Today I'm going to continue my series on lenses by talking about my Canon 70-200 2.8 IS lens. If you're just joining the series, click below to see the first post!

Canon 50mm 1.2

In my opinion, if you're a wedding photographer, the Canon 70-200 2.8 IS is a must-have lens. I use it for only around 15% of my images at any given wedding, but they are important ones. The reason I think this lens is so vital to have when shooting a wedding is that it allows you to capture the ceremony without having to be right up in the action. You can stand at a distance that allows you to be unobtrusive while still capturing the emotion and facial expressions that you want to preserve from this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The "IS" stands for "Image Stabilized" which is a feature that helps limit the effect of camera shake in telephoto lenses when they are hand-held at low shutter speeds. You can buy this lens for less without this feature, but I wouldn't recommend it. When you buy lenses you want to buy the best because they are investments that will stick with you through the course of your entire career (barring any mishaps). If you try to save by purchasing the 70-200 without the IS, you will not be able to use the lens hand held much below 1/200 sec when fully zoomed in without your images being blurry. When shooting weddings, you really need to be able to use this lens in low-light situations so don't waste your money on the lens without this feature.

I often use this lens during three of the four parts of a wedding day -- portraits, ceremony and reception. The only time of the day that I don't typically use it is preparation because we are in such confined spaces. The three things I love most about this lens are that it allows me to capture genuine emotion, to compose freely from a distance and to spy on people :).

I love spying on people. Taking their photos without them knowing I am doing so is awesome. If you have to be close to the subject to get a good composition, they will often stop what they are doing and look at the camera. That ruins any possibility of capturing the moment or that person in a natural state.

Here are a couple examples -- and just because I know people will ask, you can assume that my aperture when shooting with this lens is always 2.8. (Because it is.)
One of my favorites -- spying on parents & guests during the ceremony:
Another sweet moment that I wouldn't have been able to capture if I had to run across the room to grab it:
Two other great times to use this lens to spy on people during a wedding day are to capture guests both as they arrive for the ceremony and during cocktail hour. It's a must-have for both of these instances.

During the portrait part of the day, I use the 70-200mm for some of the portraits of the bride and groom and I LOVE it for this purpose for a number of reasons. When a couple does a first look and they see each other before the ceremony, I love to be off in the distance so that they feel like they are having a private moment. This allows their reaction to one another to be genuine. I love when I can capture images like this from the first look:
I oftentimes start the portrait time with the bride & groom with my 70-200 because it eases them into feeling more comfortable being photographed. As a result of the distance between us, they feel more comfortable interacting and focusing on one another and it allows me to capture more intimate moments like these:
As I mentioned above, another reason I love this lens is that it allows me to compose freely from a distance. The zoom capability gives you flexibility with your composition when you can't be closer to the subject (in the case of the image below left where I was on a balcony).
Here's another example. This image wouldn't have the same feel if I was shooting with my 50mm lens from the downward slope of the hill looking up at them.
During portraits, the Canon 70-200mm is great for walking images:
And during the ceremony, it allows you to be at a distance yet capture images like these that feel intimate:
Sometimes I use my 50mm for the recessional, but sometimes I need to be at the back of the aisle so the 70-200mm is handy.
It's also a great lens for getting tight shots during the toasts and dancing:
SUCH a great lens! If you are an aspiring wedding photographer, click here and buy the 70-200mm today. That's an order. Or save up for it and buy it later. Whatever :).

Another option, if you can't afford the lens now, is to rent it from Check them out!

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