• Abigail Saalfrank

My Go-To Lenses

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

Educational Fridays have kind of been on the back burner as I have been so insanely busy. But I am back, and hoping to get them back to pretty consistent minus a few here and there just due to the fact that things are insane around here right now. I have definitely entered busy season! But anyways, this Friday is all about my go to lenses, and obviously a post for all my photographers out there!

As a photographer I clearly have my favorite lenses and the ones I know I can't live without. But there are always so many lenses on the market and it was so overwhelming to chose when I started. Did I want zoom lenses or prime? Did I want the 35 or 50? Did I go with what my photographer friends said even though I liked another lens better. All around the choices of lenses can be so overwhelming and hard to decide which is why I am here to tell you my favorites and why they are my favorites, hopefully giving you just a little bit of guidance! I would say however if you are really unsure about what lenses to buy, there are websites such as borrowlenses.com and lensrental.com where you can rent a lens and try it out. This is a great idea if you are caught between two lenses and want to make sure you make the right choice, especially since lenses are so expensive! Even though I have a list of future lenses I want, I always rent them and try them out before I make my big purchase!

First I want to start off by telling you what I own, obviously because I am deeming all of these lenses as necessary for my job, even though I will let you know which ones are in more heavy rotation and spent way more time on my camera. The following are the lenses I currently own: Sigma Art 50 mm 1.4, Canon 50 mm 1.4, Canon 85mm 1.4, and a Canon 24-70mm 2.8! Some of you may be like wow she is a wedding photographer and only owns 4 lenses, YUP! In fact you will soon find out, I honestly only deem one of those lenses as necessary and could honestly sell the others and still run my business as usual! It is crazy to me that photographers think they need 900 lenses to be a professional, when really you only need one.

First up in importance to me, and the one I literally run my business with is the Sigma Art 50mm 1.4. This lens literally never leaves my body. I could sell ever other lenses I own and run my business with this lens alone, and kind of already do. Tbh, other than occasionally during a ceremony if I am in the way back, I can not tell you the last time I used any of my other lenses. I use this lens for everything from families, to seniors, to engagements, to weddings. This lens is heavily used and heavily loved. To be it is the perfect focal length for shooting pretty much anywhere. It allows you to get close to your clients without breathing down their neck, it allows you to step back and capture everything you need in tight spaces, it is perfect for getting ready rooms at venues, all around this lens is truly the best lens in my opinion. I am pretty sure if I died tomorrow, my second shooter, Evan, would show up at my house and take it, because he is equally obsessed with it.

The next lens that I feel is important is a 24-70. Now you may be saying why do I need another lens? You literally just told me you only use your 50? Here is why! The reason I am able to use my 50 and only my 50 on a wedding day has everything to do with the fact my second shooter uses a 24-70 meaning he can get those super wide for portraits, and super tight shots for ceremonies, while I get more the middle ground. So having someone with a 24-70 is totally necessary in my opinion. If I shot without a second shooter, I would totally use two bodies and rotate between my 50 and 24-70. Therefore I definitely deem a 24-70 of super importance. It is really good for capturing wide shots when you are doing portraits, or getting the whole picture of a church or venue. It is super great for getting tight shots during the ceremony when you shoot in churches that don't allow the photographers to move around. It is also great for super tight getting ready spaces if you want more of a wide view. Overall this lens is pretty amazing and definitely necessary in my opinion.

The next lens I would say is important is going to be my 85. While I mainly use my 50 and I am saying 98% of the time, if I do put another lens on my camera it is a 85. I love the 85 because the richness of the bokeh (background blurring) is soooooooo good. I have shot engagement sessions in the dead of winter at a park, and they turned out beautifully and were published because of the amazing bokeh taking over the background. Honestly if I didnt have to be so far back with my 85 I would probably use it more, but my 50 just allows me to get so much closer then I ever could with my 85 and that is why my 50 wins. However my 85 is great for ceremonies, shooting at less then pretty locations, and for really dreamy tight shots. I definitely think an 85 is a great thing to have and highly recommend it. I also know a good majority of my photographer friends prefer their 85 over their 50, so it is really a great choice.

I am obviously not going to talk about my other 50 because my Sigma is the top, and the other is more a back up at this point and honestly I should probably sell it. But it was my first lens I purchased that wasn't the lens that came with my camera, so it definitely has a lot of sentimental value to me.

I also want to list out some other lenses that I definitely think are really great, and would be a great addition to my bag some day!

- Sigma Art 35mm 1.4: I have heard amazing things about 35mm lenses, and obviously would love to have one for some more wide shots and when I am really shooting in tight places so I don't have to shove myself against things as flat as possible. This is honestly the next lens on my list.

- Canon 100 mm macro 2.8: Macro lenses are primarily used for detail shots, which is why I haven't yet snatched one up. They are pretty dang expensive, but the detail shots would definitely be worth it. I do have a macro ring that I can put directly on my lens and I make that work for the time being just because I have yet to justify spending so much on a lens I would use for 20 minutes at a wedding. However I think it would be another great addition to have.

I hope this helped guide you in your lens purchasing experience and don't be afraid to leave a comment if you have a question!


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