This post has been a LONG time coming…the last time I blogged about my equipment was the beginning of 2014, and I spent the entire year purchasing new lenses + upgrading old ones! So, I’m pretty excited to finally have this post together to share with you all! Some of the questions that I get asked most often as a photographer are “what camera do you shoot with?”, “what lenses do you use?” and “which lenses are your favorite/what do you use them for?” So, I am hoping that this post will answer ALL of those questions (and more!!) by walking through each lens in my bag, what I use them for, why they’re important and then walking through an engagement session where I used each lens at least once!
To start, I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark lll camera with a Canon 6D as a back up. I use 5 lenses, 4 prime lenses (with a set focal length that doesn’t zoom in or out) and one telephoto lens (a lens that can zoom pretty far and change focal lengths). I carry all of my equipment in the Kelly Moore “Two Sues” bag and use SanDisk Extreme 16GB memory cards that read at 120 MB/s! I also have two 600 flashes, a ring light, a soft box and various other studio equipment that I may blog about another day! I will list the lenses in order of focal length:
Canon 35mm 1.4 (Wide Angle) lens
This 35mm lens is one of my four prime lenses and I absolutely love it! Personally, this lens is probably the LEAST used prime lens in my bag, because I rarely bring it out at a senior session. However, at engagement sessions + weddings, it is FLAWLESS. This lens is amazingly sharp + fast, and it creates amazing results every time! There is only a tiny, tiny bit of distortion if the lens is used up-close…but nothing to complain about! I love using this lens to capture wide shots of landscapes in the background (like the farm pictured) or to capture a textured background with minimal bokeh. All-in-all, this lens is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend it!
Canon 50mm 1.2 (My baby!!)
Oh goodness…I don’t think I can say enough good things about this lens!! I use this lens for EVERYTHING and it is like my baby. It is super sharp (I had to send mine in for a slight focusing issue, but it’s all better now) and super fast! It’s the perfect focal length for portraits of all kinds (senior, couple, family, etc) and can be used for just about anything. It’s almost considered the “standard” portrait lens in the photography world, and it definitely needs to be added to your bag if it isn’t already there! I have previously used the 1.8 version of this lens (less than $100!!) and it is wonderful as well, especially for beginners! This lens is probably the lens most frequently used on my camera (almost neck-and-neck with my 85mm 1.2) and it’s the bee’s knees!
Canon 85mm 1.2 lens
THIS. LENS. OH. MY. GOODNESS. This lens is one of the most expensive + bulky lenses in my bag…but it is SO. WORTH IT. I saved and waited and saved and waited and saved some more for this lens after hearing so many rave reviews…and it lived up to every standard and then some! It produces the most CREAMY bokeh (that may sound weird…you’ll understand as soon as you use it!!) and it’s focus is absolutely amazing! It’s not the fastest of lenses when it comes to focusing, so I wouldn’t recommend it for small children or sports photography, but it is the DREAM lens for portraits! I have also used the 1.8 version of this lens, and it is another wonderful lens to have in your bag as a beginner with a much less intimidating price tag!
Canon 100mm 2.8 macro
This marco lens it the only one I have ever owned, and I wouldn’t want to own any other!! I use this baby for all of my ring shots, occasional detail close-ups, and even some portraits! It has GREAT focus and works fabulously on manual for ring shot purposes. I have never had an issue with this lens, and it’s definitely a must-have for all wedding photogs!
Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS
This lens is the newest lens in my bag and, so far, I absolutely adore it! It is definitely the lens that I look LEAST forward to using, just because of it’s sheer size and weight, but I still love the results!! I have used it for a few portrait sessions and for two surprise proposals…and it has definitely delivered! It has super-quick focus and I love the variety I can achieve in such a short time because of the telephoto zoom. For surprise proposals when I can’t move much, this lens comes in handy for sure! It’s a great lens to have in your bag as a wedding photographer so that you can capture gorgeous ceremony shots from far away!
And finally, I am going to use Madi + Neil’s beautiful Harrisonburg engagement session to share what it looks like to use each lens during ONE session! I try my best to switch lenses as much as possible during every shoot, because it gives a gallery even more variety than it would already have! So, I start every session with my 50mm 1.2 and then switch it to the 85mm for some more romantic portraits. Then, I continue to switch back and forth from my 35mm, 50mm and 85mm to get a variety of looks throughout the session! At the end of every engagement session, I pull out my 100mm macro to grab ring shots before we finish up!