Hello, Lovelies! I do apologize for the lack of educational posts in these last few weeks….hooray for busy season! I’m really, really excited about today’s post because we are talking about LENSES! I love me some luxury glass and definitely have my favorites. We are going to be learning about my 3 must-have-can’t-live-without-go-to lenses, which I use for every wedding and portrait session.

Lenses For Photographers

A few things: you should know that I shoot with Canon professional gear (expect for my medium format film work) and just adore it. I’m team Canon for life. The beautiful color that Canon cameras produce really fits my style and their lenses are known as some of the best (if not the best) in the industry for digital cameras. That being said, when we are talking lenses in this post, we’re talking Canon lenses. Also, I prefer to shoot with prime (non-zoom) lenses. The reason for this is that they produce sharper images and also grab focus more quickly then zoom lenses. do. Prime for life! Try it. You’ll never go back.

Up first? Canon’s 50mm f/1.2L USM. You guys-I shoot roughly 90% of my work with this lens. I lovingly refer to it as my “wife”. She’s honest, dependable, absolutely gorgeous and this images that I create with this lens match my film work very closely. I typically let the aperture of this lens sit around f/1.6 when I’m shooting portraits of a bride and groom and will stop it down to f/2.8 for larger groups. The wide aperture allows a ton of light to flood my images and the bokeh (the blur in the background of an image) is soft and spectacular. This lens is light enough to carry around during an entire wedding day and the focal length fits almost every situation (unless you’re shooting in a super tiny room, of course). I really can’t say enough about it!

Lenses For Photographers-350mm sample images below….


katiemcgihon-91Palm_Springs_Wedding-55Next up is the Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM. I’m not a huge fan of wide angle lenses, but this lens has a special place in my bag and comes out to play when the situation calls for it. I like this lens because of it’s wide aperture and minimal distortion around the edges. Those two factors make this lens a great choice for photographing people! It may not be a great fir for something life real estate and landscape photography, as you’d likely want to get even wider than 35mm when shooting in those genres. I love this lens for wide and dramatic shots of couples and also use it often when I’m photographing looooooong reception tables.Lenses For Photographers-435mm samples images below…


katiemcgihon-84maxandpoppy-403Last but certainly not least is Canon’s 85mm f1.2L USM. I have to be honest and tell you that I almost had a heart attack when we purchased this lens. It’s really, really costly but it’s really, really worth it. We own version 1 and at the time of purchase, it was retailing for $2,495. Yikes! Version 2 is currently retailing for less than that….thank goodness. The compression on this lens is out of this world. It’s really difficult to describe. It’s perfect for my boudoir work and bridal portraits. The bokeh that the 85mm produces is like non-other! While I absolutely adore this lens, there are a couple of downfalls that you should be aware of. The first is that it’s incredibly heavy thanks to those delicious and thick glass elements. It’s also a bit slow to grab focus so I wouldn’t suggest using it in a situation in which you need to rush.

Lenses For Photographers-285mm sample images below…

maxandpoppy (355 of 504)Palm_Desert_Wedding-57katiemcgihon-124Serendipity-Garden-Wedding_0041OK friends, that does it! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments box 🙂 Happy shooting!

My 3 Favorite Lenses For Photographers

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  1. Amanda Liew says:

    YES! Love this post — I use Nikon but absolutely adore my 50mm prime lens. I understand a little less about the technicals behind the lens – would you be able to explain what you mean when you say “good compression”? Your portraits are absolutely stunning!

  2. Samantha says:

    YESSSS!!!!! Amen to all the above!! I am a Nikon girl but I am so in love with my primes it is not even funny. I invested in a zoom thinking it would use it for weddings and other things but my heart just keeps going back to my primes!!!

  3. Tessa says:

    I just purchased the 50mm 1.2 this week to complete my threesome and I could not be happier! 3 amazing lens, thank you for posting this!

  4. Karl Bratby says:

    I have all three and agree with all you have said, im looking forward to the new 85mm 1.4 though out very soon.