(1) For ring shots I always use a point-n-shoot, my Canon G11. As I wrote in this post, point-n-shoots are far superior to using macro lenses on your dslr, and will result in a much higher hit rate with greater depth of field, which is a big plus when shooting macros. G11, ISO 400, f2.8, 1/40 sec.
(2) Embrace the smile! I like to take more contemplative portraits of my brides, often without having them smile. However, this would have been problematic for Sandy, as she is a chronic smiler. Rather than trying to force it, just let your subjects be who they really are. I didn’t tell her to smile – I didn’t tell her not to smile, I just let her be her natural, beautiful and happy self. 5DmkIII, 70-200mm f2.8, ISO 400, f3.2, 1/1250 sec.
(3) The 5DmkIII was a revelation – I shot at ISO 6400 all night long. The images, like the one above, were crystal clear. This shot was at ISO 6400, f2.8, 1/50 sec at 200mm. There is simply no way I could have gotten this shot with the 5D Classic. 99% of the time it is the Indian, not the arrow – but there are exceptions…… 5DmkIII, 70-200mm f2.8, ISO 6400, f2.8, 1/50 sec.
(4) Get down low to add drama. This shot, taken by my 2nd shooter Johnny Arguedas, is a good example. Imagine this shot taken at eye level, it would not have had nearly the same impact. Nikon D700, Nikon 70-200mm f2.8, ISO 200, f2.8, 1/500 sec.
(5) Think like a movie director. Don’t just grab a shot and move on. Take a series of shots that tell a story. Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 70-200mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.0, 1/200 sec.
(6) Pull back. Not all your shots need to be up close. Its okay to sometimes stand back – way back – and make your subjects small amidst a large, dramatic backdrop. In this case, Grand Central Station. Canon 5DmkIII, Canon 70-200 f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5, 1/250 sec.
(7) A 35mm lens is your best friend. Not too much distortion, yet wide enough to get shots like this when you don’t have room to back up. One more step back and I would have been run over by traffic. F6.3 is all you need to ensure enough depth of field to get 4-5 rows tack sharp. Canon 5D Classic, Canon 35mm f1.4L, ISO 400, f6.3, 1/60 sec.
(8) Set up your “action” shots. This shot took a bit of work, but I knew it would look great. First, I had to sprint ahead as fast as I could to get in place (wedding photography is physical work – stay in shape!). Next, I picked a spot where I knew the background would have been most dramatic. Then I squat down – remember to stay low for drama. Finally I set the camera on a slow-ish shutter speed of 1/40 sec. Fast enough so I could get my subject sharp but slow enough that there would be a slight movement-effect. 5D Classic, 24mm f1.4L lens, ISO 1600, f2.0, 1/40 sec.
(9) Embrace the videographer! Many of you probably get annoyed with the videographer when you’re trying to shoot a wedding. But think about all the advantages! In particular, having a videographer is like having a separate off-camera light source. In this case I made sure to position myself with my couple between me and the videographer, whose light provided perfect rim lighting. Even better than bringing my own off-camera flashes! Canon 5D Classic, Canon 50mm f1.4, ISO 1600, f1.6, 1/200 sec.
(10) This image is blurry, far from tack-sharp. Yet it’s one of my favorite from the day. I don’t go out of my way to create blurry images, but don’t be so quick to toss them out, they might turn out to be hidden gems. Canon 5D Classic, Canon 50mm f1.4, ISO 1600, f1.6, 1/320 sec.
(11) EZ black and white. All of my b&w conversions were done with pretty much one click just by clicking the “Black & White” button just above the white balance sliders in Lightroom’s Develop module. Not only is this the quickest method of converting to b&w, in my opinion it’s also one of the best. I wrote about it in this post. Canon 5D Classic, Canon 24mm f1.4L, ISO 1600, f2.2, 1/125 sec.
(12) Direct flash does NOT suck! I use direct flash all the time. I point that sucker right at my subject. I rarely bounce as I prefer direct flash. Now this shot is obviously is taken outdoors so direct flash is the only option, but I used direct flash the entire wedding even indoors. People think direct flash sucks only when they don’t know how to set their camera. They shoot in the dark at ISO 200, f4.5. That will definitely suck. To make direct flash look great, it’s important to gather plenty of ambient light. Don’t be afraid to shoot at high ISOs. When you blend the direct flash with the ambient background, it looks great. Canon 5D Classic, Canon 24mm f1.4L, ISO 1600, f2.0, 1/40 sec.
(13) Funky color is okay! When you’re at a dark reception that has high-end lighting, quite often the colors will be funky – red, blue, green, etc. Don’t try to color-correct – just go with it. That’s what the light looked like – and I think it looks great. 5DmkIII, Canon 35mm f1.4L, ISO 3200, f2.5, 1/50 sec.
(14) I can’t emphasize enough how great the “silent shutter” is on the 5DmkIII. I didn’t have to cringe hearing the shutter sound like a cannon in a quiet church. 5DmkIII, 70-200mm f2.8L IS, ISO 6400, f2.8, 1/200 sec.
(15) The Canon 5DmkIII worked like a champ. Jaw-dropping image quality at ultra-high ISOs, fast, accurate auto focus with an incredibly high hit rate. Backup card for peace of mind. It’s just an awesome wedding camera. I’m not sure what I would change about it if anything.
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