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Old 05-19-2010   #1
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Default Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

I was at a wedding the other day as a guest and was wondering the best focus settings for shooting a wedding (or anything "run and gun" for that matter). I've learned that the ideal way to focus, is to frame the photo and select the focus point closest to the eyeball (or thing that you want to focus on), put it on the eyeball and then take the picture. However, this may take too much time when it really counts and when things (framing) are changing so frequently. Would you just use the center focus points and focus/reframe? I'm guessing you would need a smaller aperture when doing this to get a longer DOF.

Also, I noticed the hired photographer was doing a lot of arms extended/camera over the head/shooting downward shots during the reception. I was wondering how he was focusing since he wasn't looking through the viewfinder or LCD. I'm guessing AUTO?

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Old 05-19-2010   #2
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

It all depends upon the shot that you are wanting to take at the time and will alter many times over the course of the wedding. In terms on when the Tog was holding the camera up, he was relying on Autofocus and would have taken lots of shots to get the one he eanted.
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Old 05-19-2010   #3
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpshulman View Post
I was at a wedding the other day as a guest and was wondering the best focus settings for shooting a wedding (or anything "run and gun" for that matter). I've learned that the ideal way to focus, is to frame the photo and select the focus point closest to the eyeball (or thing that you want to focus on), put it on the eyeball and then take the picture. However, this may take too much time when it really counts and when things (framing) are changing so frequently. Would you just use the center focus points and focus/reframe? I'm guessing you would need a smaller aperture when doing this to get a longer DOF.

Also, I noticed the hired photographer was doing a lot of arms extended/camera over the head/shooting downward shots during the reception. I was wondering how he was focusing since he wasn't looking through the viewfinder or LCD. I'm guessing AUTO?
No, the reason why we can shoot in receptions, upside down backwards, or up in the air is from training......and the flash focus.

I always shoot in Manual, but when something is going on really fast, or in a circle I can't penatrate, I shoot in this method. Prefocus, and your flash beam will go off. If it is in the face of the target, hit the trigger. I learned this in Wire Service.

As far as settings for a wedding, that would depend on the wedding, the lighting, what your intentions are for the shot, on and on and on. It's like any other shoot except a thousand times faster.

If one of my assistants shot auto, they would automatically be "outta there".
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Old 05-20-2010   #4
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

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If one of my assistants shot auto, they would automatically be "outta there".
Auto focus, or Auto Exposure? I use auto focus 90% of the time.

That camera is way more accurate than my eyball! Lol! Well, at least when moving around and such. I select the center point of focus, and then focus and recompose. Now, this varies, depending on where, what, lighting, etc.... It's different from a wedding shoot to a bridal/portrait shoot. kwim?
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Old 05-20-2010   #5
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

Auto anything. We should be smarter than the camera.

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Old 05-20-2010   #6
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

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Auto anything. We should be smarter than the camera.

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I hear ya. But, sometimes it's so dark, I can't even see where to focus. But, Mr Focus Assist Beam can! He can see all. But, there are many times where he can be fooled and tricked. That's when the "smarter thing" kicks in. If he's working fine, I use him, but....when he starts to get an attitude, I'll bump him to the side and take over.
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Old 05-20-2010   #7
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

And that is just the point. You tell the camera what to do, and not the other way around.
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Old 05-20-2010   #8
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

For say candid shooting when everyone is dancing at the reception or something similar, you just can't always be fast enough to use the center point to focus on the eyes and recompose; by the time you do the moment will be gone. Even my Rebel XS on AF got it right 90% of the time in just such an occasion. But when everything is more calm and in control I use the points, mainly the center and recompose.

My 2 cents.
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Old 05-20-2010   #9
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

When you guys shoot with the center focus point and recompose, how much do you have to stop down the aperture? I know when I take close-ups of my kids at f2.8 this technique usually results in soft images. I guess it depends on a lot of things. But for the most part, what are you guys shooting at, something like f4 and above?
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Old 05-20-2010   #10
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Default Re: Best focus setting for shooting a wedding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpshulman View Post
When you guys shoot with the center focus point and recompose, how much do you have to stop down the aperture? I know when I take close-ups of my kids at f2.8 this technique usually results in soft images. I guess it depends on a lot of things. But for the most part, what are you guys shooting at, something like f4 and above?
When I am shooting my weddings, I shoot 1.4 - 3.3, when I am shooting a wedding for someone else, I try and shoot where ever they want me, a few like 4.0 - 5.6 in the reception, but prep and ceremony is usually 1.4 - 2.8.

Now about the dancing shots taken from over my head, I've printed out some of those shots in my albums at a full 22"x14" spread. Usually I use my 24mm prime 1.4 @ 1.4 and get good result, figuring my camera is 1.5 meters from my primary subject I have about 13" focal plane. To put that in perspective if I were using a 50mm @ 1.4 I would only have about a 4" focal plane, and with an 85mm I would only have 3/4" of focal plane. (these numbers are by using a full frame camera, a DX cropped camera would have smaller areas of focal ability) The 24mm 1.4 cost me big bucks but it is so worth it for what I do, also unlike a zoom lens @ 24mm there is very little warpage near the edges with the prime lens.


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