For wedding photographers, packing gear varies from time to time, but we have a few staple lenses that we find ourselves reaching for throughout the wedding day. Bride prep and portraits are some of the first shots you will take on the day of a wedding, so which lenses do you find yourself predominantly using? Is it the 85mm, the godfather of all portrait lenses, or maybe a 24mm for journalistic, environmental portraits?

This is an excerpt from our latest Wedding Workshop release: Photographing the Bride where we show you how to achieve extraordinary images of your bride and bridal party with affordable gear. Use the code WED40 to receive a 40% discount on all Wedding related products in the SLRL Store during our 2016 Holiday sale!

Here are our top 3 favorite lenses for bridal portraits and prep:

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85mm Lens

Regarded as a portrait photographer’s go-to-lens, the 85mm is definitely one we can’t shoot without. This focal length is perfect for true portraits of the bride and for beautiful compression.

Our recommendations:

50mm Lens

Although there is still some distortion with 50mm lenses, this is still a great choice for bridal portraits, especially with the restricting space of bride prep rooms. Shooting with prime lenses allows us to get that bright and airy look with beautiful focus fall-off, giving the skin a softer appearance.

Our recommendations:

24mm Lens

The 24mm prime is extremely useful for exaggerating portraits that showcase the environment and the overall scene. Using a 16-35 zoom lens for that focal length reduces light because the lowest you can stop down to is f/2.8, and the distortion is a bit too heavy. Here is when having prime lenses really comes into play – you get plenty of light while having a wide angle view and a shallow depth of field.

Our recommendations:

honorable mentions

100mm lens

A macro lens is essential for lead-shooting wedding photographers in order to capture fine details like rings or cufflinks. Although you can easily photograph objects and compress them with any of the aforementioned lenses, a macro allows you to get up close and personal without worry about minimum focusing distance.

Our recommendations:

35mm lens

Another great choice for a wide angle portrait lens that lets you get a little bit closer than a 24mm, but not as a tight as a 50mm.

Our recommendations:

90mm tilt-shift lens

This is definitely a unique and creative addition to your tool kit, but not a necessity. The tilt-shift lens adds a hazy/dreamy look for bridal portraits that is great for brides looking for that bright and airy style of photography.

Our recommendations:

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Make sure you check out Photographing the Bride to see how we use these lenses in practice, or stream the entire workshop in Premium now. Use the code WED40 to receive a 40% discount on all Wedding related products in the SLRL Store during our 2016 Holiday sale!