What lens to use at an event? I hear this question all the time, and it is a good question.Especially with “events” happening all over, during the next week or so.
In my upcoming “Events Photography” workshop I’ll talk about this topic at length. But today, let me give you a starting pointer or two. Some of this is a repeat from prior posts, but put together in one post it probably has value.
I use the following lenses rather often: and this is on a full-frame camera, so on a crop-factor SLR you need to divide each of these numbers by roughly 1.5:
- 24-70 f/2.8: General purpose, when I expect a “normal” party or event: i.e. no cramped spaces, no ultra-low light.
- 16-35 f/2.8: When I expect group shots or cramped spaces. I also use this to get extra perspective, or to get shots with lots of leading lines, possibly angled shots like the one above.
- 35mm prime f/1.4: When I expect low light, or when I expect mainly “grip and grin” pictures.
- 70-200 f/2.8: when I expect to be asked for impromptu “fly on the wall” shots and portraits.
So on a crop camera (a low- or medium-priced SLR like a D90 or a Digital Rebel) I would use the 16-35 or 17-40 lens as my general walk-around event lens and I would use a 24mm prime for low-light shooting.
Fast lenses (low “F-numbers”, or “wide apertures” are good for two reasons: they let in more light, and they allow me to blur the background more.
The most important lesson is: It does not greatly matter. While a wide lens is probably easiest, you can take pictures with any lens. “Fast” is more important than the exact width.