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Best lens for wedding photography

Brooke Renee , Oct 14, 2011; 07:49 p.m.

Hi Everyone,

I have been doing numerous courses on photography for the last 12 months and I have been asked by a family friend to photograph there wedding as they are on such a strick budget that it doesnt allow any money for a photographer. I am not a professional but would like to do the best job I can. I am happy to do it to build up my portfoilio. It is an outside wedding in summer.
Id like your oopinion on the best lens for wedding photography at the moment i have a D7000 with a Nikon 1.4 50mm, Nikon 1.8 35mm and the 55-200mm 18-55mm standard lens that comes with the kit. I am on a budget of about $1000 and am open to Sigma or Tameron lens options. Any suggestions would be great! Thank you :)

Responses


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Frank Skomial , Oct 14, 2011; 09:18 p.m.

Do you have a flash ?
Even outside you may need to use flash. Perhaps SB700 would not have power to support range needed for balanced flash lighting and FP, but SB900 or SB800 could serve you well.
You could use reflective panels, if you get a helper to hold it for you.
I think your lenses are fine.

Brooke Renee , Oct 14, 2011; 09:24 p.m.

I have a SB600 at the moment, Thanks for your advice

Craig Shearman , Oct 14, 2011; 09:55 p.m.

Brooke, I think you're reasonably well covered on lenses. If you were going to shoot weddings professionally I would recommend the same basic lens kit that covers virtually everything from weddings to newspaper assignmens -- 12-24, 24-70 and 70-200 all in 2.8. Your two zooms aren't fast but they cover all the focal lengths you're going to need, and the two primes are fast and will work for either low light or good bokeh. If I were going to add something it would probably be a Strobframe bracket (or your favoriate brand) to get the flash up above the camera to make shadows fall out of sight and reduce red eye. Maybe a Sto-Fen Omnibouce or a Lumiquest or other brand mini-softbox -- not as good a a full size softbox or umbrella but better than bare flash and easy to handle while mounted on the camera. If you are going to shoot formal portraits beside just candids (and you should) I would get at least one light stand and umbrella to put your SB-600 into, and mabye a second flash with umbrella and stand especially if you're going to do groups. Second flash ideally would be another SB Nikon but could be as simple as a $90 Vivitar 285HV. Go read up on www.strobist.com about how to get the most out of shoe mount flashes. Most important thing to buy since you have time is a copy of Wedding Photography -- Art Business and Style by Steve Sint. Get the new edition that has digital in the title. It's basically the Bible of wedding photography. Memorize it, then do what it says.

Cyrus Procter , Oct 14, 2011; 10:18 p.m.

I agree your lenses are fine, especially for outdoors in the summer. I also concur that if you plan on making this a business, then some 2.8 glass would serve you well and bail you out of many a dark situation. Nikon's 2.8s are all out of your budget, and I've never used Sigma's or Tamron's so I'll let other users advise you there. If you eventually plan on making the most out of your flash, then you need to get it off camera, maybe for now a long hot-shoe extension cable? Pocketwizards and Nikon's SU-800 are expensive options. Some various softeners would also serve you well. Try and find a wedding photographer in your area to shoot with. That's valuable experience that you can't learn from a book or a video and no piece of equipment can substitute for. I shoot my 70-200 and my 24mm prime mostly at events. Be careful about using primes, as you can get stuck with the wrong lens and 5 seconds to switch, not a pleasant situation to be in (the wider the prime, the less of an issue since a few feet backwards or forwards can dramatically change the frame).
I heard a great phrase from a book I read once; "You will only be successful if you are lucky, and luck favors the prepared". Not that it entirely applies to your situation, but its food for thought as you prepare.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Oct 15, 2011; 01:12 a.m.

Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC or not VC. Add an 85mm f1.8.

julie izotov , Oct 15, 2011; 05:01 a.m.

my favorite wedding lens is 24-70mm 2.8, my favorite portrait lens is the 50mm 1.4 those are the only lenses i use and you can check out my work here :)

Moderator Note: Julie--please check posting guidelines. It is against guidelines to post frequent links to your website. Also, check posting guidelines for images. They must be 700 x 700 pixels or less, and about 100 Kbytes or less, and you must attach a caption for the image to show up in the thread. I removed your large image--if you would like to re-post it as an example of an image shot with one of the lenses you mentioned, you may do so--at the recommended size, and with a caption. Please also identify the lens used. You should also post a link to your website on your member page.

Matthew Muskovac , Oct 15, 2011; 05:46 a.m.

For an outside, daytime wedding, I would stick with the lenses you have. Of course there are better lenses, but you really should concentrate on two things instead.

1. Making sure you know how to deal with direct sunlight if there is no alternative. Fill flash is probably the best option.

2. Learning the best place to position yourself for the various ceremony shots. And how to pose people for any formal shots.

Ian Ivey , Oct 15, 2011; 10:17 a.m.

I second Nadine's suggestion of the Tamron 17-50, and recommend the VC version, which is available new for around $650.

I wouldn't chase a 24-70 with a crop-frame sensor camera. The 17-50 is outstanding on a DX body like the D7000. So much so that you'll rarely take it off (until you get, say, a 70-200 f/2.8 or a Tokina 50-135 f/2.8).

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Oct 15, 2011; 12:15 p.m.

Thought I might give reasons for my suggestions. These two lenses are what I always suggest for people starting out in wedding photography, with cropped sensor cameras. This is due to the high quality of the relatively fast zoom (Tamron 17-50mm f2.8). The range covered by the zoom is pretty much ideal. I also own one, so I know the quality. It isn't a premium lens, but it comes pretty close.

The 85mm f1.8 (Nikon or Canon) is a very good lens and will cover the longer end of the spectrum with a fast aperture. This lens is great for indoor ceremonies, particularly when you can't use flash.

For an outdoor, summer wedding, you may be just fine with your 55-200mm or 18-55mm, since outside in bright light, you probably won't need faster apertures. However, if you want to keep shooting weddings, you cannot depend upon these weddings being in brighter light. While your 35mm and 50mm are good lenses, a beginning wedding photographer might be hard pressed to use prime lenses in the heat of the moment, particularly without a second body.

So if you have the money now, and intend to shoot more weddings, you cannot go wrong with the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8. I don't have the VC version, and heard it is less sharp (don't know if this is true or not). I don't own any stabilized lenses and don't have that feature very high on my priority list. I also heard the revised Sigma 17-50mm lens is also very good.


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