How To Best Use A Digital Camera at a Wedding
At the wedding, the "fun factor" of digital includes instant results and the opportunity to share moments from an event while the event is still ongoing. So, without further ado, here are our Tips for Great Digital Wedding Photos.
Just like we mentioned in our companion piece, 7 Tips for Best Wedding Pictures, this article is designed to help you, the wedding guest, capture great photos with your digital point-and-shoot camera. Our goal is not to turn you into a professional McKinney wedding photographer. Rather, we'll help you understand the issues you'll face when you try to take digital photos at any of the affairs you're likely to attend as a guest this wedding season.
Digital Wedding Photography Tip 1:
Take plenty of camera batteries and memory cards. Due to issues with wedding flash recycling time and shutter lag that are inherent in digital cameras, you're likely to be taking many more photos at the reception than you may think, since many of them may not come out, some one may move or blink, etc... . Consequently, you'll be draining your camera's batteries by not only taking the photos, but by reviewing them during the reception.
Which brings us to the second part of this tip: bringing as much memory with you as possible. The more memory cards you have with you, the less likely you'll be to miss the party as you sit in your chair trying to find space on your card for one more picture. You know... that all important one of your best friend getting hit in the head with the bridal bouquet. The one picture you can't possibly miss! So, plan ahead and bring more than you think you'll need in both memory cards and batteries.
Digital Wedding Photography Tip 2:
Take advantage of your camera's ability to change ISO. Many point-and-shoot cameras are set automatically so that they expose much like a traditional camera loaded with 100 ISO film. This is great for outdoor photos, but may be woefully inadequate inside a reception hall or church even with the flash turned on. However, unlike traditional film-based point-and-shoots, many digital cameras are more sophisticated and allow the photographer to set higher ISO ratings. If you find that the backgrounds of your photos are coming out dark, even with the flash on, try boosting the ISO setting on your digital camera to 200 or 400. While you may pay for this increase in gain with some graininess, color shifts, and artifacts, you'll find that the backgrounds will be much lighter and the on-camera flash will appear to work much better.
Digital Wedding Photography Tip 3:
Don't expect too much from your flash. Any less-than-professional on-camera flash tends to be woefully inadequate, but it's still better than nothing. Just remember that the flash is not likely to cover a lot of distance, leaving much of the background in your photos dark. To compensate, try adjusting the camera's ISO setting, and remember to place your subjects up close to fill as much of the frame as possible. Don't expect to get great group shots of people dancing, particularly in dimly lit reception halls. Also, remember that flash units take time to recharge, so you are not going to be able to snap one picture after another without waiting until the camera and flash are ready.
Think ahead and plan which images are important to you so that you don't miss the action while waiting for the flash to recharge. Finally, don't expect red-eye reduction to work over long distances. It's great when you're taking static portraits (just remember to warn your subjects so that they don't move after the first flash) but it won't help if you're zooming in on your subjects from half way across the room.
Digital Wedding Photography Tip 4:
Account for Shutter lag. It takes time for a digital camera to capture the image and then record that image on the camera's memory card. This is very different than traditional film cameras where there is little or no delay from the time you press the shutter until the image is recorded on film.
For action shots, the only solution is to try to anticipate the action by pointing the camera where you think the action will be and pressing the shutter before your subjects actually move into the space. Even with static subjects, such as guests posing with the bride and groom, shutter lag can result in photos where your subjects' eyes are closed or they have weird expressions on their faces. You, and your subjects, will need to have patience while you take enough pictures to insure that you have captured some good ones. Trial and error will result in your getting some good shots. And, with all that practice, you'll eventually develop a feel for how long your camera's time lag is.
Digital Wedding Photography Tip 5:
Take advantage of the fact that your wedding photos are digital. You can use digital imaging programs to enhance or correct your photos. For instance, you can crop your photos to remove distracting elements or correct red-eye. Want to save an under-exposed image? Here's a trick you might try. If the image is too dark and you have artifacts or color shifts in it, consider converting it to a grayscale black-and-white image. It's an easy fix that will remove the unwanted color from the photo. Then, you can adjust the levels of the image, fixing the exposure. It may not work in every case, but you'll likely resurrect a few photos you thought were unusable.
The second thing you can do with digital images is share them. Upload your photos to an online wedding gallery site and let the other wedding guests or the bride and groom look at your photos. They'll even be able to order prints without you having to get involved. Since digital cameras produce images of varying sizes, you'll want to resize and crop them first before uploading, making them fit standard print sizes of 4x6" or 8x10".
Remember to change the resolution so that your images are 300 pixels per inch to insure good prints. It's also a good idea to make TIFF copies of all your photos before you start working with them since JPEGs degrade each time you save them.
Taking a digital camera to a wedding when you're a guest can be fun! You don't have the pressure that the professional McKinney wedding photographer has to get every photograph. By using a digital camera, you can see the pictures immediately, take more photos as needed and fix the ones that you have to. Even better, surprising the bride and groom with additional photos of their special day makes a great and thoughtful gift.
Contact us at 972-822-3587 to schedule your Professional Digital Wedding Photography and Bridal Portraits.