Prime or zoom lenses for wedding photography?

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***A look at some of the pros and cons of prime vs zoom lens and how to make a decision about what’s right for you and your wedding photography business.***

***OVERVIEW***

It’s one of the biggest debates when it comes to wedding photography gear – should you shoot with prime or zoom lenses?
The simple answer is, why not use both!

But in this video, we’ll delve a little deeper to look at the pros and cons of the prime vs zoom lens debate and how to make a decision about which one is right for you and your wedding photography business.

I’ll share with you three things you should take into account when deciding which lenses to add to your equipment list. Firstly, what is your style of photography? Are you into natural lighting or prefer a more dramatic, editorial look? Secondly, which photos do you prefer to shoot on the wedding day – candids, portraits or details

And lastly, what type of weddings do you tend to capture? Are they action-packed multicultural weddings where there’s no downtime or more intimate, laid-back weddings?

Each of these three criteria will help to determine whether prime or zoom lenses are right for you. Depending on your answers to these questions (and what couples are hiring you for), you can determine the importance of having varied focal lengths and different apertures that allow you to capture the style of weddings and photographs that you want.

When it comes to the pros and cons of prime vs zoom lenses, does the ability to have variable focal lengths on a zoom lens (and not needing to constantly change lenses throughout the day) outweigh the sharper colors, low light performance and lighter weight of a prime lens?

I’ll also share with you how using prime lenses helped me to discover my own creative flair, which I later applied to using zoom lenses.

At the end of the day, it’s about finding the balance of things that work for you and there’s nothing wrong with having the best of both worlds.

Personally, I prefer the flexibility of working with zooms for catching the fast-paced weddings I often shoot but also love to have primes on hand to capture those gorgeous details shots and bridal portraits.

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11 Comments
  1. Brian Parkes says

    Interesting this came up as I switched recently from using zooms to mostly primes. I used to shoot most images on my 24-70 and a 70-200. Recently I've been shooting about 70% on 35mm, 50mm and 85mm.

    The change for me was about generating a look that wedding guests can't replicate. Camera phones and budget cameras are so good now its important to differentiate yourself as a pro. One way of doing that is using primes and a very shallow depth of field, another is using off camera flash.

    Totally agree though, there are situations where a zoom is invaluable for its flexibility. I always take both to a wedding.

  2. JOAQUIMKIMBO 1 says

    Very helpful video I just started my photography career thank you for the information 👍😉

  3. Ruffneck101 says

    I'm a Wedding photographer and videographer and I've used both primes and zooms… Zoom is better in my opinion. As far as the photoshoot or getting ready, prime is great. But for the reception and ceremony, zoom zoom zoom. Primes can limit you so much in these venues and if you work with a videographer and only use prime, you also ruin their shot and possibly a memory of the couples as well. I never understand why people feel the need to only use one or the other. I have a 35, 50, and 85 prime, and then I use 24-70 and 70-200 for zoom. If you're using quality lenses, then you don't need to worry about the sharpness of zoom vs. prime and the couples will be happier if you are non intrusive during the events and get a properly framed shot from a slight distance.

  4. Garry Burgess says

    In an ideal world, I'd use primes for every shot. When I'm in a hurry and I need to shoot a lot of images quickly – zooms. So with 2 shooters, it might be best to have 1 photographer using a zoom, and one using primes. I'd rather have what I need to deliver, than super great shots, but missing stuff that I need to deliver.

  5. Vegan Marshall says

    You described that very well, awesome! I want to shoot weddings with a 24-120 f4 on one body and a 35 f2 on the other, and switch between a 50 1.8, 100 2.8 E, 180 2.8. I would like to shoot mainly vintage manual primes on two bodies some day. But I need to get my first wedding under my belt first!

  6. Kainat Arif says

    Hi Henry, I asked you questions last time and it helped me a lot, my wedding event went so well and clients liked pictures. Could you please suggest me good lenses dx for portrait/group shots. I thought to upgrade to fx but my budget is low so I'll be upgrading my lenses and switch to another dx body. Is it okay pls help!! I'm getting an another event.

  7. David Malone says

    Great video Henry!!!

  8. Catalina Truong says

    you are AWESOME!!

  9. Wow ! thank you for the video on topic which I was looking for ! This gave me some clarity.

  10. Kaneports says

    Does this come down experience? I am new this year, been shooting 10yrs, but decided this is my year, so got first wedding 2 weeks time, 2 more after that, , I have 24-70 and 70-200, I just don’t want to miss a shot, but I also have 35mm and 50mm 1.8. I think once I get less stress about the overall process of the wedding day, and I don’t miss anything , then I can switch to primes which I will I think. Just got to get the 100vr macro or 90mm macro to finish up. The thing for me is 2 bodies, 2 lenses, 24-70 on one 70-200 on other. The 35/50 i can bring with me. There is no pressure in my first 2 weddings, except what I am putting on myself,, guess you been there though. Only issue I see is gear carrying, for me starting out 24-200 range covered is more important, Creativity in my eyes comes with relaxing around your environment, thus giving you time to see and compose differently, which is experience. I am sure your first pictures are totally different to your style now, as style and creativity takes time and experience, ie reason we switch from zoom to primes, I like the 85mm 1.8 and 105 1.4, even 135 1.4 can see me getting these but I will let the weddings pay for them. Could I see a 35/85 on bodies with 105 and macro finishers of course, that however comes with experience. Sorry to waffle on.

  11. ALEXANDER GOMES says

    primes all the way with 2 bodies
    50/85

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