Lukas & Suzy International Wedding Photographers » Blog

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  • WELCOME!

    Welcome to the blog! If the banner doesn't make it obvious enough I'll just spill the beans and let you know that we are a full time husband and wife wedding photography team. We love life, God, weddings, and if you slide over our names to the left you'll note a few other things we love.

    We are based out of Los Angeles, and when I say that, I mean our studio is right in the smack dab center of downtown. However, if you start browsing through the blog history you will soon note that we shoot weddings all over the country and world. We put a lot into making our images so I hope you enjoy checking some of them out!

    If you're up for having a great time at your wedding, and our photos have the look you are going for, then feel free to shoot us a note and we would love to chat some more!

    - Lukas and Suzy VanDyke

Learn: What Lens Should I Buy? -Explained

I often get asked by people “If I can only get one lens, which one should I buy?”. There are a huge amount of factors which could go into a question like that. The answer is different for everyone and really comes down to what you need the lens for. But I thought I would spend a few minutes and give an overview of focal lengths and how they affect your photos. There are a lot of other features and differences in lenses, but we’ll save those for another time.

Lenses come in many different shapes and sizes. But if you’ve ever seen one, you probably noticed that they are referred to by using a number followed by “mm”. The “mm” refers to the focal length of the lens. Lenses with a single number such as “50mm” are prime lenses and you can’t change their focal length. Lenses with a range such as 24-70 or 70-200 are zoom lenses and their focal length can be adjusted to the range between the two numbers.

A standard 50mm lens on a full frame camera has about the same focal length as the human eye. In other words, if you look through a camera with a 50mm prime lens on it you will have about the same range of vision as you would if you closed one eye and looked at the same thing. Lenses that are referred to as “wide angle”  give you a wider perspective than your eye, and ones referred to as “telephoto” bring things closer than your eye.

But how does this all affect your photo? In simple terms you can just remember this. Wide angle lenses push things apart and give you a broader perspective. Telephoto lenses pull things together and give you a tighter perspective. Below are a few examples.


The below image on the left was taken with a 15mm lens. You can see it’s a very broad perspective and pushes all the trees apart. The one on the right was taken with a 200mm lens and you can see it pulls the trees in close to the subject and gives you a very tight perspective. As you create images you need to decide which view of the subject you want to show.

Just to give some perspective, in the diagram below you can see where I was standing for each image.


In this example, the left photo was also taken with a 15mm lens and the right photo with a 24mm lens. You can see how when the frame is filled with the people in the first image the building is much smaller than in the second image. The wider lens pushes the building away, where the 24mm one pulls it in. Had I shot this same image with a 200mm lens the building would be huge in the background.

In the below diagram you can see I moved a few feet back for the 24mm lens, but it actually pulled the building closer to my subjects. The interesting thing to note is that neither the people nor the building moved. It looks like they are closer to the building in the second photo just because of the perspective of the lens.


In this example, I stood in one place with a 70-200 lens. The first one was taken at 70mm and you can see the buildings are way off in the background. The second was taken at 140mm and you can see it pulled the subjects closer to the camera as well as the buildings closer to the subject. The third was taken at 200mm and the subjects are even closer to the camera and buildings even closer to the subject.

So in the end as you choose which lenses to buy, it’s a good idea to decide the maximum range you will need and for what purpose you will be using the lens. In other words a 400mm lens would be ideal for bird watching, but a very bad choice if you like to do lots of group photos in a small spaces. A good choice for a basic work horse lens would be anything that has a range wide angle to telephoto (e.g. 24-70, or 28-80 etc.)

Be sure to post a link to your Twitter, or Facebook, or email this to any photographer friends you know who might benefit.

January 10, 2010 - 11:45 pm

Caroline - Thanks for the info :) was helpful..

January 10, 2010 - 11:54 pm

Lukas VanDyke Fine Art Photography» Blog Archive » What Lens … | Prime Lenses - […] here: Lukas VanDyke Fine Art Photography» Blog Archive » What Lens … Tags: change-their, focal, focal-length, lens, Prime Lenses, single-number, the-focal, […]

January 11, 2010 - 8:58 am

Laura Leon - I loved the visual examples and the diagrams! It really helped me understand the differences and what they do. BTW, I am LOVING the educational posts you are doing. Thanks for taking the time to do them. :)

Ryan & Lori: Wedding Preview – Santa Clarita

Earlier today Suzy and I had the privilege of attending and photographing Ryan and Lori’s wedding. I know I should probably be in bed instead of looking through the photos and posting a blog right now. But I loved them all so much, and we had such a good time, I just couldn’t wait too look at them on my screen! Anyway, here’s a quick preview of a few photos I found before half of them even finished uploading to my computer. =) . I should have the whole wedding up sometime this week!

Date Night

Every Thursday Suzy and I have our date night. Sometimes our dates can be more interesting than others. Tonight was one of those perfect spur of the moment romantic evenings. Suzy had joined me shooting an engagement session all afternoon in Malibu. We finished the session just around sunset and decided that instead of heading home, since we were so close, to head back the beach.

It was an exceptionally warm evening, and short sleeves were great. Dume Cove is always nice, and tonight was no exception.  The stars were bright, the tide was low, and we walked for over an hour just enjoying the sounds and the smells and each other. God knew what he was doing when he created this world. Sometimes it’s really good to turn your computer off and enjoy it!

Thank you Suzal for being my amazing wife! I love you!

And just so this post doesn’t go without a photo, below is one Suzy took of me during the shoot earlier today. =).

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