15 Camera Features to Make You a Speedy Wedding Shooter


Weddings are full of chaos and drama that is always unfolding, all around. There are absolutely no retakes and you have to encounter a variety of technical and non-technical challenges. Raj Lalwani tells you 15 simple, but important things about your equipment that will go a long way in ensuring that you, and your camera, are always ready.

Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Photograph/Raj Lalwani

1. Auto ISO is Your Best Friend
You can have complete control over the image even without struggling with the Manual mode. Make things simpler for yourself. First, decide if you want only the couple sharp or whether there are important people in the background as well. Hence, aperture is one of the most important creative tools that you must always be in control of. Unless you are looking at creative movement effects (which will be a rare situation), you want the shutterspeed to be fast enough to get a sharp photo. Auto ISO is incredibly useful as it will help you predecide the slowest shutterspeed that you are allowing your camera to use.

2. Fast, But Not So Fast
The indiscriminate use of a 6fps (or worse still, 10fps) burst is not only irritating to those around you, it may also clog up the buffer of the camera. However fast your camera may be, you don’t want your camera to pause because it is writing images to the card… what if the best moment happens then?

3. One More to Be Safe
Continuous Low is probably the best Drive mode to use. Even if you are extremely careful about your timing, Single Shot can pose problems while photographing people. The bride may be looking lovely, but the groom may have blinked at the exact moment when you clicked. Group shots can be particularly frustrating if different people have blinked at different points of time! This is why Continuous Low (which you can set to a speed of around 3fps) can help get a moment where no one looks embarrassing.

4. Make Life Easier for Yourself
It’s tempting to say that White Balance can be figured in post as you’d be shooting RAW. But do remember that editing a large bunch of photographs for a wedding can be a pain, even if you follow an effective workflow. Try to get the WB right, as often as possible.

5. Better Noise Than Shake
A noisy image is better than one that is full of camera shake, so keep the ISO a little high to begin with. Most full frame cameras do a good job at ISO 6400 and even beyond. Even non-full frame cameras that are manufactured after 2012 do a decent job at ISO 3200. There’s nothing wrong with a grainy image… a bit of overt Noise Reduction in post will only make the image smoother and the skin tones, more pleasing.

6. Beware of A/C!
When moving from an air-conditioned hall to a location outdoors, bear in mind that your lens will be fogged. Keep a cloth handy in your pocket to wipe it, so that you don’t miss the action.

7. Previsualise the Next Moment
Avoid looking at the LCD unless it’s a posed shot and you have the option of asking the people in your frame to smile again.

8. On-camera Flash is Useful, But a Flashgun is Better
Even if your camera has an on-camera flash, a flashgun is always a better idea. On-camera flashguns take more time to recycle, and the camera may not allow you to fire the shot immediately.

9. What Does This Button Do?
It’s extremely important to be completely familiar with your camera. If you are renting gear, you may want to pay a little extra by renting it for an extra day, so that you are at least conversant with the button placement and design quirks.

10. Mark Your Spot
Assign Spot Metering to a shortcut button. Evaluative or Matrix metering is ideal for most regular situations in weddings, but you may randomly and suddenly be faced with extreme backlighting or fire or glittery dresses in the frame. The moment you sense something that may fool the meter, switch to Spot Metering.

11. How Many Are Left?
Keep an eye on the number of images left on the card. Don’t wait for it to fill up completely as there may be a great moment that is happening at the exact instant when your card gets full. Instead, if there are 20 or 30 photos left, find a relatively quiet corner where you can take a quick break and change the card.

12. Don’t Be Cheap
Always use a fast enough memory card. Class 4 and even Class 6 cards are inadequate when you’re going to be shooting RAW and using the Burst mode on a modern-day high-resolution camera.

13. Get the Shot, Then Fine Tune the Frame
Keep the AF-assist lamp on. If the light is so low that the camera still struggles despite the AF-assist beam, zoom out a bit. Lenses are often slow in terms of AF when shooting at the telephoto end. You would rather shoot a slightly wide frame and crop later.

14. Help Your Lens
When using a telephoto lens like a 70–200mm f/2.8, use the Focus Limiter switch wisely, so that the lens does not get fooled by any person who enters the frame randomly.

15. Don’t Wait for the ‘Battery Low’ Sign!
Flash recycle times can suffer if the batteries are not fully charged. So, even if the Battery Low sign hasn’t shown up, it’s best to replace the entire set of batteries halfway through your shoot.

Tags: Raj Lalwani, Wedding Photography, November 2014, Wedding photography tips