Is the Canon 35mm f/2.8 Macro the New Must-Have Lens for Wedding Photographers?

Every wedding photographer has a preference for a specific set of lenses to effectively capture all of the critical elements of a wedding. These images include views of the ceremony location, close-up portraits of the couple, and detail photos of jewelry and fine décor. In this brief video, wedding photographer Gemma Peanut shows why having a built-in ring light on the new Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens makes a substantial improvement in a photo of her engagement ring.

There are many ways to get creative in lighting wedding rings, some of which were discussed in this recent article. In this video, Peanut performs a quick before-and-after comparison of a macro photo of her engagement ring, with the built-in ring light kept off or turned on. It is clear from her photos that the having the macro light activated produces a far superior image of her engagement ring, creating specular highlights in the diamonds and bringing the ring to life.

While it is relatively simple to achieve this sparkly look using small LED lights, it’s hard to contest the convenience of having a ring light built directly into the lens. Many wedding photographers carry a macro lens in their bag specifically for shooting the wedding rings, and those who are looking to invest in such a lens may see this built-in light as a big selling point.

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10 Comments

Alex Cooke's picture

I don't see this being a must-have lens for Canon wedding photographers simply because it's an EF-S lens and the vast majority of Canon wedding photogs are shooting on 5Ds, 6Ds, and occasionally 1Ds. If they want that look, the Yongnuo clone of the Canon macro ring lite is only $99: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1125848-REG/yongnuo_yn_14ex_c_ttl...

Liam O'Brien's picture

Professional wedding photographers using crop sensor cameras and F2.8 lenses. Hmm, I'd say the vast majority are full frame and fast glass

A couple of years after getting into wedding photography I thought that I was smart and I went out and spent a ton of money on a macro lighting kit that attached to the front of my lens just to use for rings shots at weddings. I quickly learned that lighting the ring from the lens produced horrible results and that's one of the main reasons I created the Flash Disc.

Here's how we do it now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmQ0hZsnQxw&t=413s

It's certainly not the only way or even the "best" way but I can't imagine that lens is going to produce flattering results simply because it's lit from the direction of the lens.

Jon Wolding's picture

To build on this... I've done a fair amount of macro shots of rings/pendants for catalog purposes. I've found that a positionable, single-point light source (obviously off-axis) is needed to really make a diamond/stone sparkle. I use diffuse lighting (in a light tent) to get the metalwork to look nice and a secondary, dedicated light for the gems.

Pichan Cruz's picture

Had to learn the hard way too. I thought that I need to throw 3 lights to get a sparkle when I was starting. Tried shooting using a light tent for a year and I realized that the lighting looks flat on the jewelry. Now I try to use 1 to 2 lights for catalog shoots. Here's one of my jewelry shoot campaigns I did.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4buWUUgOrw

Usman Dawood's picture

Why aren't you making more of those videos, that was awesome.

Pichan Cruz's picture

Thank you Usman. I'll try to do another behind the scene video on my next campaign shoot. Cheers! :)

Jon Wolding's picture

The best thing about learning the hard way is that you never forget. ;)

An EF-S, probably not for wedding photographers, but it could be very useful for ebay and etsy sellers.

David Hynes's picture

Or just use your own lighting kit which as more options for modifying light. Look...I just saved you money.