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Hope Taylor is a photographer specializing in senior portraits serving both Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA.


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Wedding Day Breakdown: Lens by Lens For Photographers

For Photographers


This post has been coming for a LONG time and I have been so excited to prepare it and share it with you guys!!! One of the hardest and most stressful parts of a wedding day is deciding which lens to use to ensure that you will capture all of your couple’s beautiful memories. After shooting almost 3 full years of weddings, I have learned which lenses work best for me for each part of the wedding day. So, today I am going to be sharing which lens I use for each part of the wedding day, WHY I use it, images to give you a visual and links to where you can purchase the same lens!

Details: 35mm 1.5 and 100mm 2.8 Macro

While the bride is finishing her hair and makeup, I am working on shooting the details during the very first portion of the day. This includes the invitation suite, shoes, rings, jewelry, perfume, flowers (if available), garter, dresses, etc. When I begin details, I start shooting with my 35mm 1.4 lens. I use this lens for the wide shots of the invitation suite, shoes, dresses and other large-scale and flat lay details. Then, I switch to my 100mm macro 2.8 L lens to shoot close-ups of the rings, jewelry and other small details. This is typically the only time I use my macro lens during the wedding day, but I LOVE it and am so glad that I have it!

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Getting Ready: 35mm 1.4

Once details finish up and the bride is ready to get into her dress, I switch back to the 35mm 1.4. This allows me to capture her getting in her dress and her with her bridesmaids while in a small space like a hotel suite or getting ready room. Occasionally, I will switch to my 50mm 1.2 to get bridal portraits before heading outside for the first look or portrait time.

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First Look: 50mm 1.2 and 70-200mm 2.8 IS L

If the couple chooses to do a first look, this is the part of the day when my second shooter’s job becomes essential. I am typically shooting the groom’s reaction on my 50mm 1.2 while my second photographer is capturing the entire first look on the 70-200mm 2.8 IS L! This allows me to have wide (full body) shots of the grooms reaction as well as close-ups from the telephoto lens.

View More: http://hopetaylorphotographyphotos.pass.us/chelsey-and-marc-wedding View More: http://hopetaylorphotographyphotos.pass.us/chelsey-and-marc-wedding

Ceremony: 50mm 1.2 and 70-200mm 2.8 IS L

During the ceremony, we keep the same lenses on our cameras as the first look. I am standing at the back of the ceremony space shooting the processional, while my second photographer is standing off to the side of the altar capturing the groom’s reaction and guests. Then, I am typically crouching halfway down the aisle with my 50mm for the ceremony while my second photographer shoots from either side with the 70-200mm.

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Portraits: 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.2 and 85mm 1.2

After the ceremony, it’s portrait time! My favorite time of the day! For family formals and bridal party, I am shooting with the 35mm 1.4 while my second photographer is getting detail close-ups with the 50mm or 70-200mm. Then, I switch to my 50mm 1.2 for the majority of bride & groom portraits, but occasionally switch to my 35mm or 85mm for variety.

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Reception: 35mm 1.4

During the reception, I am always shooting with a 35mm 1.4 for the entire reception. My second photographer is typically shooting on a 50mm 1.2 but occasionally switching to the 70-200mm to get close-ups during speeches and special dances.

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I pack all of my equipment for a wedding day in a Think Tank Airport V 2.0 Roller Bag. This allows me to have all of my equipment safely packed in one place, and I carry a smaller shoulder bag with my necessary lenses depending on which part of the day we are shooting.

Below are the links to all of the equipment mentioned in this post! I am a Canon shooter, so I apologize to all of my Nikon friends, but I don’t have those links here! 🙂 I am an affiliate for Amazon, which means I get a small commission whenever a purchase is made from one of the links in this blog post. It doesn’t cost you any extra or make changes in your checkout process, but if you enjoy reading the free educational content on the blog, I would be so grateful if you decided to purchase your new equipment from the links in this post!

35mm 1.4:Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Wide Angle Lens for Canon SLR Cameras – Fixed

100mm 2.8 Macro: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

50mm 1.2: Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras – Fixed

85mm 1.2: Canon EF 85mm f1.2L II USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras – Fixed

70-200mm 2.8: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Think Tank: Think Tank Photo Airport International V 2.0

Flashes: Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash

If you enjoyed this post, you may also love:

One Tip to Avoid Getting Stuck with Senior Posing

Packing Gear for Traveling

June Senior Photography Workshop

  1. Christina Vincent says:

    I may have missed a technical abbreviation in your equipment (newbie here), but I’m guessing you shoot on a camera body with a full frame sensor?

  2. Charity Gilley says:

    Hey, Hope, do you bring a soft box with you to weddings?

hi, y'all!

I'm Hope Taylor, an international Senior Portrait and Wedding Photographer based in Charleston, SC. I'm also an educator, international speaker, and the host of multiple sold-out workshops each year!



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