FAQ : Lenses


But…but…I just don’t know how not to respond…

That was my response to my good friend DJ while we were eating sushi a couple weeks ago. I was expressing the hard time I had responding to every inquiry email from fellow photographers. I love helping people, but I’ve discovered that responding to email is a never-ending mountain to climb! 😉

So, while I’ll still try to respond to the best of my ability, I’m going to be answering FAQ’s on my blog. I’m going to try to do this as much as possible because blogs are the best way to transfer information and facilitate open communication within the wedding industry.

The most frequently asked question as of late is: What lenses do you shoot with? Well, I swap lenses ALL the time, so I don’t really think I use one particular lens more than any other. Here’s some of my favorite gear…

*The 70-200IS, 2.8…a ceremony favorite. This lens is buttery and when it locks into its focal point, it’s just awesome!

Here’s my dynamic duo…
*16-35, 2.8…This lens gets super wide angles and is an awesome story-telling lens…by this I mean it can truly capture an entire scene in a single snap.
*24-70, 2.8…This lens is pretty much a solve-all as it can be used pretty much in any capacity. It was my first lens and I truly love it as it’s like an old teddy bear that I can’t get rid of. When I first started, it was all I had and it was SO good to me! 🙂 It’s only downfall is that since it’s so great within its range, I found myself not walking–or getting involved–with what I was shooting. Now that I’m shooting with prime lenses more often, I’m getting a much different feel to my images because I’m physically more involved with the scene…

The Trifecta…these are my homeboys!
*85mm, 1.8…This is the perfect portrait lens. I can’t fully express how much I love this lens…ugh…it produces the creamiest images ever! I often bring this lens out during the ceremony when I want to shoot wide open from a slight distance…I love it!
*50mm, 1.4…This is my rock. I use this lens ALL the time. It just has a way of hammering out consistently sharp images and an awesome background fall-off. However, if I had to choose between the 1.4 and the 1.2, I’d most definitely get the 1.2! I can’t wait to upgrade (**hint: the 1.2 will make a great anniversary, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, birthday, or Groundhog’s Day present!!**). Also, I shoot most my detail shots with this lens, so it’s pretty much a gold mine!
*28mm, 1.8…My newest baby and oh how I love him!! This wide-angle lens is just the funnest and coolest lens ever…it doesn’t have any edge distortion and can be shot with a glorious 1.8 aperture! I LOVE prime lenses!!

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now…I also have a couple other lenses (like the fisheye), but since I hardly ever use them, it’s really pointless to talk about them. I hope this kinda-sorta-helps out a bit…if not, my bad! When I first started, I wished someone wrote about their lenses and why they liked them, so I guess I hope this helps at least one person. If it does, then it was well worth it! 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

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  1. Eric Hegwer

    August 22nd, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    Great post!

    If the house was on fire and I had a wedding to shoot, I’d grab the 50 f1.4!

  2. Karen Doherty

    August 22nd, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Super helpful post Jasmine. Thanks for laying out the what AND the why. Cheers!

  3. Regina

    August 22nd, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    YES! this was very helpful to see them and hear why you like them and what type of photos they produce. Thanks

  4. serena grace

    August 22nd, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    i’m having lens envy. =P but seriously, thanks for sharing! it’s always interesting to hear what lenses photographers like using and why.

  5. Jamie Delaine

    August 22nd, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Jasmine–thanks so MUCH for this post! I’ve been contemplating trading my 28-70L lens in for the 85 1.8, 50 1.4 and the 28–would you recommend this or would you feel lost with JUST primes? I don’t have it in my budget to keep all of them.

    Any way you could comment back and give me a quick answer? thanks a ton Jasmine!

  6. Denette

    August 22nd, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing this with us. As a beginner myself, I am constantly wondering which lens to use during which situation. This is very helpful. I LOVE your blog!!

  7. BPS

    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks for your post, Jasmine! I totally agree with your last statement. Amen!!! BTW, before reading this I’ve been renting lenses left and right for my Canon, and, to my delight, my favorites are pretty much ALL the ones you’ve mentioned. I haven’t tried the 16-35mm nor the 28mm yet, but they’ll be my next shot! Ah, no pun intended. =)

  8. Jasmine*

    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    Woohoo! I just got back from the post-office, and–BAM–I read these comments! I’m glad this helped…even if it’s just a tiny bit! Jamie…my first suggestions before trading anything in would be to rent the lenses first. Try them out and see if they’re a good fit for you. In the past, I’d ask for recommendations, but it wasn’t until I figured things out on my own that I was able to feel better with my choices. That being said, I’d stay with the primes for sure! 🙂

  9. Jamie Delaine

    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Cool: I’ve been trying to set my zoom on the 28, 50, etc to see if I’d like to have a prime at that length and trying to "experiment" like that. I have a Shootsac on the way: so hopefully when I get that, I can be a lens-switching machine. Haha.

  10. Katy Regnier

    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    What a super useful post! I’ve got my eye on a couple of new lenses but I’ve got to earn them first 🙂 What a great collection you’ve got.

  11. Ricki Ford

    August 22nd, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    I love reading what you write. You make it so much fun. Thanks:)

  12. Jenn Regruth

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Thanks for posting about your lenses-I see some of your shots and wonder about which one…what a helpful post! Congratulations on all your successes!

  13. kerri

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    what made you decide to try prime lenses? 🙂

  14. Amy Martin

    August 22nd, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Wow, we have the exact same lens line-up! And I shot my last wedding with the "trifecta" lenses only. They’re my homeboys too 🙂

  15. Gloria Mesa

    August 23rd, 2007 at 12:34 am

    As always you are an ANGEL!!
    Always willing to help all of Us, I wish I can do something for you one day.
    Many hugs.

  16. Beth

    August 23rd, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Fantastic post!!! Thank you sooo much. I just love your work and your wonderful ability to "tell a story".

  17. Morgan

    August 23rd, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Thanks for the tips Jasmine! If you have time, I have a question for you. Right now I shoot with a 30D and use an 85 1.8 🙂 and 50 1.8. I am just getting into the business and launched my webite yesterday! Would you advise investing in a 5D or some nice lenses first? I would love to chat with you some time. Thanks for taking your time to help us, it means so much.

  18. gabriel ryan

    August 23rd, 2007 at 12:58 am

    YES this helps! you rock! thank you so much for sharing this, and for not just putting out a shopping list… but for linking the lens to what it means to the photographer.

  19. Marlene

    August 23rd, 2007 at 1:25 am

    Oh thanks so much for this! I’ve spoken to sooooo many other photographers in regards to what lenses are best, and I usually become overwhelmed by what I call Gadget Gurus–too much tech talk and not enough ‘how it’s useful for me’ talk. 🙂

    That said…I think prime is an excellent way to become more engaged w/your subjects, and I hope to be there soon.


    Was it hard for you to change from zoom to prime?

    Thanks again for explaining why these lenses work for you. 🙂

  20. Jeannie Cochran

    August 23rd, 2007 at 2:11 am

    Hey Jasmine…I just asked you this question myself yesterday…and …..there’s the answer!!! I had already researched just about every lens you mentioned and put them on my "wish/hint" list…but what I had found is while everyone was happy to tell what lenses they shot with…no one really explained …~WHY~…thank you soooooo much for going above and beyond to help us all out! I just received Mike Colon’s 4day workshot DVD today…and YOUR IN IT!!! GROOVY!

  21. Lisa Woods

    August 23rd, 2007 at 2:33 am

    This is why you are loved by so many photographers. Besides your openness about your faith you have a truly unique and gentle spirit. You are richly blessed.

  22. Jasmine*

    August 23rd, 2007 at 3:51 am

    Rock on! I’m super stoked about this feedback and I’m excited to answer soem questions! 🙂 Marlene, it wasn’t hard to switch from zoom to prime because I wanted a change…I knew that prime would help me achieve what I wanted, so it just made sense. Now I know I’ll never look back! Morgan, oooh, that’s a tough question! I started with a 20D, so the move to the 5D was easy…I don’t know what I’d do in your situation, but I do know that the 5D rocks my world…the color, the full-frame sensor…everything about it just is amazing! Kerri, I started using prime lenses after I noticed a lot of the photographers I admired using them. It wasn’t peer pressure per say, but more of a desire to make my pictures look more like theirs. Picasso and Matisse often employed the same thinking patterns…see what the other person was doing, use it, put your own style to it, and you’ll be well on your way to creating something all your own! 🙂 Okay, I think I’m talking too much now, but thanks for asking! 🙂

  23. david baxter

    August 23rd, 2007 at 5:16 am

    lenses, check. now can you sprinkle some of that magic jasmine* dust on me, so i can take some kick butt images like you! thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, it’s very much appreciated. you’re truly blessed with incredible talent. thank you.

  24. Jan Garcia

    August 23rd, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Cool. I have the EXACT same setup as you. I guess I’m on the right track 🙂

  25. nicole green

    August 23rd, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    great info 🙂 you’ll love the 50 1.2 .. i use that almost 90% of my day now. i’m addicted. 🙂

  26. Kathleen Smith

    August 23rd, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to post not only the names of your favorite lenses, but also the who, what, when, where, and why’s? I LOVED IT! You are truly a gifted photographer/writer! THANKS A MILLION!

  27. Tanya Perez

    August 23rd, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  28. Mia

    August 23rd, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    I liked hearing the thought process

  29. rebekah

    August 23rd, 2007 at 6:55 pm

    jasmine this was incredibly helpful. its sometimes hard to find big wig photographers who are willing to be so helpful! between you, becker, and jessica claire, theres hope for all of us who need answers and want so badly to learn! now if only I could AFFORD all of these! thanks

  30. Jasmine*

    August 23rd, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Rebekah…thanks for the feedback. And, also, keep in mind that buying lenses is an investment. And investments pay back. When I first began, everything I earned from a wedding was reinvested in my business by purchasing lenses, investing in slideshow show software ( http://www.showitfast.com ), and upgrading my computers. I most definitely wasn’t ‘profitable’ but I see the fruits of my investments now. Don’t get down, just get ready to constantly reinvest and reinvest! 🙂

  31. Marlene

    August 23rd, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Rebekah, I’m in the same shoes as you with getting the arsenal of lenses.

    What I’d recommend is renting if you can’t afford it, it’s cheaper if you’re just starting out, and it gives you the opportunity to try before you buy! 🙂

  32. Suzie S

    August 23rd, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    THANK YOU, Jas!!! This is exactly what I want to know and hear from the people I admire most!

  33. Abby Smith

    August 23rd, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time and sharing a wealth of infomation with us. I now see that I’ve got some investments to make!

  34. Misty

    August 24th, 2007 at 12:52 am

    thanks soo much for posting this. I’ve been trying to figure out what lense I want to invest in and this helps out sooo much!

  35. jenniferL

    August 24th, 2007 at 1:10 am

    thanks for sharing about your lenses! 🙂

  36. brooke

    August 24th, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    hey look at that…thanks for sharing this. i am sure that loads of people wonder what you shoot with and when! i always love hearing what lenses people are using. another fun one is seeing photos of the photographer in action!

  37. Christy

    August 24th, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Hey girl,
    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your honesty! You rock!

  38. Jasmine C.

    August 25th, 2007 at 3:33 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us! 🙂

  39. Mark Brooke

    August 25th, 2007 at 5:18 am

    Jasmine Thank you SO SO much! I literally bought the 50mm 1.4 because of your recommendation at Gabe and Carlie’s wedding!

  40. jeanette sanchez

    August 25th, 2007 at 7:24 am

    Great post! I have been wondering about prime lenses recently and you explained it all so easy…thanks.

  41. Stacy Cross

    August 25th, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    We’re lens twins! 🙂 The only one I don’t have is the 16-35, but I have another wide in it’s place. How cool! PS – LOVIN’ the 28 – thanks for the recommendation!!

  42. Dennis

    August 26th, 2007 at 1:19 am

    Great info Jasmine. It is so great to hear about other photographers tools.

  43. Christie

    September 2nd, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    WOW! Jasmine you are AMAZING for sharing all this info! I just emailed you last week and was sooo grateful that you took the time to write me back and then was super excited to see this on your blog. Thank you!!!!!

  44. MsB

    September 9th, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Thanks, Jasmine!!! I got a question: I just got my Shootsac and tried it out on a few sessions; however, I might be doing something wrong because I can barely fit all my lenses in there, especially with the hoodies. I love, love my 24-70, which I use often, but when I need to switch to a smaller lens like the 50mm then what do I do with the hoodie??? It won’t fit in the Shootsac. I don’t have an assistant to aid me with this one; I have to have a hoodie. Also, how do you put away your 70-200 in the Shootsac? That thing is ginormous! Eeks! I’ve asked my share of 21 questions. Sorry! =/

  45. Jasmine*

    September 10th, 2007 at 3:37 am

    Hi MsB! I usually never carry more than three lenses in my Shootsac at one time. If my lenses have hoodies on, I place the lens in upwards (so that the hoodie is protruding from the top), so I don’t have issue in this respect. I don’t have an assistant who helps me swap lenses, but I think with time you should get more used to it! 🙂

  46. MsB

    September 14th, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    YOU ROCK!!! Thanks for the quick response!

  47. Chris

    January 9th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    What filters do you have on these lenses? I see a Hoya something…
    Can you provide more insight?


    January 14th, 2008 at 2:33 am


  49. CynthiaQ

    February 20th, 2008 at 1:50 am

    You’re Awesome! Thanks for sharing! This is really helpful information!

  50. Natarsha N. Wright

    April 1st, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks again for sharing this wonderful information. I am just starting out and upgrading my equipment and it is such a blessing I found your site!

  51. heather morrow

    June 23rd, 2008 at 2:42 am

    your FAQ is a tremendous resource for other photographers. i cannot thank you enough for your willingness to share. blessings!

  52. Hedy Berg

    July 2nd, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    hi jasmine! just wanted to send you a quick message to tell you how much you and your work inspire me. i came across your website a couple of weeks ago, and two hours later, i logged off feeling so inspired and so excited about my future as a wedding photographer. i just started my own business in january and, as you know, it’s a lot of work and can be so scary at times. you gave me hope, motivation, and the courage to make my business the best it can be. thank you.

  53. Lindsay

    January 9th, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Would it really be worth spending the extra $1000 for the 1.2 over the 1.4?? Just wondering your opinion because i want to buy a 50 mm

  54. Kay English

    July 29th, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Nice!! thanks for posting this! I have the 50 1.4 but feel as though it focuses too slow. Do you think the 1.2 focuses faster? I love my 50mm though 🙂

  55. AKWOO

    July 29th, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Any updates on this list, pretty sure things have changed since back in those days.

  56. Columbus GA Photographer

    February 20th, 2011 at 5:21 am

    I’m really wanting to get my hands on the 24-70 and 50 1.2. Let’s hope they come my way this year!!!