When I first began my career as a Temecula wedding photographer I had a very limited selection of lenses at my disposal. The primary lens I would use was a 50mm, and that was basically because it was the only lens I owned! I actually really love the 50mm lens (my personal favorite) when shooting portraits or a couple, but anybody who has ever used the 50mm understands the limitations of the prime lens. Ideally, you would never want to shoot an entire wedding with this one lens.
After taking photography courses and networking with other local wedding photographers in Temecula, Murrieta and all throughout Southern California, I was informed that the best thing a photographer could do was have a wide array of prime lenses. That sounds fine and dandy in a perfect world, but the costs associated with purchasing 5 or 6 prime lenses is really not an option for a wedding photographer just starting to create a name for themselves in their local market. That meant I needed to find photography equipment that offered me some flexibility, and the lens that offered me this was my next purchase, a 24-70mm.
Also called “The Brick” by stylish photographers with way to much time on their hands, the 24-70mm lens really offered me the solution I needed to shoot an entire wedding. This is because I could shoot detail shots with my 50mm lens, and capture quality photographs during the ceremony and reception at a distance that was not so intrusive with my 24-70mm. Nothing could be worse than trying to get a photo during a vow exchange and having the bride or groom glance over at you because you got too close. With my 50mm and 24-70mm I had the bare minimum required to shoot a wedding, but I still wanted to invest in a lens that would offer my something different. Something unique and artistic. That was when I decided to purchase a tilt-shift lens.
A number of wedding photographers whose work I personally feel inspired by (Bobby Earle, EP Love, Amelia Lyon) all shoot with a tilt-shift lens, and do so with precision and beauty. Seeing their photographs compelled me to scan eBay for the 45mm tilt-shift I now call my own. Although I am still very much a novice operating a tilt-shift due to the manual focus and plane of tilt, I can say with certainty that I love the images produced by this very challenging prime lens.
Obviously, the more tools an artist has the more options they have to create with. However, having access to every lens in the world doesn’t mean a person is going to be the best photographer in the world. Getting better requires lots of hours learning equipment, understanding light and hammering away on the trigger. It also requires knowing that there is always room for artistic growth and improvement. Personally, I think I am a terrible photographer that needs to continue seeking mastery of my form of artistic expression. Hopefully, through the process of investing in more gear and understanding the best way to use that equipment, I will continue getting better. As for me, the next collection of lenses I will be buying are the 70-200mm, a wide angle, macro lens and of course a 35mm.