Virginia Wedding Photographer | Bethanne Arthur Photography » Bethanne Arthur is a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer serving VA, WV, MD, DC and beyond for the romantic, natural, and authentic couples who believe that life and love are beautiful and worth documenting!

My 3 Favorite Lenses to Shoot With | For Photographers

My 3 Favorite Lenses to Shoot With | Education for Photographers | VA + Destination Wedding Photographer

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Can anyone guess which lens I used for this shot?!

Today, on the blog, I am so excited to be sharing some information for photographers about my three favorite lenses to photograph my clients (and other subjects) with!

When  I first began photography, I had a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR with a 17-55mm kit zoom lens. Y’all….this was not the greatest combination. But, of course….I thought I was pretty cool when I was first starting out! 🙂

I have since upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III, with a Mark II as my back-up camera! I also have four trusty lenses that I shoot everything with, and I always bring these babies with me on the wedding day and to engagement sessions!

Canon 50mm 1.2L USM lens
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Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens
education for photographers favorite canon lenses to photograph with bethanne arthur photography va wedding photographer

Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro IS USM lens
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I love each of these lenses for different reasons, but if you notice, I don’t have zooms on my list of favorites! I am a prime lens girl, all the way! Don’t get me wrong, the 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM lens is a DREEEEAM, and I do have plans to one day add that to my camera bag! But, I love my primes because of the bokeh they produce; I can shoot super wide open, and they just are not as heavy!

The 50mm is super versatile, and I can shoot couples, bridal parties, details, ceremonies, receptions, dancing shots, families, and more with this lens! I can do nearly every single thing that I would need to do with it!

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The 85mm is probably at the top of my list, and I also have plans to upgrade this one to 85mm 1.2L USM, but for now my 1.8 treats me just fine! I love this lens because of the bokeh and compression that comes along with the lens. I can photograph my clients closely…without being really close to them! Does that make sense?! I love to use this lens for engagement sessions as well because I can step back and just let my couple love on each other, flirt, and have fun without being in their face. Who loves to have a big hunk of camera in their face while kissing and whispering sweet nothin’s in each other’s ears? I’ll answer that for you…not a lot! Hahaha!


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The 100mm is a great lens and versatile as well because not only can I use it to photograph gorgeous details, but I’ve also used it for portraits! Like the 85mm, this lens offers amazing bokeh and compression, and I can be super far away from my subject but still photograph them closely and fill up the frame! My favorite detail to photograph with the 100mm is always the ring! During engagement and anniversary sessions, as well as on the wedding day, I always make sure to have this lens with me so that I can capture that gorgeous bling!

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I see a lot of posts online or in workshop settings where people are wondering what type of lens to get next, and the answer completely depends on what you’re shooting, your personal style, your budget, if you have a crop or full-frame body, and your needs! Some lenses are best for families, some lenses are a must for weddings…but at the end of the day, the only way to truly know is to try them out (you can rent from places like and for yourself and just see what feels right! I hated that very first zoom lens I had! I added the 50mm 1.8 lens to my kit almost immediately after that and from that point on, I knew I was a prime girl! I knew I would always be a Nifty Fifty girl, and I can’t tell you how in love I am with the 50mm now! I pretty much consider that thing my third child! HAHA!

Stay tuned for more educational posts for photographers! I hope y’all have an amazing day!


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  • Nicole Lewis

    I always love reading about what certain gear other photographer’s use. I am a prime girl too but my favorite is my 85mm 1.4. Beautiful images!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah

    Great post Bethanne! totally agree and love all the lenses (in Nikon of course!) I’d add the 35 1.4 from Sigma too! great little guy to have around 😉ReplyCancel

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