One of the questions I get asked all the time is “what lenses do you use” for your wedding photography. It’s changed dramatically over the years from having zoom lenses to know only using Zeiss Batis primes and Voigtlander. Let’s look at why I’ve focused so much on using primes and my overall goal for the kit.
The main achievement set out by myself was to lighten the load I carry around with me at weddings, also to reduce the equipment I use on a day to day basis. If you would like to see “what’s in my camera bag” then I’ve covered a separate blog and YouTube video on this, for this post ill just be looking at the lenses I use and why.
Before we get started on the lenses, let’s have a quick look at the cameras. I use the Sony A9 Camera and the Sony A7RIII Camera; my main body is the A9 and the camera I use daily, the A7RII is my backup and for more details shots. I decided to switch from MFT cameras (Olympus) over a year ago (2016) due to needing the extra resolution that you have with full frame cameras. Sony A7 cameras were the perfect fit with there small size but also being full frame, not to mention there ever expanding lenses.
For the lenses, I started out with zooms but found them cumbersome and always having different perspectives and no consistency with image sizes due to zoom happy. I decided long ago to make a move to primes and have the advantages of lower aperture and better in low light performance (must as a wedding photographer). At first, I purchased Sony dedicated primes, 35mm f2.8, 55mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.4, 12-24mm f4. Superb set of lenses but the 85mm was a beast of a lens due to its aperture.
My task was set to find the ultimate set of lenses for wedding photography and my style of shooting. The glass had to have low appetites (f1.8 or f2.8) and be compact but most important be light as ill be lugging them around for the best part of 12 hours at a wedding. I also had to take in to account my destination weddings with there hand luggage weight limits; otherwise, I’d have to pay excess baggage charge. With lots of resources and spending hundreds of pounds on lenses and contacting manufacturers to loan stock for testing to find the right set, I’ve finally found the combination that works for me.
Lenses Zeiss Batis, Voigtlander
The full set of lenses I have in my camera bag for all my wedding photography, come to think about it for all my photography I cover today.
1. Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 Lens – Group and wide-angle shots
2. Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Lens – Fly on the wall documentary lens, 85% wedding
3. Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8 Lens – Portraits
4. Zeiss Batis 135mm f2.8 Lens – Portraits and discreet documentary
Why do I use the above lenses for my wedding photography you ask? Let ’s answer that question. Let’s start in order of glass with the Zeiss Batis 25mm f2 Lens; this lens is used for all my group shots and wide-angle church shots although I’ve found myself using this more and more in replacement of my 35mm.
The Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 Lens is one of my favourite lenses and yes its a fully manual lens but for its compact form factor and f1.4 aperture its worth it. Don’t forget with Sony cameras we have focus-peaking, so focusing is easy and quick. This lens is used for 85% of my wedding photography as 35mm lens is what we see in a real world, giving you the perfect perspective of the day.
For all my wedding portraits I use the Zeiss Battis 85mm f1.8 Lens. This lens is fantastic for capturing pictures, and the Boka merely is smoothly cream. One of the things I love about this lens is its form factor, its half the size and weight of the Sony 85mm.
Zeiss Batis 135mm
Lastly, we have the Zeiss Batis 135mm f2.8 Lens and the newest addition to my collection of lenses. I didn’t think I needed this lens until I had it. For the last year, my longest lens was the 85mm, but I came to understand I just needed that extra reach from time to time. Zeiss should release the 135mm, and for me, this filled the gap, and I quickly asked for a demo lens to try, it wasn’t long before I purchase my own.
This lens is perfect for candid shots as the wedding guest get together after the ceremony and not to mention portraits of the bride and groom. Yes, its an f2.8 and some photographers have commented it should have been at least f2. For me, I’m happy with the f2.8 as it keeps the size of the lens small if the appetite were any lower the lens would double in size.
Wedding Photography Lens Kit Conclusion
That’s my choice of lenses for all my wedding photography, and I hope this has been helpful in helping you chose the right glass for you. Just remember prime-lenses you zoom with your feet and get better performance in low light conditions along with having a smaller form factor. I also believe primes make you a better photographer, slowing down and looking at the picture unfolding in front of you before clicking the shutter button.
Using primes will give you a more consistent shooting pattern from wedding to wedding. You will find you’re predicting what lens to have attached to your camera at certain parts of the day covering the wedding.
Below you will find a selection of images taken with the above lenses.