Every wedding photographer needs a versatile selection of lenses.
After all, multiple lenses give you the flexibility to shoot everything – from wide-angle group shots to detailed closeups of the happy couple to everything in between.
But which lenses should you buy? And what lenses are best for your needs? In this article, we’ve handpicked 13 of the best lenses for wedding photography.
The 13 Best Lenses for Wedding Photography
- Best Lenses for Wedding Photography: Standard Zoom
- Best Lenses for Wedding Photography: Portrait Prime
- Best Lenses for Wedding Photography: Telephoto Zoom
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Best Lenses for Wedding Photography: Standard Zoom
To react quickly to changing situations every wedding photographer needs a high-quality standard zoom lens. The preferred focal length is usually 24-70mm, as this lets you photograph wide-angle scenes through to portraits.
1. Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM
The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM is one of the most flexible lenses for wedding photography you can buy.
Canon has an excellent selection of standard zoom lenses, and one of the best is the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM.
The lens is highly versatile thanks to its 24-70mm focal length but also offers superior quality and functionality. You get image stabilization that promises up to 5 stops of shake correction, along with a control ring that can be programmed with various setting adjustments. This can really help your wedding photography and will allow you to make quick changes for different situations.
With L-series durability, the RF 24-70mm f/2.8 is perfect for outdoor wedding photography, while its constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 also makes it ideal for nighttime shots at the wedding reception.
2. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM benefits from its bright maximum f/2.8 aperture and superior lens construction.
If you have a powerful camera for weddings like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, consider the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, which remains one of the best standard zoom lenses for full-frame EF-mount cameras and excels at wedding photography.
The 24-70mm focal length works for both wide-angle group shots and close-up portrait shots, and the f/2.8 maximum aperture is perfect for shoots with difficult lighting conditions.
You can expect fantastic image quality regardless of the focal length, due to the advanced optical design that includes one Super UD element and two UD elements. So if you’re looking for a versatile lens that offers superior sharpness, the 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is an outstanding buy!
3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
This Nikon Z lens features a fast and accurate AF system so you can capture action and memorable wedding moments with perfect clarity.
If you’re a Nikon mirrorless shooter, we highly recommend the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, an outstanding standard zoom lens that combines fast autofocus, incredible sharpness, and a robust build.
Oftentimes, you need to track people and movements at weddings; thanks to this lens’s Multi-Focusing system and two AF drive units, you can focus quickly and accurately to capture those unique moments.
Like other lenses featured in this category, this Z lens also has a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8. This allows you to create professional shots with excellent background separation. It also helps in low-light situations.
And this Z lens also has a dirt- and water-repellent fluorine coating, plus it’s dust and drip-resistant, so you can comfortably use it for outdoor wedding photos.
4. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is an all-around great lens that offers plenty of flexibility for wedding shoots.
Next, we have the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR, a great quality lens for Nikon full-frame cameras like the Nikon D6 or Nikon D850.
This lens has a solid set of features and is perfect for a variety of wedding scenarios. The lens construction results in sharp images from corner to corner, while the carefully designed lens elements virtually eliminate distortion.
The 24-70mm f/2.8E also features Vibration Reduction, which offers four stops of additional handholding. And if you frequently shoot in low light, you’ll also love the f/2.8 constant aperture, which allows you to capture sharp photos even in near darkness.
5. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM
This Sony GM lens delivers superior image quality regardless of the situation and is great for wedding action shots.
If you have a Sony camera like the Sony Alpha a7R III, a great choice for weddings is the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, a G Master series lens that offers outstanding performance in all situations.
The lens contains ED and Super ED elements for improved clarity, texture, and contrast; in other words, using this GM lens, you do not have to worry about the basic quality and sharpness of your wedding shots.
The lens also looks great and is excellent to operate. It has a smooth zoom transition and features a focus hold button. Thanks to the DDSSM AF system, this lens excels at people tracking and focusing – you will be able to focus quickly and never miss an opportunity!
Best Lenses for Wedding Photography: Portrait Prime
Wedding photographers also require a portrait prime lens, typically with a focal length of 50mm or 85mm. These lenses usually have a larger maximum aperture of f/1.8 or larger, which enables the creation of professional background blur that emphasizes the subject.
1. Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM
The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM is one of the best-quality lenses for wedding portraits.
One of the best wedding portrait lenses is the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM. This superior L-series lens features a durable build quality and benefits from an ultra-wide maximum aperture of f/1.2.
If you want a dedicated Canon portrait lens for capturing intimate moments of the wedded couple, this 85mm RF lens is the way to go. The maximum f/1.2 aperture helps create amazing bokeh effects and allows you to put emphasis on the newlyweds.
We also like that it has a programmable control ring, which you can set to adjust functions such as the aperture or the exposure compensation. Simply turn the control ring for instant setting changes, which adds an extra layer of flexibility to your wedding photography.
The sharpness and clarity this lens provides is incredible, thanks to various elements and optical mechanisms such as blue spectrum refractive optics.
2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM delivers exceptional image quality and is adaptable due to its f/2.8 maximum aperture.
50mm is a great focal length for portrait lenses, which makes the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM one of the best lenses for wedding photography you can buy. If you want a high-quality prime lens to take amazing wedding portraits, it’s a great pick.
Yes, it’s an older EF lens, but it’s a high-quality product and one of the more adaptable L-series lenses available. For one, the lens features a brilliant maximum aperture of f/1.2, so it excels in low light; you can also shoot at f/1.2 for beautiful bokeh effects to make the happy couple stand out.
The lens also sports various lens coatings and elements that greatly reduce annoying ghosting and lens flare. Expect fantastic sharpness from corner to corner and image quality your wedding clients will love.
3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S could act as a secondary, specialist portrait lens in conjunction with a primary standard zoom.
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S is a great option for Nikon Z camera owners; it’s also relatively affordable compared to many lenses on this list.
The 85mm f/1.8 includes two ED elements and nanocoatings on the glass for excellent sharpness and limited distortions. We also like that this Nikon portrait lens is dust and drip-resistant, so you can comfortably use it for outdoor wedding shoots.
You can also use the programmable control ring to increase your shooting flexibility. For example, you could set this to change the exposure to deal with different lighting conditions.
Although it’s not as high-quality as some lenses on this list, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.8 S works great alongside a primary standard-zoom lens at weddings.
4. Nikon AF-S FX 85mm f/1.4G
This lens benefits from a maximum f/1.4 aperture so you can create amazing background separation.
Nikon DSLR camera owners should consider the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G, a reliable lens that’s perfect for portrait shots.
We like that this prime lens has a maximum f/1.4 aperture, which allows you to concentrate on particular objects and create great detail shots (e.g., stylized shots of the couple’s rings). It also ensures the lens performs excellently in low light.
The 85mm f/1.4 features a robust build while remaining lightweight (it’s just 1.31 lb/594 g). The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G could be the perfect companion to a standard zoom lens that offers versatility in your portrait and detail wedding photos.
5. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM
This Sony FE lens delivers outstanding quality and is easy to use.
Our last prime lens pick is the Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, an exceptional lens offering everything you require to take professional wedding portraits.
The f/1.4 maximum aperture is great for nighttime shots at the wedding reception. And the high-quality lens elements and nano coatings work together to boost image quality and reduce those annoying optical errors that can hurt the overall effect of your wedding photos.
If you want a dedicated wedding portrait lens for your Sony Alpha camera, this is one of the best lenses on the market.
Best Lenses for Wedding Photography: Telephoto Zoom
Every wedding photographer can benefit from a versatile telephoto lens. Look for a wide maximum aperture, a flexible focal length range, and image stabilization.
1. Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
This RF lens offers gorgeous image quality and top-notch image stabilization.
The best mid-range telephoto lens for EOS R cameras is the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, a premium lens that delivers amazing image quality and is highly usable for weddings.
It has optical image stabilization for handheld use and a fast Nano USM AF motor. We also like that it has a tripod mount so you can set it up for those large outdoor group shots.
Expect sharp image quality throughout the focal length range, plus great low-light performance thanks to the f/2.8 constant aperture.
2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L III USM
This 70-200mm lens features pro-level image quality and an f/2.8 maximum aperture for low-light action.
Canon DSLR users will love the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM, a premium midrange telephoto lens for EF-mount cameras.
Thanks to its outstanding versatility, this is one of the top lenses for event photography. It offers a durable build for outdoor weddings, plus it will allow for great background separation due to the constant f/2.8 aperture.
You can expect amazing image quality throughout the focal length range. And thanks to the OIS and accurate Ring USM autofocus system, this lens is great for low-light wedding receptions and action shots.
3. Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S is a resilient lens that is relatively easy to use despite its larger size.
If you’re a Nikon mirrorless shooter, then consider the excellent Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S. This is an adaptable lens that has some great features for wedding photography.
For example, if you are shooting set pieces, you can use the tripod mount for extra stability. And if you need to change settings quickly, you can use the programmable control ring and customizable function buttons.
This midrange telephoto lens also features excellent image quality. Images are sharp from corner to corner regardless of the focal length, and you can expect minimal ghosting and flare.
4. Sony FE 70-20mm f/2.8 GM OSS
The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS is a brilliant professional lens that excels at wedding photography.
The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS is a professional-grade Sony GM lens that has similar features to its Canon EF and RF counterparts.
The f/2.8 maximum aperture is a huge bonus for wedding photos; it provides flexibility in various situations and makes this lens great for nighttime shoots. You can also count on the rigid and durable build when shooting outdoors in rain or snow.
The XA, ED, and Super ED elements inside the lens promise amazing image quality, and the resolution, colors, and contrast are fantastic.
Which Lens for Wedding Photography Is Right for You?
If you want to become a successful wedding photographer, you need a reliable set of lenses.
First, a standard zoom lens like the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM or the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM is great for fast-paced shooting and adapting to different situations.
Next, a prime portrait lens such as the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM or the Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G allows you to focus on the happy couple and create superb portrait shots.
Lastly, a telephoto zoom like the Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S or the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS offers plenty of flexibility and allows you to get detailed and unique shots from a distance.
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