The Only 2 Lenses You need for a Wedding Reception

When it comes to capturing the magic of a wedding reception, the right lenses can make all the difference. While there are countless options available, focusing on just two versatile lenses can ensure you capture every moment with clarity and creativity. Here’s a look at the only two lenses you need for a wedding reception and why they are essential.


1. The 24-70mm f/2.8: Versatility and Speed

The 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is often hailed as the workhorse of wedding photography, and for good reason. This lens offers a wide focal range, allowing you to seamlessly switch between wide-angle shots and medium telephoto shots without changing lenses. This is particularly useful during a wedding reception, where events unfold quickly, and you need to be ready for anything.

  • Wide Angle for Group Shots: The 24mm end of the lens is perfect for capturing group photos and wide-angle shots of the venue. This is essential for documenting the ambience and including as many people as possible in a single frame.
  • Mid-range for Candid Moments: Zooming in to 70mm allows you to capture candid moments without intruding on the guests’ personal space. This focal length is great for portraits and detailed shots of the decor.
  • Low Light Performance: The constant f/2.8 aperture ensures excellent performance in low light conditions, which is crucial for indoor receptions often held in dimly lit venues.

2. The 85mm f/1.4: Portrait Perfection- Wedding Reception Lenses

The 85mm f/1.4 lens is a favorite among portrait photographers and is ideal for capturing the emotional, intimate moments of a wedding reception. This lens excels in low light and offers a stunning shallow depth of field, making your subjects pop against a beautifully blurred background.

  • Stunning Bokeh: The wide f/1.4 aperture creates a dreamy bokeh effect, isolating the subject and adding a professional touch to your portraits.
  • Ideal for Portraits: The 85mm focal length is perfect for portraits, allowing you to capture close-up shots of the couple, the bridal party, and guests with flattering compression and minimal distortion.
  • Low Light Excellence: Receptions often extend into the evening, and the f/1.4 aperture ensures you can shoot in low light without sacrificing image quality.

Lens to Avoid: The Superzoom- Wedding Reception Lenses

While it might be tempting to use a superzoom lens like the 18-200mm for convenience, these lenses typically come with significant trade-offs. Superzooms often suffer from slower apertures, meaning poor performance in low light and less control over depth of field. Additionally, the image quality is usually inferior to prime lenses or professional zoom lenses, with issues like distortion and chromatic aberration being more prevalent.


For capturing the essence of a wedding reception, the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 85mm f/1.4 lenses provide the perfect combination of versatility, speed, and image quality. By focusing on these two lenses, you can ensure that you are well-equipped to handle any situation and deliver stunning, professional photographs. Avoid the superzoom for better performance and quality, and you’ll be able to create a wedding album that the couple will cherish forever.

For more tips on wedding photography, check out Digital Photography School and Photography Life.

Shari Photography

Our professional photography studio specializes in business and acting headshots and event photography. The headshot studio has over 15 years by providing exceptional headshots, quick turnarounds and amazing customer service.

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