Lenses...And why they are so awesome!

May 4th, 2016

You're new to photography, you want to shoot but you don't really know exactly what you need. You are also afraid to go out and try to shoot, but then get frustrated because the image is not what you want, as far as crips blurry background, or wide landscapes. Do you ever find yourself sifting through images online and thinking to yourself "How?" "Why?" "What???" I do! Or I did rather. Photography takes a lot of research and a lot of headache. And then after that is over, you research and get another headache. 

Wether you are new to the business or seeking out a fun hobby, there are lenses for specific reasons. I encourage you to go beyond the lovely kit lens they provide you when you buy your DSLR. Although there are many different lenses out there with a lot of numbers and abbreviations you have no clue about, I encourage you to explore your options.

Let me get started...The VERY FIRST question you need to ask yourself before you buy/rent a lens is "What are you shooting?" and more specifically "What are you intending on doing with this image?" . I know, you are probably thinking, "Wait, what? I have to get a lens for different things I am shooting, why can't I just have one that does everything?" Before I get to that answer, you still need to know your optics(lenses, and why they are so awesome). 

Being a Wedding photographer, that also entails I shoot engagement's, senior's as well as families. As you can tell, all these are very different, yet similar in many ways. Before I get started I would also like to add, PHOTOGRAPHY IS SUBJECTIVE, meaning I will do things because it is what I prefer, you might do something else and that is perfectly fine. So, all these different shoots call for a different vibe, questions I need to consider(I recall back to shooting at a wedding because if I can shoot a wedding, I can use the same lenses for different shoots with the same principles) Will I be in an open area with lots of "beyond the eye can see landscapes", will I be in dimmer areas, where I need to let a lot of light in, will I be doing details, etc... You get the picture(that was funny haha) These are all questions I consider when I shoot Weddings. 

Now the fun part you have been waiting for; let's revert back to the question "Will I be in open areas with a lot of open-ness(that's not a real word don't judge)? Say you were shooting at a farm with a lot of valleys and a lot of landscape, you have a ton of room to work with. In this case, I would bring my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 lens with me. First off, through reading, write these lenses down for reference, one thing to realize is, your eye at a normal range usually sees from one eye to the next is about 50mm. So, with that in mind, if I was using a 70-200mm lens, that means my eyes can zoom in at least 70-200 times. That is for reference, I hope that makes sense. The Canon 70-200mm 2.8 is a long, heavy, white telephoto lens. It is used for compressing your subject, meaning the lens is used for far distances so you can have the ability to zoom in really close and get that nice, creamy blurry background. This is the lens that when you see it, people know you are a professional because it is no joke, the precision(the consistent accuracy) is spot on. When I use this lens, I want to be about 50 yards away from my subject, zooming in all the way. This works very well when your subject has a lot of background behind them so you can get a very blurry background. 

Next, let's say I was still shooting at this wedding, and I want to capture the valleys behind them, or I just want to capture the landscape only. Here is when I would pull out my Canon 24-70mm 2.8. Remember when I said your eye's normal range is 50mm? If I had a 24-70mm lens, that means 24mm is wide, beyond what the normal range of eyes are, so that is really nice to get awesome landscapes. Notice the number after each lens I mention or the ones you look at? I will discuss this in another blog, but for reference the smaller the number (1.4, 1.8, 2.8...) the more light it lets in, also the blurry the background can get, keep that in mind. So, I can also use this lens for portraits as well, similar to my 70-200mm 2.8, but it will have a more wide range, which is very cool as well. I can have the ability to go from wide landscapes to creamy background portraits with this guy, I can also drop down(make the aperture[not sure what aperture is?] ) to F2.8 which will let in the most light as well as give me a nice creamy background for situations indoors for detail shots. Basically, this is an awesome go - to lens. You can use this lens for just about anything, please keep that in mind. If this scenario was not clear enough, please look up this lens and search for examples. 

Last but not least, the last lens I have in my camera bag at all times is my Sigma 50mm 1.4 lens. This is a small, light lens that is used for opening up your aperture all the way to 1.4 which means it lets in the most light, gives the most creamy background available, as well as gives youth ability to shoot very fast(sometimes 1/8000th of a second in broad daylight). This lens is amazing for a lot of different reasons. This lens is called a fixed, prime lens. Which means the focal length does not change, which means you can not zoom in or out, remember what I said about 50mm?? This is a test to see if you learned anything about 50mm and eye range, I will give you a minute to think about it...That is one more reason why this lens is so popular, now granted, this is a Sigma brand, Canon makes three 50mm lens (50mm 1.2 $1500, 50mm 1.4 $400, 50mm 1.8 $125) do your research, the more expensive the more quality, precision, type of glass, build, etc.  So the scenario I want to bring up with the lens is say I just got to the wedding venue, it's early afternoon the bride just got to her dressing room with her bridesmaids and I want to capture them interacting, having fun, capturing the bride getting her hair done, capture the dress hanging from door frame, capturing shots of the rings, and I want all that with natural light, a creamy blurry background, and I want to shoot at a fast shutter speed so I do not get any motion blur. That is what this guy is used for, and it executes it very well. I prefer taking my time with this lens, due to the fact that it opens wide up with an aperture of F1.4, if my focus is off by just a hair, it can ruin my shot, so take your time when using this lens.    

Alright ladies & gentleman, those were my lenses I use when I got out on ALL my shoots. This does not mean you need to go out and spend your savings on these lenses, this is only what I prefer yet also encourage to consider. Please do your research when scouting out a lens.

Ask your self two questions 1. What am I shooting? 2. What am I going to do with the specific shot?

I gave three options of what I shoot with...

Canon 70-200mm 2.8 - Telephoto lens used for zooming in on your subject and having a lot of room to capture images. 

Canon 24-70mm 2.8 - Wide angle lens used for just about anything. This is a go - to lens that is quality guaranteed. 

Sigma 50mm 1.4 - Prime lens used for details, shooting very fast, as well as allowing the best blurry background possible. (With an acceptation of Canon's 1.2 prime lens) 

That's all folks, if you have any questions, leave a comment below. Till next time!   

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