Book an experienced wedding photographer to take your wedding photos, not Uncle Bob.
Picture Uncle Bob with his camera, taking wedding photos. No tripod, hopping from foot to foot, “Click”, not even using fill-in flash. He has the ISO up so high so he can use a fast shutter speed and he doesn’t have to worry about blur, or so he read somewhere. “Click”, merrily snapping away with his budget end Digital SLR and lens pack. This is the basic lens that came with his camera, set to “wide” so he can get in close like a pro…
How many things wrong with this setup?
Nine! Did you spot them all?
1. Uncle Bob
No matter how much money you saved for your dress or Honeymoon, Uncle Bob should not be shooting the wedding at all, no matter how good or cheap he says he is. If Uncle Bob does not work as a full time, professional wedding photographer, with a great portfolio and years of experience, he should not be taking wedding photos for you. If he is a part-time accountant, bricklayer or gamekeeper he is not a professional wedding photographer!
2. No Tripod.
This means he will have set the ISO high to get some fast shutter speeds. High ISO means lots of noise or grain in your photos. See number 4. Or he will have set a wide aperture, limiting his focus zone. For uncle Bob, this will be a problem as he will need to concentrate on his focusing.
Without a tripod, the camera changes position constantly. Why is this a problem? It is only a problem when I come to help you fix the terrible shots Uncle Bob has taken. The tripod keeps the camera at a constant height, and angle. In any key location, if a group shot is missed (I’m sure many would with Uncle Bob in charge), the background can be used from one shot to another. Other people can be inserted into the shot and the two backgrounds will match exactly. If the angles vary from shot to shot, the background will be difficult to match in retouching. You’d better hope he doesn’t miss any important shots.
3. Hopping from foot to foot.
This has exactly the same effect as number 2 with changing height, angles, direction and level!
4. Not using fill-in-flash
Using fill-in-flash is great for lifting the shadows out of faces under fringes or when wearing hats. It can fill the shadows under eyes (eye-bags) and add life to hair and sparkle to eyes. Most weddings are in the summer when the sun is high in the sky and shadows appear under everything.
5. High ISO
Using a high ISO means grain. If that is the look you are going for then fine but I’m sure you’ll want soft skin and not sandpaper skin. Using fill-in-flash can lift the shutter speed and a Tripod will allow a lower shutter speed or slower ISO, meaningless grain.
6. High Shutter Speed
No need for unnecessarily high shutter speeds if a tripod or fill in flash is in use.
7. Budget SLR
Ok maybe this isn’t all that bad but they do tend to come with smaller CCD’s and smaller pixels, which means less quality colour capture and more noise. Bigger pixels on the CCD means the ability to capture more light is better, therefore better pictures and less noise!
8. Package lens
This is nearly always a wide zoom lens. Something compact and great for landscapes and snapping art galleries. A wedding is made up of a series of portraits. A portrait lens is around 90 to 110mm. You’ll need to stand further away and steady the lens with a tripod or have an expensive and fast portrait lens, specific to the job. This will allow some faster shutter speeds to avoid camera blur caused by the long lens and without needing a high ISO. A portrait lens takes flattering pictures of the face, compressing features and giving us the “model” look. We want that!
9. Wide Angle
Wide angle does the opposite to a portrait lens, it accentuates features and gives us big noses and pop out eyes and in general not a great look for weddings. Great for landscapes and art galleries, remember?
Given Uncle Bob will be doing all of this, your photos aren’t going to look that great. Hire a pro.
Even I cannot fix terrible wedding photos. The saying goes “you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”
It is better you read it here first but I guess if you are reading this, it may already be too late?