Destin Florida Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques

This happens often.  You love photography and have been asked by a friend to take pictures at their beach wedding. Why is it that it seems like every professional photographer will recommend you don’t do it?  Maybe they don’t want to be blamed for encouraging you to take the photos if you make mistakes and ruin the wedding photos. I’m a wedding photographer that realizes every professional started out by photographing a “first wedding” at some point. While I will still recommend you give the couple a monetary gift so they can hire a professional photographer, if you are going to go ahead and do the photography yourself, I want to help you do the best job possible!

When I first started in the Destin Florida wedding photography business I remember spending more than a hundred hours working to prepare for my first wedding. I learned as much as I could online. I took practice photos both indoors and outdoors. I also visited the church and reception site to prepare for my wedding shoot. I took more practice photos at the same time of day as my upcoming wedding  so I could match the lighting conditions. I got  people (family members, relatives, friends) to pose for me so I could practice arranging my wedding shots.

It is possible for an amateur photographer to successfully photograph a wedding.  You have to be willing to work really hard. Be willing to dedicate a lot of time to preparing for the wedding! Make sure the couple knows it is your first wedding so that they have low expectations. Then you can blow them away with your good results!

Learn About Lighting

Do you know how to take well-lit photos in a variety of settings? Can you take nicely-lit photos that primarily use natural light while indoors? Or do you use “blast-flash” on all your subjects?

There are three basic settings on the camera that control exposure. Do you know what those three are? If you are a student of photography you should immediately know the three I am referring and should know how they interact!

#1– Do you know what ISO refers to and what settings work best for various lighting conditions? If you stepped outside for some photos at a wedding, what would you move your ISO to? If you are indoors, what ISO setting will give you a good mixture of quality and light capture? At what ISO setting does your camera begin to take grainy photos? On my Canon 5d Mark II I will shoot indoors at ISO 400 all day and end up with beautiful, grain-free results. If needed, I can go up to ISO 520 or 640. I try to avoid ISO 800 – but will do it if needed (there are tons of Photoshop plug-ins, free and paid, that can be used to lessen the grain).

#2– I use Canon full frame cameras and IS L series lens now. If you can’t afford them yet you need to know what shutter speed you can comfortably shoot at without taking blurred photos? The first bit of advice is to hold the camera as still as possible while taking photos. Sound simple, but it’s important! Don’t jam the button down, press it gently.

Second bit of advice is to use a tripod whenever possible. I almost always use a tripod during wedding ceremonies that are indoors. Most of the time it is the only way I am able to get natural-lit shots of the wedding ceremony (due to the slow shutter speeds and dim lighting)

Third bit of advice is that, if you can’t use a tripod, try to brace yourself on whatever is handy. Lean against a wall. Set the camera on the back of a pew as a stabilizer.

The fourth bit of advice is the industry-wide rule of thumb regarding shutter speeds: you generally shouldn’t shoot at a shutter speed “faster” than the zoom of your lens. If you have a 50mm lens (don’t forget about digital magnification factors) you would want to shoot at 1/50th or faster. A 200mm zoom would be best shot with 1/200th of a second or faster. But this is why PRACTICE is so important: over the years I have found I can shoot with a slower shutter speed if I am using flash (to find out about my flash lighting techniques, visit my web site which I link to below). I’ve successfully taken non-blurred images while indoors with extremely dim lighting using ISO 200, f2.8, 1/30th of a second exposure with a 70mm lens and some bounce flash.

#3 – Do you know what aperture setting is best for indoor photos? For outdoor photos? For achieving a blurred-background effect (yes, shooting “wide open” – which means a low-numbered aperture – with a zoom lens is all that is needed)? For having as much of the photo in focus as possible?

This is the first in a series of articles that are designed to help amateurs as they prepare to photograph their first wedding. I have a significant amount of additional information on my web site, and also link to other web sites that have information to help you out!

Destin Florida Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques Part 2

Wedding photographers have to balance between portrait photographers  and photojournalist. Portrait photographers learn lighting, how to use it,  and portrait composition. Photographers spend time setting up the shots for the best possable lighting effect. One of my Destin Florida Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques that I will share with you is to try strive to control every aspect of the wedding portrait. With in reason of coarse. You are on the beach 9 times out of 10 and there is only so much you can do with the brides hair and the wind. If you are smart, during the bridal consult ask the bride to wear her hair up as well as her bridesmaids. This will save you alot of photoshop clean up later. 
    
     The photojournalist at work during a ceremony  shooting Destin Florida Wedding Photography on the other hand is quick to draw and always paying attition to what is going on around them. The photographer is able to capture a fleeting moment in time for the couple to treasure forever. A good Wedding Photographer is on their toes looking for the chance shot the perfect shot. In a wedding you are expected to get portrait like images but you are limited in time you have to shot the wedding party because they have to attend to there guest. As a wedding photographer you are also expected to catch those fleeting moments and memories that will make your mark on the busy and extremely competitive  
Destin Florida Wedding Photography industry.    

Photographs tell the Story of the Wedding

     All weddings are different and you should plan the photography with the bride and groom during the consult. Try to see the dream wedding through their eyes and give them what they want. You are a storyteller capturing memories in your images during your wedding photography session on the beaches of Destin Florida.

     You should start your story with engagement photos if you can. My tip to you here is that this is one of the best opportunity you will have to get to know the bride and groom.  You will be able to find out what they like and don’t like.  When you photograph the wedding you will start with a good rapport and you will get better results.  Some couples will want you to start at the brides home to record the preparations.  If you plan and tell a good story the wedding couple will remember you forever. If you follow these guidelines you will make a nice living on the beach. These are my Destin Florida Wedding Photography Tips and Techniques to help all you young aspiring photographers out their. Good luck to you!

Using a Ring Flash

My review of the Canon MR-14EX TTL Macro Ring Lite Flash.
This new Ringlight for macro shooting is loaded with features and capabilities. Now with Canon’s E-TTL, it takes full advantage of the flash performance of the EOS-1V, EOS-3, and other E-TTL supported cameras. Twin circular flash tubes fire at even power, or can be varied over a six-stop range. One or more 580EX, 550EX, 430EX, or 420EX Speedlites can be used as wireless slaves along with the MR-14EX. The controller unit has an illuminated, informative LCD panel. Accepts optional hi-capacity battery packs.

Key Features

• Twin tubes designed for close-up photography with EF Macro lenses; Flash tubes can fire together or independently
• Ratio control in manual mode: 1/1 ~ 1/64 range in 7 full steps
• Supports E-TTL wireless autoflash in conjunction with one or more 580EX, 550EX, 430EX, or 420EX flashes
• Attaches directly to EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro (both versions), and MP-E 65mm Macrophoto Lenses [without filters attached] (can also be used with EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM via Macrolite Adapter 72C)
Can be adapted to other popular filter sizes with appropriate Macrolite Adapters; 52mm, 58mm & 72mm
• Incandescent focusing lamps and two forms of modelling flash permit preview of lighting effects
• Illuminated LCD panel for easy flash settings in any lighting condition
• Seven Custom Functions set on the flash LCD
• Compatible with AA alkaline, lithium, Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries
• Accepts Canon external battery packs (compact battery pack CP-E2 & transistor pack E)