Long or wide?

When I shoot an event, like last Saturday’s Christening, I usually shoot with both long and wide lenses.

So here I had:

  1. A Canon 1Ds3 with a 50mm f/1.2 lens
  2. A Canon 1D4 with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (meaning really a 90-260, since the 1D has a 1.3 crop factor).

I shoot the 50mm lens when I need:

  • More light – if I shoot at f/2.0 I let in a stop more than the 70-200 f/2.8 can, and at f/1.4 another stop. This can come in handy.
  • Consistency.
  • Super Blurry backgrounds.

And I use the long lens when I need:

  • Grabbed shots of expressions: “candids”.
  • Distance – because I cannot come too close during a solemn ceremony without spoiling the mood for everyone.

An example of the long lens:

And one of the 50mm lens:

Could you shoot an event with just one lens? Sure. That just means you will be shooting one type of photo. not all types of photo. If you only bring a wide lens, for instance, you will need to forgo the candids and get closer, instead. But of course it can be done. Do not get into gear too the extent that you think the gear determines how good you are. It doesn’t – it just helps bring it out by extending the range of options at your disposal.


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