your photography as well.
Now it’s not to say that any one of those lenses is gonna make your photography worse or better, it just really comes down to the environment that you’re photographing in.
So to answer your question let’s look at the four different areas you would photograph on a wedding day.
So the first would be the getting ready photos. The second obviously would be the ceremony. Then there’s the wedding portraits or even the group photos. And then of course the reception.
Getting Ready Photos
So if we start at the getting ready photos, well most people when they get ready for a wedding, it’s either in a hotel room, they’re unit or condo, or could be a house, their parent’s house or even their house.
A hotel room, from my experience, I don’t know maybe it’s just me, I attract a certain type of client, but there’s just stuff everywhere. There’s bags, because people have come in from interstate or they’ve just stayed there for a day or two and they’ve just brought so many bags.
And then you’ve got to move furniture around, or even you’ve got to pick up and move bags out of the way to make the room look nice and clean. In that environment using a 24 to 70, because it’s so cramped, works quite well.
Sometimes even using an even wider lens like a 16 to 35 mm, work out really well for you. But also, if I say maybe take a little bit closer shots, I want to do maybe some portraits of the bride or groom, guy’s putting his tie on.
I can really zoom into his hands tying the tie or even buttoning his jacket up. The same applies for the bride, putting in earrings or if they’re getting makeup done. So you can potentially use both lenses and it just really depends how much room you’ve got on the day.
Wedding Ceremony Photos
The ceremony is one of those locations where you’re really at the house rules. If the minister or priest says no flash then there’s no flash, so then you have to go with like a f 2.8 or a f 1.8 lens or even an F 2.0 lens.
But then they may also say to you, “You are not allowed to get close to the bride and groom because you’re gonna be distracting the patrons.” Which has happened to me before.
I’ve been told by a minister that I can’t photograph any closer than the last set of guests. So I had to photograph using a 70 mm to 200 mm with a 1.4 converter, which made the lens to become an F4.0 on a 260 mm lens, I believe. Roughly about that. Now it meant that I got close, I mean with a little bit of cropping it allowed me to get close.
But then there’s other places where they’ve said, “You can photograph wherever you want, just no flash.” And that’s fine.
What I tend to do is I kneel down in the aisle, and I also will kneel down on the side if I have to, I don’t want to get in anybody’s way.
Let’s be honest, where there is a guest you don’t want to bother anybody. And plus it just makes other people give you a bit more respect when it comes to taking photos.
They can see that you’re trying to do the right thing by them and they’ll give you a little bit more leeway or even move out of your way.
So I like to get nice and close, maybe up to the first row of seats where the parents are. And kneel down and use a 24 to 70 and photograph there. I like to do kisses that way, and also the rings. Or maybe even go a little bit further back and use a 70 to 200 and do a similar thing.
I like to of course photograph in landscape and also portrait orientation, and that allows me to get a wide range of photos from the same location. I can also move to the side and use the long end of the 70 mm to 200 mm, and fire off individual shots of the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, as well as the bride and the groom.
So really those two lenses you can use interchangeably throughout the ceremony, and it’s probably ideal that you do. I definitely would recommend that.
Wedding Reception Photos
Now let’s go on to the wedding reception photos. Well the reception photos, this really depends on how many people you’ve got. I generally use a 70 to 200 as well as a 24 to 70. I probably would use the 24 mm to 70 mm more.
I’m getting a little bit closer because what will happen is that there’s certain events that are happening at the entrance, and so I’ll definitely use a 70 mm to 200 mm there.
Once again I don’t want to get in anybody’s way. I’ll kneel down and I’ll start photographing from a distance using the 200 mm end of the lens. And as I get closer I can zoom in, zoom in until they past me.
Then of course there’s gonna be things like the cake cutting and the dance. Well you know using a 24 mm to 70 mm is definitely ideal there, and they work quite well.
But also I like to sometimes stand a little bit behind the guests and use a 24 mm to 70 mm and get some of the guests’ heads in while they’re actually doing the dance to show perspective of what the guests will see, which is quite nice and it’s a bit of a unique perspective that they probably wouldn’t see.
So yeah so that’s probably the reception. I mean once again you’ve got both lenses. And if you’re the type of photographer that wants to just get the shot and not really be mindful of everyone else, then absolutely using something that’s quite wide and standing right there, right in front of the bride and groom.
Then that’s definitely … You can go that way if you really want, but I definitely don’t recommend that.
Wedding Portraits, Bridal Photos and Large Group Photos
Now lastly, wedding portraits, so you know the bridal party, the bride and groom. But also the big group shots. The family photos that potentially happen after the ceremony.
So if you start with the group photo with all the family and friends. Starting with families, you’ve probably got maybe 10 people, even less, 24 mm to 70 mm will work quite well.
Also if you want to do a bit photo of everyone then stepping back a little bit, using 24 to 70, that works really really well.
When it comes to portraits, so like the bride and groom or the bridal party like the girls, you like to get … If you want to get there close and interact with them to get giggles, tell them jokes, then a 24 mm to 70 mm will work quite well.
I do like using, for individual portraits, the 70 mm to 200 mm and definitely on the 200 mm end.
That way it’s compressing the photo with the background, I’m getting nice separation, but it makes them look really good.
Where you’ve just got to be careful sometimes with 24 mm to 70 mm, especially if you’re on the 24 mm end, they can get a little bit of distortion. Get close to peoples’ faces and their noses look big.
And we don’t want that, we want them to look good on their wedding day. Of course you can fix this in Lightroom Classic CC, but the least amount of effort that we take to edit our photos if we get it right beforehand is probably the best way to go.
So as you can see Zane, 24 mm to 70 mm and 70 mm to 200 mm can really photograph the wedding quite well.
You’ve got both lenses covering a wide range of focal lengths. And that’s why a lot of photojournalists use that as well as a lot of wedding photographers.
Now there’s also wedding photographers that use primes, and you mentioned the 50 mm. Absolutely you can get in there and use your 50 mm to take photos the majority of the day, absolutely.
There’ll be times that you may have to step back, and that really will be left up to you as to work that out, because sometimes some people like to get in there and to get right in the middle of the action.
And that’s why you can use say a 24 mm, a 35 mm, a 50 mm, these are all primes. They’re all very good lenses in their own right. Especially the f 1.2 or a f 1.4 50 mm, man you know you don’t have to use a flash. You can do some pretty creative portraits with that, and that could actually work in your favour.
So it just comes down to your shooting style I think as to what is gonna be the most versatile lens.
I personally recommend having both because if something does happen to one lens you’ve got the other one to back you up and you can definitely photograph the wedding without too much hassle.
So there you go Zane, thanks for your question and I hope that helps.