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Photography Question 
kelly a. jones

Settings for Low Light Photography

I'm shooting a wedding and have a Canon 60d using my lens of 24-70mm us.2.8 Because of low light, I'm leaving my aperture wide open in the ap function. I know I should go with manual but still a little nervous using it when things are happening quickly. Two questions: 1. Should I use the AI Servo setting for when the bride and parties are walking down the aisle? 2. Also, can someone explain how or what I should select as my af point? I just can't seem to make this "click for me".

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6/17/2011 9:51:15 AM

Peter K. Burian
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/8/2004
  Hi Kelly, I would not use the camera's Manual mode. Use AV mode, Aperture Priority, at f/2.8.
If shooting without flash in dark locations, you will probably need to use ISO 800 or ISO 1600. Try them and see what the shutter speed is.
You'll want a shutter speed of about 1/200 sec. or faster for moving people. (For static people, 1/60 sec. will be fine.)
In fact, if it's quite dark, you may need to use ISO 3200 to get a shutter speed as fast as 1/200 sec.
Yes, AI Servo will track the moving subjects. This is the best choice. I would either let the camera set the focus point (that would work fine with a couple walking down the aisle), or I would set the central focus point only (that provides more reliable autofocus in low light). BUT it also means that you must be sure that a part of the couple will be in the center of the frame. They probably will be, if I understand the type of photo you are planning. Afterwards, set the AF back to AF-S when shooting static subjects.
All the best!

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6/29/2011 10:30:19 AM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/27/2003

I have a different take here. An aperture of f2.8 provides such a shallow DOF that you should only use it for ambient lit ceremony, candids and portraits of individuals/couples. Using that aperture for group shots or aisle shots will most likely cause focal depth problems.

The lighting in a church generally remains pretty consistent, and there is no reason to be afraid to use manual exposure. When I shoot processional or recessional aisle shots I have my camera set to manual exposure, ISO 400, Aperture f4-5.6, shutter speed at 1/125 Sec., and flash on in Auto TTL Mode. People are not put off by flash lit aisle shots, and most churches do not prohibit flash for those shots.

Regarding focus on aisle shots, I generally pre-focus on a particular pew and keep the focus locked, recompose and shoot when the couple gets to that spot. Using f4 or 5.6 they will be in focus and exposure is consistent because it's set manually.

If you have time, take a friend to the church and ask if you can do a couple test shots prior to the wedding date.

I hope this helps.

God Bless,

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7/5/2011 6:31:00 AM

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