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The Lenses in my Bag | Friday Chatter

March 1, 2019

Happy Friday (and Happy March!!), pals! I’m not going to lie… March is one of my favorite months! Not only is it my BIRTHDAY month (I’ll be turning 25 this time next week!), but it is the month where I start to feel like Spring may just be around the corner (even though it is still definitely freezing/snowing outside!). A girl can dream, right?! This is my last official month of “off season,” and I have to say, I am REALLY excited for what is right around the corner. April will be a month filled with plenty of portraits, and come May, it is OFFICIALLY wedding season!

Now… let’s back up to today! For today’s #FridayChatter, I wanted to share about something that I get asked about from time to time: What lens do you use? or What lens do you recommend? I wish this was a one word/one lens answer!! BUT, the truth is, I’ve worked to build an entire kit that I work with! I have specific lenses that I like to use for specific things. To help break things down, I thought I would do a blog post about every single lens in my bag AND what I use them for on a wedding day! This post will be wedding specific, so if you have any questions about portrait lenses, send me a message!

Before we officially get started with the post though, I need you to know: this is simply what works for me and my budget right now! I am sure the list will change in the future. This blog post should not be your shopping list. I recommend that you use it as part of your own personal research as you build a lens kit of your very own! Let’s get started!

Nikon 50mm 1.4 

It feels like an exaggeration to say that I use this lens for about 70-75% of a wedding day, but it is true! I just love it! I recently treated myself to an upgrade from the 1.8, and I didn’t expect to see much of a difference. However, I quickly learned that I really do prefer the 1.4! The image quality just feels a little sharper to me! I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this lens! If you were to invest in one and only one lens tomorrow, I would probably recommend a 50mm lens! Prime lenses have quickly become my favorite throughout the years!

My favorite time to use this lens: details, getting ready, first look, portraits, wedding party portraits, reception details, dances & some open dancing (Told y’all I love it…)

Nikon 85mm 1.8

Oh my goodness… the 85 was my dream lens for the longest time, and when I finally got it in my hands, it blew my mind! It produces the dreamiest and creamiest backgrounds and also allows me to get a close up frame without being up in my couples’ business! It is just the best for setting a subject apart from the background!

My favorite time to use this lens: details, first look, portraits, ceremony (when I am not using the 70-200), reception details, dances, toasts during the reception

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8

Fun Fact: this lens was the first one I invested in, years ago! Would I recommend that you do the same? Probably not with what I know now! Truthfully, I bought it used as a go-to travel lens and lens to use while I earned my degree in photojournalism before photographing weddings was even on my radar. I have found though that it has worked really well for me on wedding days! One day, I do think that I’ll switch to using a 35mm prime in its place (I just really love prime lenses, y’all!), but in the meantime, I’m loving this lens!

My favorite time to use this lens: tight getting ready spaces, detail flat-lays (when the 50 just isn’t wide enough), wide ceremony shots, wide reception room shots, open dancing

Sigma 105mm 2.8

I felt a little silly when I bought this lens originally because I was buying it for pretty much one purpose only, but I love it! This is the lens that I use to grab all the teeny tiny macro details. I am confident in saying that my ring shots wouldn’t be the same without it. Previously, I used macro filters or tried my hardest to grab ring shots without a macro. I found that it just wasn’t working and added this one to my kit! It took me a while to learn exactly how to use it, but now I love it!

My favorite time to use this lens: details (especially for ring shots!)

Tamron 70-200mm 2.8

I once referred to my 70-200 as the vegetable lens of wedding photography… it was the one that I knew I really did need to have to do my job well, but I didn’t necessarily want to make the investment. (Similarly to how you know you *should* get the steamed veggies at a restaurant, but you really want the fries.) I had this focal length in my kit once before this current lens, and it somehow split in half at an event. I drug my feet on investing in a new one, but once I did, I quickly learned that I LOVED it! It allows for close up shots when I need to be a fly on the wall, and the background compression is amazing too!

My favorite time to use this lens: ceremony, toasts during the reception & occasionally, I’ll use it for a first look or portraits when second shooting

Bonus: My favorite lenses for engagement sessions

I typically only bring my 50mm, 85mm and 105mm along with me to engagement sessions! I tend to gravitate towards using only prime lenses for portraits. I’ll use the 50 and 85’s for portraits and bring in the 105 for the pretty ring details!

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