As a small business owner, there's always something to spend money on. This is ESPECIALLY true when you're just starting out. I remember the feeling well -- having a list two pages long of things I wanted to invest in to help me grow my business.

I always tell new photographers that the two most important things to invest your money in when starting out are your website and your lenses. Your website is your first impression and the face of your business. And your lenses are a long-term investment. Camera bodies are like computers -- you'll need an upgrade every year or two. But lenses, when chosen wisely and taken care of, can last you a career.

A few weeks back, I started a series on my blog highlighting the various lenses I use on a wedding day. I shared their strengths, what I love about them, and when, during a wedding day, I pull them out of my bag. I also shared example images along with camera settings. Click below to see the posts in this series so far:

Canon 50mm 1.2
Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS
Canon 24mm 1.4

I said at the beginning of this series that it would be short. And just as you thought I was getting started...I'm already wrapping up. That's right. This is the end. Three lenses. That's all I use to shoot weddings.

I like to keep things simple. Just like with most things in life (clothes, accessories, daily meals) I don't like too many choices. I'm able to function more decisively and efficiently with a small number of options. But that doesn't mean I want to sacrifice any opportunity that equipment affords to stretch creativity. I just want to DO IT ALL with the least amount of equipment.

Most Canon shooters would ask me why I don't have a 24-70mm 2.8. After all, it's often the first lens a pro photographer buys. It's versatile.

I've never owned a 24-70mm. Why? I don't need it. Look at the list above once more. I have a 24mm (wide end) a 70-200mm (long end) and a 50mm (covers the middle range). If I bought a 24-70mm 2.8 it would be redundant. I've already got the whole range covered. You might then ask, if I want to do the most with the least amount of equipment, why don't I just buy a 24-70 and 70-200 and call it done? My answer: My priorities are an ability to shoot as wide open as possible (both because I love images with a shallow depth of field and because I need to be able to maximize light in low-light situations) and sharp images (afforded by fixed lenses).

Every photographer seeks to develop a recognizable style. And the lenses you choose are a part of helping you to define that style. For me, these three lenses allow me to capture life -- and specifically a wedding day -- the way I see it. I really don't feel like I need any other lenses to do the job. But every photographer is different! So feel free to experiment to find the lenses that help define your style. One way to do that is to rent lenses before making a big purchase. One company I would highly recommend for equipment rental is -- check them out!

I hope you guys have enjoyed this series! Before I officially wrap it up, I wanted to answer a few questions that numerous commenters asked throughout the series:

How many camera bodies do you shoot with?
I don't like carrying a lot of heavy gear on me. I'm a small girl and 9 hours of shooting (which is what I shoot for every wedding) is a long time to carry one camera, let alone two. So I just use one camera body and change lenses constantly. I have a non-shooting assistant who helps me by carrying my lenses and providing the extra hands to switch whenever I feel led (because we all know it actually takes four hands to efficiently change lenses :)). As you can see from the individual lens posts, I use every lens for every part of the wedding day except I don't generally pull out the 70-200mm during the preparation portion of the day. But other than that, they all are used during portraits, the ceremony and the reception.

How do you shoot so much at f1.2 when using your 50mm? Aren't you afraid that your image won't be sharp? How do you pick your focus point when shooting at 1.2? Do you change focus points constantly?
I do love shooting at 1.2 and I challenge myself to do so often. I LOVE the look of images with a shallow depth of field. Generally, it's not important for more than one thing in an image to be sharp. As long as the right thing is sharp, the image is useable and often very powerful. Here are some links to past posts that relate to shooting at 1.2 and answer these questions more fully:

Back-button focus (how I use focus points and choose a point of focus)
Depth of field (the portion of the image that is in focus varies based on 3 variables -- only one of which is the aperture)
More images taken at f1.2

Is the price jump from the 50mm 1.4 to the 50mm 1.2 worth the cost?
It's definitely worth it. But I shot weddings for years with my 50mm 1.4 before upgrading. I got amazing images with the 1.4 but the quality of the glass with the 1.2 is so much better. And the build of the 1.2 is so much sturdier. The 1.2 also took me to another level of creativity and enjoyment while shooting. Whenever photographers ask me this, I always say get the 1.2 -- but only AFTER you've gotten the other lenses you want. The 1.4 is sufficient. I wouldn't upgrade to the 1.2 until I already had the 70-200 and the 24. But after that, it's definitely worth the investment.

If you're still unsure of whether you want to invest in any of these lenses, like I mentioned above, rent them for a wedding from to try them out. If you do decide to purchase equipment, I would love it if you would use this link to B&H (or any of the links on my blog) because I get a very small (2%) commission as an affiliate. If you're buying the equipment already, it won't cost you anything extra to use the link and it's just a nice way of saying thanks!

If you've found this series helpful, please pass it on by using the Facebook and Twitter buttons below. To find more info/reviews on my gear and other resources I offer photographers, click here!
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