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Photography Question 
Julie A. Tamblin
 

Lens for Weddings, Events, Portraits


On a limited budget. When photographing weddings, events or portraits, what lens would you recommend? Or which lens would I be able to use for a majority of situations?


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7/25/2010 12:08:02 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Hello Julie,
This all depends on what quality of work you want to produce, because the glass makes all the difference. Being a Canon shooter, I started out with a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 ($400) and the Canon 70-200mm f/4 (non-IS version) for $600. I eventually replaced both lenses with the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L ($1300) and the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ($1900), and I use both of these lenses for the majority of my work at weddings and other events.
Primes are cheaper, but then you have to rely on your legs to get your distance and framing, which is not a bad thing. But having two camera bodies with the 24-70 and 70-200 allows me to shoot people right in front of me, and the candid shots of people further away without having to move a lot. I do carry a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 (it's better than the Canon 1.4) and works well indoors without a flash. I also carry a 100mm 2.8 macro lens with a ringflash and a couple of tripods.
Wedding photography is critical in that you only get one shot at it and a bad day on your part could possibly ruin a beautiful day for the couple if you don't get the shots or they are poor quality. I carry 3 camera bodies, several quality lenses, 2 speedlights, along with plenty of CF cards and batteries. So in case something fails, I just grab a spare and keep shooting. I sometimes bring my Alien Bee strobes and backdrops if the venue is conducive for setting up a place to shoot the group shots and portraits. I usually bring them along anyway, just in case the weather turns foul and our planned shoot outside in front of the pretty bushes, has to be moved indoors.
Hope this helps, and I have a lot more on this subject if you would like to know more of my thoughts.
I hope this helps Julie!


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7/25/2010 3:13:53 PM

 
Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/19/2006
  Great info Calton - now I have a few other questions for you. I currently use 2 Canon 50ds - and mostly my Canon L 70-200mm IS f/2.8 and my Canon 50mm f/1.4 lenses when I'm shooting a wedding. I also have with me 2 tamrons - 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 and tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 that I will sometimes use. I also carry a 580ex ii speedlite and a speedlite transmitter - along with cards and batterys. I pretty much use the 50mm for group shots and a few others and the 70-200 to capture the actualy wedding and candids during the reception. Now my questions - I'm wanting a prime lens that will shoot a large group in which I'm not as far away as what I need to get when I use my 50 (I usually use my 28-70) and I would also like to possibly get a fish-eye for capturing more creative shots. Any suggestions??
One more thing - do you have a bag reccommendation for carrying all this and any reccommendations for how to manage the 2 cameras with lenses during the wedding??


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7/27/2010 9:46:41 AM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Hello Gretchen,
One problem with shooting large groups with a wider lens is that it may distort the subjects a bit. I have a 17-40mm and the few times I have used it for groups, it has not been as flattering as either my 24-70 or 70-200. I recently replaced my Canon 50mm 1.4 (auto & manual focus quit working) with a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and it blows away my old Canon version.
The fisheyes are a lot of fun but with the 50D's you have a crop factor so an 8mm would not be a true 180 degree view as it is on my full frame 1DS or 5D Mk II. I can actually see my feet when pointing the lens straight out :) The 8mm is also $900 but Canon makes a 15mm fisheye that is very nice for about $600. A lens that may work great is the 14mm f/2.8 but this lens is over $2000 and though it is one of the best available for landscape photos, I dont know how it does for large group portraits.
The reason why longer lenses are more flattering for portraits is the compression and the way the light/image bends coming into the lens which gets distorted for wide-angle closeup shots.
If I were you, I would stick with the 50mm or consider the 85mm 1.4 or 1.8 or the 135mm f/2L which is one of the most amazing portrait lenses made IMO. Its a pain to have to be back away from your subjects but its the capture that matters and the longer lenses are worth the sacrifice.
I just shot a ton of photos at a 4 day music festival and most of them were taken with the 70-200, some with the 24-70, others with the Sigma 50mm and also a few with the 8mm. My High Sierra Music Fest 2010 photos - HSMF2010 these images have the EXIF info so you can tell which lens I used as well as if I used fill flash :) Most of these are snapshots but around 7:30pm each day, I would get beautiful lighting that made for some very nice portraits.
I have 2 Lowepro backpacks - a Vertex 300 that will carry almost everything (including a 17" Macbook Pro) and a smaller Flipside 300 that will carry a camera, 2 lenses & flash. Both have tripod carriers as well. The Vertex 300 loaded is one heavy pack but all the straps cinch easily and its easier to carry it on your back than it is to pick it up off the floor. If you are looking for a bag to work out of at wedding shoots, you may consider one of the bags with wheels which will probably be my next bag purchase.
Love in Light,
Carlton


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7/27/2010 10:29:18 AM

 
Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/19/2006
  Thanks for my mini lesson on why I get more flattering portraits with my longer lens as well as, factoring in the crop factor with the fisheyes ( I hadn't considered that!) I looked at some of your pictures from the Music Fest - WOW!!! Great color and clarity and some definate personally is coming out from the portraits!!! I really like the circle photos that were distorted!!! I do have one Lowepro backpack - and perhaps I need to see about getting a larger one - I really like it! Guess I'll have to start saving for the 14mm - but considering I'm still paying off my second camera and 70-200....I think I'll wait a while before I tell my husband about my new wish list!!!
Thanks again,
gretchen :o)


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7/27/2010 2:05:02 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Hi Gretchen,
If you are shooting portraits, get the 135mm f/2L. If you are a landscape Photographer then the 14mm is one of the very best but it is twice the price of the 135mm lens.
I sold my 135mm a couple of years ago to get another lens and now I want it back. The sharpness, bokeh & character of that lens is so beautiful.


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7/27/2010 3:56:24 PM

 
Julie A. Tamblin   Hi Carlton:

I appreciate all the great info and advice! So much to learn - thanks again.

J


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7/27/2010 5:08:37 PM

 
Gretchen J. Gilkey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/19/2006
  Thanks Carlton!!!!

gretchen :o)


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7/27/2010 5:19:06 PM

 
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