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Camera Settings for indoor wedding receptions

Katie W. , Jul 28, 2006; 12:25 p.m.

I was just looking back through some of my weddings at what settings worked for indoor receptions. I am not really worried about noise as most of the time these pictures don't get enlarged. So the settings that I like for my Nikon D100 where iso800, 1/30, f2.8, and a SB800 that I either bounced or diffused for shots. They seemed to be most well balanced with ambient light and the flash.

My question is 1) Do you agree with these settings? 2) How much do you increase your flash output?

I have another wedding coming up that is all indoors so I am curious what you think of these settings.

Responses


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Jamie Thomas , Jul 28, 2006; 01:17 p.m.

Well, personally, I donメt like shooting with a shutter under 1/60. Don't you get blurry images at 1/30?

Bob Donlon - Albany, NY , Jul 28, 2006; 01:44 p.m.

It's all subjective with settings depending on the location, color of walls, height of ceiling.

I usually shoot receptions around ISO 200-400, speed at 1/25 - 1/40 and F/5.6-8.0. The lighting is either bounced if close to a wall or a lower ceiling, or direct w/built in diffuser (I use Metz 60 flash units).

Jamie... you can shoot 1/15 even with no blur if the room is dark enough. Your flash will freeze it.

Bob

Jennie Farnsworth - Kennesaw, Ga. , Jul 28, 2006; 01:48 p.m.

Ditto on Bob's settings.

Jen

Katie W. , Jul 28, 2006; 02:11 p.m.

I generally don't get a blur from 1/30 because my flash freezes the subject (if I am using it right!). The farther away my flash is from the subject the more likely that I will get a blur but I do have good luck with 1/30. I really like to capture as much ambiant light as possible.

I personally had a very beautiful outdoor evening reception. We had thousands of twinkle light and candles haning in several very large walnut trees that provided the lighting for the reception. When I look back at my pictures I realize that none of them capture the ambiance of the evening. A lot of flash was used and there is no background light. There is none of the magic from the evening in my pictures. So I like to capture as much of the mood lighting as possible.

Rich Taylor - Mequon, WI , Jul 28, 2006; 02:20 p.m.

I also use a slow shutter speed to record ambient light, but I often try to keep my lens pretty wide open (2.8) for two reasons. First, even though I want to register ambient light, I don't want it to be in focus. At 2.8, the DOF renders the background a soft blur which is not only visually pleasing but also helps to more enmphatically set off the subject. Second, if shooting a lot of images indoors, your batteries will be drained a lot faster if you are stopped down.

Of course, individual situations may require changing settings. As Capt. Barbosa said, "They ain't really rules. They's more like guidelines."

Katie W. , Jul 28, 2006; 02:49 p.m.

Rich- Those are good reasons for using f2.8. That is probably why I like those images more than the others at smaller apertures, I just hadn't thought it through that far.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Jul 28, 2006; 03:22 p.m.

You can't really state specfics because the settings depend on the amount of shutter drag you want to employ, size and color of the room (for bouncing), amount of ambient lighting present, DOF desired and subject motion. If you use just one set of ISO/aperture/shutter speed all the time for every indoor reception, you may be OK in many situations, but are going to run across a situation or two where that set won't work well, for one reason or another. For instance, your settings used at an indoor reception during the day where the place has a lot of windows and daylight streaming in will result in motion blur for dancing shots or any shots where the subjects are moving because your settings are too close to the actual ambient light, if not actually overexposing it.

So answers are, 1) No, it depends. 2) Increase flash ouput depending upon subject lightness/darkness and previously tested known tendencies of the flash system.

David Wegwart - Denver/CO. , Jul 28, 2006; 05:41 p.m.

Short of what Nadine offered (great advice, BTW), I read someone using iso200 - 400 with f5.6 - f8. I think that is down to personal preference and style. For me, F8 is almost a no go except in the case of formal groups and when I want to include sharp backgrounds. All other times I think the use of a far more shallow DOF is appropriate during receptions (IMHO).

If you use wide angles, F4 will get you lots of sharp subject matter at reasonable distances from the subject. At f2 somewhat less. With tele's (such as 85mm and so on), f1.2 to f2 is where I like to be and no flash, if possible.

Edward Horn , Jul 28, 2006; 05:54 p.m.

If you're using the flash and not worrying about ambient light it doesn't really matter what shutter speed you use as long as the flash will sync.

I do a lot of corner and wall bounce and seem to wind up using the same settings as you except for a 1/60 shutter speed. I wish I didn't have to shoot at such a high ISO since you have to nail the exposure to avoid noise. If the room is small enough the first thing I down is lower the ISO. If I can get it down to 200 then I'll start tightening up the aperture.

Keep in mind that many lenses fuzz up at 2.8.


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