10/23/2009

Trick for Low-Light Shooting



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 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.


If you're shooting in very high ISOs, you'll want to know about a popular Photoshop plug-in for wedding photographers called Noise Ninja (from PictureCode.com). Besides reducing noise, a happy side effect is that it also smoothes skin.


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