Monday, August 10, 2009

Maggie and Austin tie the knot: The Photography Lesson!

Hey everybody!

Tonight I came up with a super duper fabulously awesome idea! For every wedding I shoot, I'm going to choose an image and give a camera/photography lesson based on it! I have tons of photographers who subscribe to the blog, or check it regularly, mostly for inspiration. However, now they can also check it to learn. Woohoo!

This lesson comes from a photographer in New Hampshire who actually asked how I got THIS SHOT - and here is ANOTHER EXAMPLE from a different wedding. I happen to LOVE my reception shots, and have come up with a very good formula for getting consistent, remarkable results (well, now... that sounded like an informercial - only, I'm not selling anything). And now, the info is all yours! Use it wisely. :)

1. Put on a wide angle lens (so auto-focusing is efficient)

2. You can use the flash on camera or off. I do both all the time.

3. Your camera has to been in Manual mode for this - no easy way around it... I set my f-stop at f2.8 (not too shallow of depth of field) even if my lowest aperture is 1.2

4. Mess with shutter speed to get the perfect amount of ambient/available light from band lighting or bg lighting - I usually end up at around 1/20 or 1/30 of a sec. This will depend on the reception, as each one is different.

5. If that shutter speed is not getting there, change your ISO to make it get there. - That's key. Please note: there are a couple cameras (like mine) that allow low noise at high ISOs - if you don't have one of these cameras, you'll not be able to get ideal results because the shadows and low light areas will be noisy in their underexposure.

6. Hold the camera over your head and shoot down at around a 45 degree angle. I haven't shot with the camera up to my face in years - It takes a little practice to see without having the camera up to your eye, but it's worth it in the end.

In short, your f-stop is going to control how bright your flash is, and your shutter speed will dictate how much "background" available light you let in. Have fun with it, practice, and start rockin' your reception shots!

Here's a shot from Maggie and Austin's wedding demonstrating this technique. See how the red paints the ceiling? I love it! I even panned with the bouquet to get a little motion. Cool huh!

Talk to you soon,


  1. Great stuff man...looking forward to more from you!

  2. awesome - thanks for the lesson. Ditto @brandon... looking forward to more :)

  3. @Cindy - yes, that's the easier way. However, you can set your flash on manual too - but you might have to manipulate the distance

  4. Awesome tips - thanks Dale!

  5. I said it on the [b] school and I will say it again here: you rock! Thank you so much for sharing your tips and tricks -- what a difference it makes to those of us who are still working out the (limited lighting) kinks!


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