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10 Gear Tips For Wedding Photographers

There are a lot of aspiring photographers starting out in the industry these days with some incredible gear that photographers wouldn’t have dreamed of years ago. I’m often on the lookout for second shooters in Bristol and need to be sure that they know how to handle their gear. Photography is an art for many of us and whilst there are no ‘rules’ in photography here are a few tips you might want to browse through.

  1. ISO performance. Depending on your camera try to stick to the lowest ISO setting. Whilst I wouldn’t shoot above ISO800 on my Canon 30D I would have no problem shooting at ISO3200 with my Canon 5DMKII. In fact I would shoot at ISO6400 with the knowledge that I could use noise reduction software in post production if I really needed to. Get closely acquainted with your gear so you know it’s limits.
  2. When to use your flash. Try not to use your flash during the ceremony. It will be distracting for everyone and you won’t be thanked by the couple for ruining their special moment. If you HAVE to use it then make sure you get permission to cover yourself.
  3. “Chimping.” By all means take test shots to ensure your lighting is okay and the camera is exposing properly but you really shouldn’t need to keep checking the screen on the back of the camera. Zooming in to check sharpness or check for sensor dust is a BAD idea. You should know your gear well enough to trust your skills and equipment. Chimping is likely to mean you will miss the moment.
  4. Wide apertures. I love the effect of a wide apertures but make sure you know how it effects the image. Using f/1.2 for group shots is a BIG no no. One person out of five will be in focus and you simply can’t use the shot.
  5. P is for professional. This mode can be great at times but be aware of the amount of control you are using. With the advent of AUTO-ISO there is less need to ‘P’ as you can control your aperture and/or shutter speed without having to worry too much about exposure. You can still retain some creativity with this setting but the P mode is not reliable for professional portraits or creative slow shutter speed images.
  6. On camera flash. If you’re using professional gear you probably won’t even have a built in flash. If you do don’t use it. Either buy/rent a flash, be prepared to crank up the ISO or use a tripod.
  7. Tripods. Okay – so the amount of time you actually use one of these at a wedding is fairly limited – but they can be great for creative shots. Long exposures or low light situations tripods are your friend.
  8. Shoot now worry later. This isn’t an option – you need to know that you are getting the images in camera. Cropping, adjusting exposure, white balance shouldn’t be left to post processing. If it can’t be avoided then do what you need to do but post processing is a huge time drainer.
  9. Your memory card. Turn ‘shoot with memory card’ off on your camera settings. It’s never happened to me but trying to get an image when your memory card is out of space must be a nightmare situation. Memory card reliability is good these days so don’t worry too much about buying cheap, large capacity cards. You can always swap them over and do a quick backup even if they aren’t full.
  10. Know your equipment. When you move from indoors to outdoors you need to adjust your settings to stop your images coming out over exposed. There is nothing wrong with using AUTO ISO if it means you get the shot. This feature allows you to ensure you contain some control over aperture whilst maintaining a decent shutter speed.

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