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I shot my very first wedding with ONLY JUST THIS ONE LENS: the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM! Read first, then scroll to the bottom to see images from my first ever wedding!!!

I started blogging about the gear we use in our wedding photography business last week by explaining why the Canon 5D Mark III is my workhorse.  As promised, I wanted to chat about the lenses you need (and want) if you’re thinking about starting your own wedding photography brand. Now, with that said there is a LOT of advice out there about the pros and cons of being more pro-zoom lens vs. more pro-prime lenses… I’m neither! I love them both almost equally!

I started out thinking “I have to have -x- prime lens because so and so shoots with this lens and they have a huge following and make -x- amount of dollars per wedding”!  Do NOT fall into this trap!  I do use (and LOVE) prime lenses and we will get into my favorites, most used, and when I use them in a later post.

Best All-Around Most Versatile Lens!!!

My goal here is to empower you to make the right decision based on all around versatility. Let’s just say you don’t own any professional lenses yet, and you’re asking “Which one do I invest in first”?  Key word: INVEST. This is not a post about getting the most bang for your buck. Assuming you’ve already established yourself in portrait photography before jumping into weddings, you probably already have those lenses. I’m talking about the ONE lens you CAN shoot an entire wedding day with if you needed to… the 24-70 f/2.8  !  We are Canon shooters, so specifically I’m talking about the Canon brand and emphasizing the II L model; but the first model will do just fine and you can probably pick up a used or refurbished one for a fraction of the price.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens

The 24mm focal length is wide enough for most tight getting ready spaces, perfect for the family formals and bridal party portraits, and it will also beautifully capture the venue and landscape shots. The 70mm focal length is also just enough to create stunning bride and groom portraits with just the right amount of bokeh.  All while the 2.8 f-stop is the minimum needed to ensure you can allow enough light into your camera for all the possible lighting scenarios that come with a wedding day. I shot my first wedding (being totally transparent here) using ONLY this lens and to this day, some of my most complimented images are from that wedding! The 24-70 has also become Rick’s go-to lens for his dynamic lighting/night shots that he’s so amazing at!

A Good Starting Point

Does this mean you can buy JUST this lens and grow a successful wedding photography business?  You can begin to grow it, but as you do you will need to invest in more lenses to ensure a well rounded portfolio, to increase your artistry, to maximize exposure, and of course, to increase your prices!  But if you’ve been photographing portraits for a while and just got asked to shoot your cousin Cindy’s wedding, then this could be the lens for you! Think of this lens as the “Jill of all Trades” (I’m a Jill, not a Jack- HaHa!), it is good at many things but not exceptionally great at any one specific thing. That’s where we will move on to the next must have zoom lens: the 70-200… coming soon to a blog near you!

Now, don’t forget… you’re not expected to be able to afford these lenses right out of the gate! My best advice to you is to RENT lenses, shoot as much as you can, stash the money you make on sessions, and then buy the lens when you have enough saved! If possible, do not put your lenses on a credit card! The high percentage of businesses that don’t make it in their first 3 years is too great to risk putting yourself in debt. Be smart about your purchases. Also, keep in mind you can also save on other brands such as Tamron or Sigma.

Thanks for reading!!!

My First Ever Wedding…

Here are my faves from that first wedding I ever photographed and did so with ONLY the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L Series Lens…

Wedding Photographers in North East Georgia

Update: Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM Telephoto Lens Blog is Now Live Here.

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Five Fourteen Photography

atlanta + North Georgia