April 12, 2014 by Gary Tan Leave a Comment Have you ever been asked to take photos for a wedding?
Wedding photos are a challenge to take, simply because of the flurry of activities that go on and the wide variety of lighting conditions that may occur. One of the most critical elements in being a successful wedding photographer is preparation. Asking pertinent questions like these will help you understand the requirements for the wedding photos and thereby take better shots.
Once you’ve understood what the wedding locations, events and times are, find some time to go scout around those places.
For a church wedding, I usually like to go inside the church to check out the lighting, decor and environment. You will need to make sure you’re equipped with the correct accessories like tripods or fast lenses, depending on the wedding environment. It’s also important to check out places like the reception area, or the podium where the speech will be made. And here’s another tip – it’s important not to get too excited about your shots so early on the wedding day.
If there happens to be a church reception, make sure you’re out to the reception area faster than the rest of the guests, and perch yourself in the correct position. If there are any formal group shots to be taken, be sure your assistant is there to help you. Over the past 15 years K&M Development has built 40+ luxury homes in some of the Bay Area's top residential neighborhoods (Hillsborough, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Saratoga, and Cupertino).
There’s so much to learn when it comes to photography but at the heart of it there are some key lessons to get your head around.
Here are 3 lessons for new photographers which have been visualised in a handy cheat sheet.. All too often, people assume the only way to take great photos is to have the best equipment. Depending on the camera, you should be able to control some basic functions manually, and this can make or break your session of photography. It's no good having a camera that takes 1 full second to take a photo from when you push the button, because the surfer will have moved, and the moment you saw will be gone by the time the camera captures the shot. Regarding manual mode, there is a significant advantage to be able to use a single shutter speed and aperture for all your shots. Because surfing is a fast moving sport, and there are drops of water flying everywhere, I try to freeze these in the photo to be clearly seen. If it's too dark, then you can only adjust the ISO and aperture f numbers if you still want to freeze the motion of the surfer. Cheers, Dylan Jimi on Jul 24, 2014Hey Dylan, My advice would be to get an SLR with the best quality lens you can afford, with a good consumer level camera body. Personally I also enjoy using a couple of Photoshop plugins from Nik Software called Define and Viveza.
There are 3 popular Exposure Modes for bird photography, Aperture Priority (beginners), Shutter Priority (mid - experienced) and Manual Mode (experienced photographers).
Aperture Priority - One of the easiest settings for beginners to start with is Aperture Priority.
Shutter speed is your best friend when it comes to photographing birds in flight or on the move.
Setting a low Aperture F number also results in a bird that stands out from the background (highly recommended).
If on the otherhand you want a nature photo of a bird and its surroundings, then I recommend using a higher Aperture F number. It's recommended that you use AI Servo if you own a Canon DSLR, Continuous AF for Nikon users, or the equivalent of for other camera brands. One thing I can tell you for sure, there is no time to think about composing a shot when it comes to bird photography.
If you own a mid to high end camera, setting AF Point Expansion (Canon DSLRs) or Dynamic AF-Area Mode (Nikon DSLRs) makes bird photography much easier by allowing the photographer to expand their Auto Focus Points and include a group of focal points.
The only time I'd recommend changing it, is in extreme situations where you might be seeing detail lost when the background effects the exposure and the bird looks over or under exposed.

I'll end this article with the photo I began with, only this time I've removed the background so the vivid blue bird stands out on its own against a pure white background. If you have any questions on bird photography, or would like to share your bird images with other photographers, you're welcome to join us over on our Facebook Page. This article will serve as a beginner’s guide to wedding photography, and delve into various tips and tricks used by the pros out there.
I try to find the correct places to position myself so I don’t mess up during the wedding day. If there will be a wedding dance, then check out the dance floor and the seating arrangement if possible. I usually prepare 1 month ahead of the wedding date just to be sure I have time to get any equipment I’ve missed out.
I’m not kidding – you won’t believe how many shots you’ll take during a wedding, especially if you shoot a lot in RAW mode. In fact, you should be one of the earliest to arrive so that you can set up your positions, tripods or whatever equipment you need to use. Try to start with the big groups, then slowly remove family members so that you can get the various combinations of family and friends required.
Especially when you see the couple smiling and reminiscing about how wonderful their wedding day was.
Utilizing well established relationships with key contractors, K&M Development consistently produces high quality custom homes for sale as well as for residential owners. While this will help if you need to take billboard-sized commercial photos, or magazine covers, it is not the recipe required for good quality photos. Everybody takes photos looking straight out from the beach, and sometimes it's impossible to get any other angle due to the terrain, but always try to find a vantage point close to the break and preferably at an angle to the waves.
If you have lots of water around the surfer, it's not usually going to be an exciting shot (unless it's a wave face filling the space around the surfer!) so zoom in, and get close!
Because surfing photos are typically high contrast (unbroken wave is dark, while spray and whitewash is almost pure white) cameras automatic modes tend to either overexpose (by metering for the dark water in the face) or underexpose(by metering for the whitewash) so after a series of photos, many will be of poor quality due to the variability of camera metering. You could consider 2nd hand as well, since there are plenty of good cameras available due to people upgrading to full-frame gear now that it is coming down in price a bit.
Hundreds of birds were ducking and diving into the water to score themselves a feed of fish. In the very least, a 200mm lens length coupled with a 2X extender would also be sufficient. Define is useful for times when you need to increase your cameras ISO (for faster shooting), as it helps post processing grainy images.
First choose your Exposure Mode, then set (or take note of) the Aperture, Shutter Speed (most important for birds) and ISO.
The higher you go, the more grain you will see in your images when you look at them on the computer.
What this does is ensure your camera keeps shooting one exposure after another while you have your finger on the shutter button. Setting these AF Modes will ensure that the camera automatically keeps tracking and focussing on the moving bird for as long as it's within the AF frame. This setting is effective when it's difficult to track a moving bird with just one AF Point. Evaluative and Matrix are the default metering modes for most models and they work well with bird photography. Only in these cases, is it recommended that photographers change the mode to 'Spot' metering. Do take note that some churches do not allow flash photography during the wedding ceremony. He or she can help you arrange the group before you take photos, taking a lot of stress off you.
Some critical locations where wedding photos must be taken include the entrance to church, the aisle and the place where the couple will stand. I once did a wedding where I snapped so many photos at the church entrance, I nearly ran out of memory card space by the time the couple exchanged vows! You need to do some basic photo touch up, such as editing and removing red eye, cropping and rotating.

I help people take better photos by applying basic photography techniques, without the need for expensive cameras and equipment. Most of the shots people take are too far away and you miss out on the extra detail a camera can capture.
I usually take a couple of test photos and have a look at the exposure, then set the camera manually to use the settings from the photo that looked best. You may find that you are at the lowest aperture your lens is capable of, and have the iso of the camera at 800 and it is still too dark, especially late in the evening. The bird image shown above was taken with a lens set at 400mm length, with the bird flying roughly 7 meters away from me in distance. As you can see, any lens shorter than a 400mm will mean you'll need to do quite a lot of cropping to fill the frame with the actual bird. If you're looking for examples of bird images taken with this lens, check out the Sigma Flickr Group. I won't go into software too much on this page as I already have a Photo Editing Software article where I list several choices for free, low cost and professional options. Remember the higher you go, the more natural light you need to keep that shutter speed nice and fast. Later on during post processing, I wished I'd set a lower Aperture setting to help make the bird stand out on its own against a more blurred background. If you own a middle - high end range camera, then you should still see good results from an ISO of 1600. You want to see the expression on the surfer's face just as the lip is coming down in a closeout! Often there isn't a manual mode, so you're stuck using the 'scene' modes built into the camera.
Of course if a cloud comes along and blocks the sun, you will need to change your settings to adjust to the change of light. After you've taken a few shots, have a look at what Aperture F number your camera is automatically shooting with.
If you’re in the wedding photography business, you should know that you cannot delay this step. You want to see the rainbow of spray coming off the back of a wave in strong offshore winds.
With the two faster models, a photographer can capture more frames per second when using continuous shooting. For those who don't own full frame cameras, the bird will fill the frame a little more than seen in the image below.
If it is a higher F number than say 6.3, then it's ok to lower your ISO number for better image quality.
That is usually my starting point, then I'll view the cameras rear LCD screen and adjust to a faster speed if needed.
Taking several shots of a bird flying past gives you a better chance of getting an awesome shot when compared to only taking one shot at a time.
These are designed to give you the fastest camera shutter speed and focus settings available for the given conditions without using a flash (useless for any photo further than 20ft away).
With the slower models, the photographer can still use continuous shooting, however it might take a little more patience and time to get the shot they're after.
Of course, if you aren't yet comfortable with the manual settings of your SLR, the sports or action modes will work fine too!!
The lower the ISO, the better, because the ISO will determine how much 'noise' is introduced.
It won't give you as much control as manual, but it will allow you to take reasonable photos most of the time.If this is where you are comfortable, then you can stop reading now, as the remainder of this article deals with settings on SLR cameras and cameras that allow full manual control. Some cameras (usually expensive) can go above 800 and look fine, while others (usually older models) may look terrible even at 800.

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