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My Favorite Lenses Part One: Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Lately, I’ve gotten many questions regarding the lenses that I use. I thought I’d start out with my first informational blog with just that, a detailed description of the lenses that I use and why. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be going over each individual lens and why they each my favorite in one way or another! wedding photography gear

At any given wedding, you’ll probably find these 5 lenses in my bag, (from left to right) 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100mm f/2.8L MacroCanon 24mm f/1.4L II, Canon 50mm f/1.2L, and the Canon 135mm  f/2L.. as well as many backup lenses. I am a huge proponent of having mostly prime lenses (meaning they don’t zoom) because of the quality, most often I’d rather move with my feet instead of zooming with my lens.  By all means, I’m definitely not saying that ALL of these lenses are absolutely necessary to shoot a wedding…or that without all of these, you won’t make it. Believe me, I scooted by for a good while just using my 50mm 1.8 when I first began. Taking good photos is not all about the equipment, but I will admit that it does help to bring your ideas to life & definitely helps when it comes to quality. Buying equipment gets both addicting and expensive, so I hope to be able to give you some more insight on what might work for you! Today, I will be talking about my all-time, all-purpose, favorite lens ever, the Canon 50mm f/1.2L
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 I use and abuse this poor lens. I use it for EVERYTHING. If you’re on a budget, but still wanting to buy at least one high-quality lenses but don’t know where to start, look no further. This bad boy is good for anything and everything and you can’t beat the sharpness and it’s ability shoot in low light. I use it for photos while the bride (or groom) gets ready..
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Or for bridal portraits. The ability for this lens to shoot wide open (shallow depth of field)  allows for that beautiful blurred background. I tend to shoot anywhere from f/2.8 and lower…which is why I only use lenses that allow me to do so. That is just a preference that I have, because I LOVE the softness it achieves. Left shot at f/1.2, right at f/1.4.
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I’ll use it to capture couple’s portraits as well. Shot at f/1.4
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Both f/1.4
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It’s also a super quick lens that helps make sure I capture action..which I love to do 🙂  f/1.8
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f/1.8
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f/1.6
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When the space allows, I try to use this lens for group portraits as well. f/2.8
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f/3.2
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f/2.8
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 It works beautifully for any sort of detail as well.

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Last but not least, I use it for the reception. Anywhere from first dances, to the cake cutting. I am, for the majority, a natural light photographer. I won’t use flash unless it’s absolutely necessary, I’d rather raise my ISO as much as possible(with my 5d mark III, it allows for higher ISO without a huge amount of grain..which is my favorite part of the camera, more on that later!) . In the photo below, during Scott and his mother’s mother and son dance, there was beautiful ambient light and it wasn’t quite pitch black outside yet. This lens helped capture the moment exactly as it looked. If I had chosen to use flash, the same sort of natural look would not have been achieved. This was shot at f/1.2
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but, it does work beautifully with flash as well. Shot at f/2
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As you can see, I use this lens for SO many purposes. It wasn’t until I got the 70-200 2.8L IS II that I ever really WANTED to take this lens off my camera. If you’re looking to make your first big purchase to jump into the wedding photography business, I’d go with this lens. The 50mm 1.8 and the 50mm 1.4 definitely will help get your feet wet if you’re not interested in spending $1600. Ouch, I know. 🙂

-Katie 🙂