Can You Shoot a Wedding With a 50mm Lens?

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Wedding photography can be a huge challenge for most photographers. You need to capture individual portraits, candid pictures, and much more which is why most photographers carry many lenses with them. The question is can you shoot a wedding with a 50mm lens?

Can You Shoot a Wedding With a 50mm Lens?

Yes, you can shoot a wedding with a 50mm lens because it is a versatile lens.  In all lighting conditions, the 50mm lens consistently produces good results. When taking pictures at a wedding, you can use a 50mm lens both indoors and outdoors. The 50mm lens does struggle in some areas, so you should keep other lenses on hand.

A person holding a black camera on a wedding

Additionally, a 50mm lens comes with a fixed focal length which does not allow you to zoom in or out. It is a low-priced, fast lens. It is the closest a lens can get to a human eye, that is, its field of vision is similar to a human eye which is great for capturing wedding photos.

Shutter Speed

A 50mm lens traditionally comes with fast shutter speeds below 1/200 seconds. Moreover, there is a lot of movement during weddings, the fast shutter speed ensures that there is no motion blur, and all images are crisp. Also, it allows you to capture candid shots of people interacting with each other during the wedding.

Although with a faster shutter speed there is an issue with low light settings, you don’t have to worry. A 50mm lens lets in more light than other lenses. Also, weddings are occasions that are normally well lit, so you do not have to worry about that and capture smooth and clear images.


Lens distortion occurs when the lens cannot capture the natural view of content. While capturing photos at a wedding, you need to make sure which focal length captures the best-looking pictures because some focal lengths can distort images.

A 50mm lens ensures that the images are not distorted and helps capture content in the most natural way. It ensures that at weddings, faces are captured without being distorted into unnatural positions.

While most photographers do not notice this, focal length and distortion play an essential role in making sure portraits turn out well.


The 50mm lens usually comes paired with wide apertures such as f/1.8. This gives it a shallow depth of field and allows you to capture Bokeh. A Bokeh refers to a beautiful out of focus background effect which is possible with a wide aperture around f/1.4 to f/2.8.

Bokeh effects are great at weddings because the higher the amount of background blur, the more in focus the person is. This is great for capturing individual shots of the groom, the bride, and the other guests attending the wedding.

50mm lenses are also very fast at focusing on subjects closest to the camera, while simultaneously blurring the background. Thus, it makes capturing Bokeh easier and these make for great portraits which are essential for weddings.

Low Light Conditions

There are times when weddings are held in poorly lit churches, outdoors during sunsets, or at nighttime. 50mm lenses are one of the best options when it comes to shooting in low light conditions.

These lenses come paired with wide apertures around f/1.4-f/2.8. These apertures allow more light to enter the camera, allowing you to capture photos at low-lit weddings.

Although wide apertures sometimes lead to blurry images, the 50mm lenses are among the quicker lenses. With faster shutter speeds below 1/200 seconds, the 50mm lenses make sure that pictures in low light conditions are smooth and high quality.

Photographer taking photo of bride and groom

Where the 50mm Lens Falls Short

Although the 50mm lens gives you a lot of flexibility, it cannot cover all aspects of a wedding such as group photos, macro photography, and shooting from afar. Weddings require a plethora of angles and shots. which cannot be fulfilled by a single lens, be it any lens on the market.

Shooting Group Photos

The fixed focal length of 50mm does not allow more than two or three people in a photograph. This makes it difficult to capture group photos, which are an essential part of weddings. Thus, for capturing the bride and groom with other guests, you might have to switch to another lens.

Although this can be avoided by asking the group to arrange themselves in a way to get in on the shot, it becomes very difficult to capture everyone clearly.

Shooting From Afar

At weddings, photographers are expected to capture photos from afar in order to get the best candid photos, when no one is expecting to be shot. However, this is not possible with a 50mm lens.

The 50mm lens captures what a scene looks like to a human eye. Its fixed focal length prevents you from zooming in on scenes from afar.

Hence, if you want to capture a photo from afar, you need to move closer to the said person. This can lead to disruption of ceremonies during the wedding and is not ideal. The only way out is to get another set of lenses.

Capturing Details Accurately

The 50mm lens is a prime lens. While it is great for capturing portraits, it is not ideal for capturing macro shots. Macro photography involves capturing the innate details of the subject. It is essential at weddings because the photographer needs to shoot pictures of the cakes, jewelry, and a lot more.

It is very difficult to capture such shots with a 50mm lens and the photographer has to move a lot closer to the subjects. This is thus not ideal, and you need some other lens for macro photography.

Covering The Venue

The limited field of view in a 50mm lens does not allow the photographer to cover the venue of a wedding. Capturing the decorations, and the ceremony of a wedding is important and thus you need a lens with a wider field of view for this purpose.

Lens Alternatives for Weddings

The limitations of the 50mm lens mean that you need to bring other lenses when you want to shoot a wedding. You need a zoom lens, a macro lens, and a lens with a wider field of view to capture group photos.

An image of a bride holding a camera

70-200mm Lens

The 70-200mm lens is considered one of the best for capturing weddings. These lenses usually come with an aperture of f/2.8. The wide aperture allows you to capture aesthetic Bokeh effects by blurring the background.

Also, the flexible focal length lets you zoom in and out of guests at a wedding. You can thus take pictures without getting close to anyone. Moreover, these lenses are good for capturing photos in low light conditions thanks to the wide aperture which lets in more light.

However, the 70-200mm lens is quite large and thus is very heavy and difficult to carry around. It can be quite tiring to use it throughout the wedding and move around taking pictures. Also, it has a very narrow range and cannot be used to capture group photos.

16-35mm Lens

The 35mm lens is another prime lens that allows you to capture ultra-wide shots of the wedding. With this lens, you can capture group photos, cover the venue, and a lot more thanks to its wide field of view.

Also, the flexible focal length allows you to zoom in and out, thus you do not have to move around too much. You can take full advantage of the scenery, especially if the wedding is held outdoors. These lenses come with a wide aperture and can operate in all light levels.

Moreover, these lenses are great for contextual portraits too. The 35mm focal length is a great compromise over the 50mm focal length and offers a great field of view (not too wide or narrow).

100mm Macro Lens

The 100mm macro lens is a must-have for weddings. With this lens, you can capture intricate details of the wedding. These included the wedding cake, the jewelry, the bride and groom themselves, and their dresses.

These lenses get you high quality detailed images. They can come paired with wide apertures allowing you to capture the perfect Bokeh. Moreover, these lenses are used by photographers to capture portraits at weddings.

The wide aperture allows you to shoot in low light conditions too. However, these lenses are quite large and thus, heavy to carry around. They are also very expensive compared to other lenses and are thus used less frequently.

85mm Lens

The 85mm lens is made for portraits because it does not distort images like other wide angle lenses do. It usually comes with wide apertures of around f/1.2 to f/1.8, allowing you to capture Bokeh while performing well in low light conditions too.

Its fixed focal length means that it is light weight and small, and you can carry it around during the wedding without getting tired. Also, it costs less compared to other lenses on the market.

Best Camera Settings for Wedding Photography

Whatever lenses you are using, you need to keep the following in mind while capturing photos in a wedding:

An image of a couple
  • Shooting at automatic settings is not a good idea, you should instead shoot on manual settings so you have more control.
  • Keeping the camera at shutter priority mode can help adjust the aperture to accommodate the shutter speed. For staged portraits before the wedding, it is a good idea to use slower shutter speeds of 1/60 seconds, while at the reception, faster shutter speeds of around 1/500 seconds should be used.
  • For wedding portrait photos, you need a wide aperture between f/1.4 and f/2.8. This helps capture detailed pictures of the people while blurring the background. for capturing venues, it is a good idea to use a narrower aperture.
  • It is not a good idea to use flash during a wedding because it causes distractions and hurts the eyes. Instead, using other light sources is preferred.
  • At weddings, using ISO levels around 500 is recommended. This makes sure that the pictures you capture do not have a lot of noise. If you are shooting in low-lit weddings, adjust the shutter speed and aperture instead of ISO level.

Related Questions

What Can I Shoot With a 50mm Prime Lens?

A 50mm camera is great for street photography. Its focal lens allows you to get closer to the subject and fill the frame. Also, it allows you to step back and capture more of the environment.

The 50mm is a great option if you plan on traveling. It is compact and light, and you can carry it around easily without getting tired.

Is 50mm or 85mm Better for Portraits?

While using the 50mm lens you have to get closer to the subject while an 85mm allows you to capture the same frame from a distance. This also means that the 85 mm is not good for enclosed spaces.

Both these lenses offer an identical depth of field. Thus, you can capture great Bokeh effects using either lens.

An 85mm lens lets you hide the background, offering a lot more blur and closer shots. On the other hand, a 50mm lens captures more of the background. In this case, the better camera depends on your priorities.


The 50mm lens can be used to cover weddings thanks to its versatility, ability to capture in all kinds of lighting, and the wide aperture that comes with it. Still, photographers must come equipped with other types of lenses to ensure a smooth wedding.