We’re in the middle of a series on the lenses we love. We’re explaining all of the lenses we own, why we decided to purchase them, and how we use them on wedding days (and on portrait sessions). You can catch up on this series here:
Today, we’ll be talking about the third lens we purchased, the Canon 24-70 2.8L, and the two reasons why we still start and end every wedding day with this lens. (Since we purchased this lens a few years ago, Canon has released an updated version. You can find it here.)
When we arrive at the bride’s getting ready location, it’s important to make her feel comfortable from the start. Instead of walking in with our cameras firing and lenses blazing, we prefer to smile, give her a big hug, introduce ourselves to her bridesmaids, and let her know how excited we are to be there. Even the happiest brides get a little bit nervous when the shutter starts clicking, so it’s important to reassure her right away, set the right tone from the beginning, and give her a clear, calming expectation of what’s to come. We usually start by asking her for the details (dress, shoes, rings, bouquet), and then follow up with this question: Are there any other important details you’d like us to photograph? After we offer a few possibilities (handwritten notes, family heirlooms, perfume), our brides usually grab a few more items, and we leave the room and take the details somewhere else to photograph before she puts them on. When we return for final makeup and hair retouches, and getting on the dress, we pull out this lens for…
Every bride’s getting ready room is different, but the one thing they all have in common is that they’re a tight squeeze and moments happen fast. When we’re squished into a small corner and the bride’s mom is lacing up her dress, we need to grab wide shots of the entire room and close-ups of the bride and her mom, too. As much as we love prime lenses, in a getting ready room, we oftentimes don’t have any ability to move, and we don’t have time to change lenses, and that’s why we love our first telephoto lens. It zooms between 24mm and 70mm. So, from close distances, it can get really wide (24mm), and from farther distances, it can get really close (70mm). And it does both really fast. Without moving and within seconds, we’re able to take wide shots of an entire room, grab a portrait of the bride getting her dress on, and zoom to her mom’s hands lacing up the corset. No other lens provides this kind of flexibility and quickness in the getting ready room, and that’s why we love it. Interestingly, getting ready rooms and dance floors have a lot in common, which is why we loves this lens for…
A lot happens at wedding receptions, and there’s not always a lot of space to move without being in the way, or a lot of time to react and change lenses without missing a moment, so we don’t. During the first dance, we’re able to get tight shots of the bride and groom’s reactions, as well as wide shots of the entire ballroom. We’re able to capture their moment without missing a moment or interfering with one. During toasts, we’re able to get tight enough to photograph the father of the bride smile, and get wide enough to shoot the head table’s reaction to something funny or heart-warming that he said. During open dancing, the most important people in the room are the bride and groom – and we can’t control where they are on the dance floor. Most of the time, we position ourselves on the outskirts of the dance floor. If the bride and groom are on the outskirts of the dance floor and we’re only a few feet away, we need a lens wide enough (24mm) to get most of their bodies. If they’re in the middle of a crowded dance floor, we need a lens tight enough (70mm) to zoom in and work around the dancing without getting in the middle of it. That’s why we love this lens for receptions.
Early on in our business, this third lens allowed us to shoot complete wedding days from the getting ready room to the dance floor, from beginning to end. Looking back, it was the perfect third lens for us. If you’ve been looking for a great way to photograph weddings from start to finish, it just might be the perfect lens for you, too. Have a great day, and let’s make each other better.
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