As one of the top wedding photographers in the world, Jasmine Star knows the importance of using the right lens and camera for the right purpose. While some lenses can handle every aspect of a shoot, a photographer can really capture the special day by choosing the best lens and camera for wedding photography, specific to each type of shot.
While Jasmine primarily shoots on Canon, we have highlighted the Nikon equivalent for each selection (for us Nikon folks out there).
Here are a few lenses Jasmine Star carries with her to each wedding photo shoot, that can really make the difference in getting the desired look and feel.
The Best Lenses for Wedding Photography
50mm f/1.2 – 1.4
As Jasmine’s go-to lens, the Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens gives her the versatility she needs to shoot in a wide variety of conditions. She takes this lens with her everywhere, whether shooting for work or personal purposes. The f/1.2 and Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lenses are designed to capture crystal-clear pictures regardless of the lighting, allowing for high-quality shots in low-lighting conditions without a flash.
Second on Jasmine’s list of favorite lenses is the Canon 35mm f/1.4, an L-series professional lens with an aspherical element. Jasmine was late to discover this lens, only adding it to her collection a few years ago. As a lifestyle photographer, Jasmine has found that she tends to shoot depth more than width. While other L-series lenses excel at capturing width, the 35 lens measures closely to what the eye naturally sees, from periphery to periphery. The Nikon equivalent 35mm f/1.4 is a comparably exceptional low-light lens that is perfect for capturing the subtleties in portraits. She finds this lens is ideal for shooting couples’ portraits and landscape pictures.
85mm f/1.2 – 1.8
Both the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 and the Canon 85mm f/1.2 are weighty, but Jasmine has found it is ideal for capturing the buttery tone in a bride’s skin. Many photographers resist using the 85mm because of the extended time it takes to focus, but Jasmine has found it can create stunning bridal portraits. Comparably, the newer Nikon 85mm f/1.8 is lighter, cheaper, and is one of the sharpest mid-range primes that Nikon has released in a long time.
Every wedding photographer needs either the Canon 70-200 f/2.8, or the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lens on hand, Jasmine believes. The price can be daunting, especially since Jasmine finds that she only uses it during the ceremony, so she recommends new photographers rent the lens. This lens is essential because wedding photographers often find themselves shooting a ceremony in a poorly-lit church. To get the desired results from a respectable distance, a wedding photographer needs a lens that provides a high-quality zoom.
100mm Macro f/2.8
For capturing a stunning close-up of the couple’s rings or jewels on the bodice of a bride’s dress, Jasmine prefers the Canon 100mm Macro IS. This lens is unmatched in its ability to capture jewelry in stunning detail. The Nikon 105mm Macro f/2.8 delivers similarly stunning quality of close up objects.
Jasmine calls this her “lazy girl lens,” since it allows her to shoot multiple pictures without changing lenses. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 was her first lens and she found it was a great lens for learning. It allows the photographer to see both width and depth, providing diversity and eliminating the need to use different lenses for different photos. However, Jasmine quickly learned that she couldn’t get the results she wanted without shooting prime. Stylistically, she needed a wider aperture to capture the photos the way she wanted them to look. The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 on the other hand is part of the Nikon ‘Holy Trinity’ of lenses, and is found in most Nikon wedding photographer’s bags.
Jasmine started with the Canon 50mm f/1.4 ten years ago and it’s still going strong to this day. Jasmine’s husband, wedding photographer JD DelaTorre, uses this lens, finding that they suit his own stylistic needs perfectly. Jasmine, however, finds that interchanging it with other lenses is perfect for her. DelaTorre prefers to capture moments as they happen during a wedding, while Jasmine interchanges captured moments with poses. Both the Canon version and the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 are great lenses for a new photographer to use while building a portfolio, since they are both affordable and captures great photos.
For more information on capturing great wedding photos from one of the best photographers in the business, watch the video below.
Any serious photographer will tell you that the camera body that you use matters significantly less than the lens. However, it is still helpful to note which are the best cameras for wedding photography specifically, as shutter speed and ISO requirements are pretty important when shooting in potentially low-light and fast moving environments.
While this list is not all-encompassing, it is a good starting point for anyone wanting to know what are some of the best cameras to use for their next wedding photography shoot. Hesitant to fork over the heavy price tag on a camera or lens that you’re not familiar with? Try renting it first from our friends at BorrowLenses to see if it’s right for you.
Canon 6D – An affordable option that is capable of producing quality images in low light. While it is able to keep up with the 5D Mark III in this regard, it can’t hold up to the AF of the 5D Mark III which can be a pain point for wedding photographers.
Nikon D7200 – A high performing and low-cost option for the Nikon crowd. Although it is a DX (crop) sensor, the good frame rate and decent ISO range make this a strong option for a beginner or intermediate wedding photographer.
Canon 5D Mark III – Great in low light, strong AutoFocus, coupled with the ability to be weather sealed make this camera a wedding photographers dream. While it’s price point is above that of the 6D, the bang is worth the buck.
Nikon D750 – This incredibly versatile and powerful camera body is a step up from the D7200, both in terms of megapixels, frame rate, and ISO. It’s price point is still reasonable, while enabling the photographer pro-level functionality.
Nikon D810 – The best professional-level Nikon camera for wedding photography. With the hefty price tag you get 36 megapixels, insane ISO range, and just all-around solid performance. The only thing you lose out on in frame rate in comparison with the D750.
Canon 5DSR – This Canon broke new ground with it’s insanely high 50 megapixel CMOS censor. Let’s be clear, the vast majority of wedding photographers have no need for this kind of resolution. Having said that, with the proper lens attached, this camera is capable of some pretty stunning results.
Ultimately, your equipment doesn’t matter nearly as much as knowing what to do with it. So now that you are armed with all the best gear, learn how to master all the necessary wedding photography skills with Jasmine Star’s amazing course.
Editor’s note: While we decided to focus entirely on Nikon and Canon for this review, many other manufacturers produce quality cameras and lenses that work very well for wedding photography. Got other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!