Help! Choosing lenses for photographing a wedding for a friend.

Discussion in 'Canon Lenses' started by STLgirl, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Dearborn, MI
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    For most of these shots, you'll use the 18-55. It's the versatile lens.

    You might want to use the 85 or 50mm for portraits but AVOID shooting "multiple subjects" at lowest possible focal ratio (because it'll be hard to get multiple people in focus unless they are all at precisely the same distance from the camera.)

    When shooting outside, use your shoe-mounted flash (e.g. your Canon 430EX II) but dial the "Flash Exposure Compensation" (FEC) down just slightly... maybe to -2/3rds or even -1.

    Here's an example:



    It's actually a very bright sunny day. My subject (an actor) is in the shade of a tree. I'm using a flash, but I've configured the flash to use an FEC of -1 (FEC is "Flash Exposure Compensation" -- more on that in a moment).

    If I did not use a flash at all, the difference in light from the foreground (shadow) to the background (full sun) would have been huge. The background would have been distractingly bright ... and if I bring the exposure down to avoid a bright background then my subject would have been much too dark.

    But by using the flash, I bring up the light levels of the area in the shade. Had I let the flash fire at whatever the exposure needed then my subject would have been as bright as the background (also not a good look). Dialing in the flash exposure compensation, I'm making the flash a little less intense so the shadows still actually LOOK like shadows (they look natural) ... they're just not nearly as intense as they would have been with no flash at all.

    Even if my subject would have been in full sun (typically something you should avoid for a lot of reasons -- people squint, shadows are harsh, etc.) you would still use a flash. Anytime you have "light" you also have "shadow". The trick in good lighting is to pay attention to the shadows. A flash in full-sun acts as a "fill" light so that the shadows aren't so intense (and usually you can dial the FEC back to about -1... or maybe -2/3rds). Your taste may vary but I tend to like that look.

    Flash inside is very different... on your camera there's a menu option for flash control. One of the options is "Flash sync-speed in Av mode". That menu will have three choices... the default is "auto" (a bad choice), then there's one listed as a range. It'll say "1/60 - 1/200" (the 1/200 may read 1/250 on your camera). The final choice is just "1/200" (or 1/250) -- it'll be whatever the max shutter sync speed is for your camera model.

    You want to use "1/60 - 1/200" (or "1/60 - 1/250" if that's what your camera offers).


    When shooting indoors, the flash can be used as the sole light source... or it can be treated sort of like a "fill" light. If you were in full auto mode, the camera would treat the flash as the key light and not as a "fill" light. This results in well-lit subjects... but the background is usually VERY dark (because the camera doesn't care to expose anything but the subject.)

    When you select Av mode, the camera will actually "meter" the shot as if there is no flash and determine what exposure to use... but will ADD the flash to make sure the subject has adequate light. But what if the metering with no flash means the camera should shoot with a very slow shutter speed? Now you get a proper exposure... but the shot is blurry because the shutter speed is too slow.

    Using the "1/60 - 1/200" mode says the camera is not allowed to use a shutter speed slower than 1/60. That avoids the blur from camera motion. But it also allows the camera to collect as much light as possible in the background. That typically results in a nice ambient background light (often not as bright as the light on the subject) -- and it gets rid of that issue commonly seen in flash photography where the background is much too dark (or black).

    If you use "auto" it may set a shutter speed much slower than you want.
    If you use "1/200" then the shutter will be too fast to capture much ambient light when shooting indoors and you'll have the black backgrounds (usually not a good look.)

    Good luck!


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