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Shoot Weddings Like a Pro: There Is No Retaking Wedding Photos. It’s Got to Be Right the First Time!

A wedding ceremony happens once in real time. There are no second takes, no room for mess-ups, no excuses. Best-selling author Scott Kelby shares his best tips and tricks for getting every wedding shot right the first time.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

digitalcameraicons_05.jpg If you’re living your life and you think to yourself, “Ya know, I’ve got it pretty easy,” then it’s time to shoot a wedding. Don’t worry—this isn’t something you’re going to have to go looking for—if you’ve got even one long lens (200mm or longer), it will find you. That’s because in a lot of people’s minds, if you have a long lens, you’re a serious photographer. It’s true. Seriously, try this: show up at an event with a 200mm to 400mm lens on your camera and people will literally get out of your way. They assume you’ve been hired by the event and that you’re on official photography business, and they will stand aside to let you shoot. It’s the equivalent of walking into a factory with a clipboard—people assume you’re legit and they let you go about your business. Add a photographer’s vest and it’s like having an official press pass to anything (try this one—you’ll be amazed). Anyway, if you have a long lens, before long someone you know will get married but they won’t have a budget for a professional photographer (like your cousin Earl). He’ll ask, “Can you shoot our wedding photos?” Of course, you’re a nice person and you say, “Why sure.” Big mistake. You’re going to work your butt off, miss all the food, drinks, and fun, and you’ll experience stress at a level only NORAD radar operators monitoring North Korea ever achieve. A wedding ceremony happens once in real time. There are no second takes, no room for mess-ups, no excuses. Don’t make Earl’s bride really mad—read this chapter first.

The Trick for Low-Light Shooting in a Church

Although you usually should use a tripod when shooting the formals (the group shots after the ceremony with the bride, groom, family members, etc.), when shooting the wedding ceremony in a low-light situation like a church, you’ll often need to hand-hold your shots. This is a problem because hand-holding in low-light situations is almost a guarantee of having blurry photos (because of the slow shutter speeds of low-light situations). So, how do the pros get those crisp low-light shots in a setting like a church? Two things: (1) they increase their digital camera’s ISO (the digital film speed). Today’s digital SLR cameras (in particular, the Nikons and Canons) let you shoot at very high ISOs with little visible noise. So how high can you go? At least ISO 800 (see Canon LCD panel above), but you can usually get away with as high as ISO 1600 in most situations. This lets you get away with hand-holding in the low light of a church, while avoiding the camera shake you’d get at ISO 100 or 200. (2) They shoot with their fastest lens (your lens with the largest available f-stop, like f/1.4, f/2.8, or f/3.5), which lets in more available light, allowing you to shoot in lower light without blurring your images.

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