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Hey guys,

What do you think is the best way to shoot a wedding, or any event for that matter?

I currently have chosen to only shoot Manual (full control) - But I wondered about the possible situations that I, the photographer, or any photographer in general might or has been placed in... Situations that do not necessarily allow for quick metering reads or quick adjustments in an active scenario.

What are your suggestions and why? - Just looking for the logical approach. These are my thoughts on the matter please correct me as I come to you all for your opinions and experience:

Depth of field aside, I figured that the more I can capture quickly, and in focus, the better off I am. For this reason, I believe that shooting in AV would be best. This would allow me to maintain the widest aperture possible while allowing the camera to calculate the metering and shutter-speed. - One of the issues I see with this is that it might not work to my advantage if I am in a rush to capture the next shot and in a less lit area where lower shutter speeds are prone to happen.

Thanks in advance and looking forward to feedback,
- Alex

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There are lots of ways to achieve a given result, the difficult path is no more noble than the easy one. Almost all of the digital cameras can nail the exposure for a wide range of subjects and lighting, and the engineers are striving to get even more reliable results so future cameras should be even better. For lots of photos, using manual mode is just slower, not better.

All of my film cameras are strictly manual. When I got my first ones, that was the only choice and when I got the last one I wanted something inexpensive while I was travelling.

My digital cameras have pretty much all the bells and whistles. Unless I want a specific setting that I expect will be different than what the camera would choose, I pick P or Av. I hardly ever use Tv. I use M if I want more than basic flash or if shooting something like an air show or fireworks where metering is difficult. If I just want a little more or less exposure I use exposure compensation with P or Av.
I haevn't done a wedding but I hae done engagement photos and I went between AV mode, progam mode, and portriat mode. They were doing a lot of action shots wlaking down the beach and playing in the water and to have to keep metering and changing both my aperture, speed amd possibly ISO would have been to much waiting for the cleints getting photographed. I didn't want to bother them with every pose change, me metering and messing around with the controls. I think the majority of the time I was in AV mode so can control my depth of field quicjkly and the camera qucikly pciked the speed. I had it on auto ISO as well. Hope this helps.
Each format you shoot in has a place in time to use them. It's all in how comfortable you (the photographer) are in getting that shot on whichever mode you like to use. Personally, if i'm shooting a wedding and the bride and groom are walking down the aisle, i'll shoot Tv or Av.. NOT manual since i dont have the time and can't rewind time to "lets do that over again." But that's only me, if you feel completely comfortable taking that chance.. that you might miss something, or might expose your subjects wrong thats your choice! :-p Most photographers when they shoot manual they look at the grid inside the viewfinder anyway and adjust the settings to be even, which the camera relies on when shooting in Auto, Av, or Tv. You don't see many photographers at weddings shooting on manual and light meter all the time.. and you don't see many looking at the histogram while in precious moments. Any way you look at it.. it's your point of view and YOUR decision on which setting you like to use. After all it's your camera right?
i really appreciate your piece of advice...i would be using your recommended setting program mode...portrait mode
and playing with the aperture
I use all the settings on my camera, depending on the situation. However, because there is so much action and different lighting at a wedding, I would think that auto and aperture priority would be the two easiest modes to switch back and forth from, depending on what result you are looking for. Let the camera make the split-second decisions. Just like Chris said....can't rewind the moments. I've learned to speed dial when going back and forth between a large and small aperture when shooting a single item w/ great DOF to a group shot.
Ultimately, it's whatever setting you can take the best shots, the quickest, that you should use. I personally don't use manual, and choose Av, because I would rather have my camera choose the shutter speed rather than me set it. I just keep an eye on it and change my aperture, ISO or exposure setting when necessary.

However, if you are most familiar with M mode then that may be the solution for you. But learning Av or P mode may save you time.
Shooting anything I like M and Av. DOF is almost always my primary consideration so I set that first. If the background isn't likely to fool the meter then Av is fine. If it's fooling the meter then M is just easier. Recently I've tried P. My camera displays aperture and shutter so I can always see what the camera is up to, and adjust if necessary using exp comp or meter lock. Personally it seems to take more effort than just using M. I like to set my camera and forget about it. Unless the lighting changes once I've got the exposure right it's always right no matter what the tonality of the part of the scene the meter is pointed at is.
Digital - AV .
Film - Program/Auto ( wide exposure latirtude ) . .
But you shouldn't shoot a wedding only on Digital , you should use Medium Format , B&W and Colour neg , especially for Blow Ups for wall portraiture from the wedding .
I have been using a 10 megapixel Canon 35mm digital camera & my photos blow up to poster size very nicely. I use to shoot with medium format in film & it was a royal pain in the butt. I find though that my digital enlargements look better than the film medium format & large format prints I had done.
I'm with you. I shot weddings with film. I used a couple of Nikon FM2ns, a Hassy 500c/m, a P67II, and a Rollei 3.5E planar. I'll take the Canon 35mm DSLRs I use today over any of those cameras based on enlargement quality alone.
Metering accuracy is the key issue, especially when shooting subjects in white and / or black and backilt... like often happens at weddings! This is particularly important when metering accuracy is critical to get fine details recorded in areas like white dresses and veils.

You get less exposure latitude with TIFF and JPEG files than you did on tranny and neg this means digital can be more critical than shooting film - some digital cameras will only shoot in some program modes in default as TIFF's and JPEG's, meaning you can't select Raw files if you do some program shifts. This means you can encounter major image quality problems from shooting in some auto modes, even if your exposure is only slightly out!

For this reason the majority of the top operators I've seen tend to stick to manual, such as Nigel Harper, Roy Doorbar and Ian Gee.

I occasionally shift to another mode, typically shutter priority, when moving rapidly indoors for example, when you are going to get a major shift in lighting and metering / camera settings, such as when a bride enters a church. Why Shutter? - because I don't want camera shake ruining the image, especially if I'm under pressure. AV would work just as well, but if you're reaching the limits where subject or camera movement may impact your shot you can then take the route of changing the ISO to prevent it - however this still doesn't get around the issues of gleaming white dresses impacting your metering, does it?

I also always shoot Raw files so I get some latitude in post processing. If focusing is a concern then I'd suggest you prefocus 2 or 3 times before you release the shutter.

Manual is still the most reliable because it enables you to determine the bleed in of the background light and it enables you to prevent the meter being fooled by those black suits or white dresses - also you don't want your flash killing the available lighting, for this reason I always use very fast lenses and occasionally I'd use an ISO shift if the exposure changes and I'm under a lot of pressure - bright sunny days with wind and little thick scudding clouds can be problematic for example and you need to keep watching your meter if you're operating in manual.

I hope that helps.
manual is way too slow for most events. P or A or S are all faster. The best would be M is there was a selectable auto iso, and an EC avail in M. But so far it's not been invented.


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