Deciding what equipment to purchase is no easy task. There are so many different brands and literally dozens of options available under each one. What works best for you depends on the look you are going for with your imagery and what type of subjects you’ll be photographing. As a Washington, DC wedding photographer, my typical day is anywhere from 8-10 hours long, meaning that I am with my bride from when she is getting her hair and makeup done and as they continue to dance the night away. Therefore, there is no one lens that can cover everything I need to capture!
When I first started, I looked to blog after blog as I began purchasing new items to see what I needed next, but that was definitely not the right way to go — what works for one person may not work for the next! I ended up selling some of those items to buy the things that *I* actually wanted and needed! So I’m sharing not only what I use, but WHY and WHEN I use it on a wedding day! My collection has been carefully curated to my needs, so these are just suggestions based on my experience!
Canon 5D Mark III Body | This is my workhorse and where the magic happens! I started shooting with Canon because I’ve always shot with Canon — even when I was using a point and shoot camera in high school, it was Canon! So I guess I can thank my mom for helping me make that decision :) This is an incredible camera body that is fast and reliable. I love the dual card holders so I can be shooting on one and backing up images on another to avoid data loss.
Canon 35mm 1.4L | I feel like this lens doesn’t get a lot of love, but it’s actually one of my favorites! I use this in really tight getting ready rooms, for a wide shot during the ceremony and reception, for epic landscape shots during portraits, and for dancing!
Canon 50mm 1.2L | I know this is the most popular lens for a lot of photographers, but I haven’t fallen in love quite as much! This is a standard portrait lens and I’ve personally found that I prefer the look of my 85mm a bit more.
Canon 85mm 1.2L | Now THIS is the lens I love — definitely my baby! I have this on as much as possible throughout a wedding day, especially for portraits. It’s bokeh cannot be beat and it makes skin tones look absolutely flawless. I love having my second shooter shoot a bit wider so I can use this beauty during getting ready and portraits; it’s also a fantastic choice during ceremonies, although you have to be careful because it’s focus is on the slower side.
Canon 100mm 2.8L | This is a macro body, so I use it primarily for details! Things like close ups of invitations, ring shots, room details, etc. It’s VERY slow to focus (much worse than the 85mm!), so I don’t recommend it for portraits or ceremonies as you might miss something!
Canon 135mm 2.0L | One of my new favorites! It’s my most recent addition to the “team” and I initially purchased it so I could have a longer lens for ceremonies. But it’s quickly worked it’s way into my bag for portraits because when I have a little extra time, I love breaking it out to create a romantic feel!
My lighting kit: 3 Canon 600 EX-RT, 2 Light Stands, 1 Umbrella, 1 Beauty Dish | One of my goals for the 2015 wedding season was to increase my off camera flash skills. To achieve this, I increased the quality of my flashes and created a set up system that can be used to light almost any room — it’s been working great and I’m not longer scared of dark ballrooms with high ceilings!
Bonus! I also bring all of my film equipment with me on wedding days in case the mood ever strikes!