May 2021 // The Wedding Edition

Essential Gear for Wedding Photography Pros | Jason Vinson


Lenses can be such a hot topic with wedding professionals. On one side you have the crowd that believes zoom lenses give you the most versatility. And they do, because you can shoot at any focal length you want within that zoom and you have far less need to change your lenses. The problem for me here is that most people use the zoom feature of their lens the wrong way. If they need to get closer to the subject, they zoom in. Need to get further away? Then they zoom out. The problem with this is that the zoom feature of a lens is changing the focal length of the lens, which in turn changes things like depth of field, distortion, field of view and compression. What I believe should be done is you choose the focal length of your lens for the specific properties you want and then you use your feet to get closer or further from the subject as needed. Because of this, I much prefer prime lenses over zooms. What prime lenses do is force me to choose the lens for what it’s meant to do and then use my feet to get the right composition. Add into this that prime lenses are inherently faster, sharper and lighter, and it’s almost a no-brainer in my book.

settings: f2.8 @ 1/200 iso 100

I also feel that limitations make me a better photographer. This holds true for me whether I have some zoom lenses or a bag full of primes. If I have lenses that give me the option to shoot anything and everything under the sun, it’s going to be really hard to concentrate on a single subject. There will always be something else I can shoot or a different way I can shoot the same scene. There is also the constant mental dialogue on what lens or what focal length to choose. Because of this, I shot weddings for five years with nothing but two prime lenses, a 35mm lens and an 85mm lens. What this did was greatly free up my mental capacity when trying to find what to shoot and how to shoot it. Do I need a wide lens? Then I grabbed my 35mm. Do I need a tight lens? Then I grabbed my 85mm. There were no other options. I even went as far as shooting for two straight weeks in India with nothing but a 35mm lens.

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