When talking about the Canon 50mm f/1.2 L USM Prime lens, I’m reminded of my love for primes! I started out as the wedding photographer who exclusively used prime lenses… then I discovered how much I love the 70-200! But there are some things a zoom lens just can not do; like shoot at f/1.2 for instance! Hellooooooo Bokeh! Have I mentioned I’m addicted to Bokeh?! Well… I am!
Do I consider this a must have lens for Wedding Photographers? Not necessarily; especially if you’re just starting out (this guy is pricey)! But having this lens in your arsenal will definitely up your game! And if you’re going to pick a prime lens to start off with, the 50 is your winner winner chicken dinner!
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens
In film photography class (#tbt) we learned that the 50mm is the “what you see is what you get” lens. Now, you do have to factor in the variation of sensor sizes; but the point being is this: the 50mm is probably the closest range you’ll get to what your eyes actually perceive peripherally. Canon has knocked it out of the park with the quality, clarity, and sharpness that this lens delivers! Did I stress CLARITY?!! OMGorgeousness! These images are ALWAYS crisp!
Personally, I like the 50mm more than the 35mm because my style leans more towards a closer and more intimate crop; with this lens I can do that without getting in my couples “space”. I also never shoot wide open with primes! I found that when I shoot at f/1.2 on this lens I have way more throw aways than if I bump up my aperture to 2.2. This is because when you’re shooting wide open, there is no room for recomposing error; or, the ability to recompose your shot after you’ve set your focus point and still have the eyes sharp. Shooting at f/1.2 is a slippery slope… kudos to those of you who have mastered it! For me, on a wedding day or with important moments that can not be recreated- I can not and will not chance it! Each lens has it’s “sweet spot” and its up to you, the photographer to find them… this is part of the fun, though!
My favorite use of this lens is for Details too big for macro photography! The 50mm makes for gorgeous tables cape and centerpiece photos with creamy backgrounds and it’s perfect for photographing the brides shoes, too!
Now with all this said- as a wedding photographer, you may find yourself “gear hungry”: craving ALL the lenses, all the gadgets, all the bags, and well, you get the hint. I think we all find ourselves here at some point- more often than we’d like to admit! Especially so if you have a set of industry leaders that you follow! Odds are pretty good that you know THEIR gear by heart… “So and so has this lens, and that stand, and these flashes, and this bag…” . Well, if you follow everyone and try to emulate them all, you will find yourself with a closet full of gear you don’t use and money down the drain!
Be wise with your purchases! Sometimes simple is better! “Less is more”! I sometimes have to remind myself of the Word spoke in Hebrews 13:5; be content with what you have! You’d be surprised what you can accomplish with one camera, two lenses, and an off camera flash! Yes, I just brought up FLASH! Don’t gasp yet! Even if you’re a natural light wedding photographer, you NEED to know flash!
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Oh, and if you’re just starting out consider the “Nifty Fifty” as your first option! Many photogs use this lens and never even find the need to upgrade to the L series! I actually originally owned this one (I call it the “Thrifty Fifty”) first!