I know, I know, questions have been piling up with the Skribt widget in the right column of the blog. I thought I would take a few of your questions today. Next week I'll cover a few more. Sound good, then let's get right to it.
What AF mode do you use? Single? Continuous? Does it vary on the situation?
For 98% of my shooting, I'm in "Single" mode only using "Continuous or AI-Servo" mode for the processional and recessional. Sometimes I forget to set the camera to "continuous" even for those shots. If I'm shooting using only available light, the camera really needs to be on continuous because of their very shallow depth of field. I have also experimented with "continuous" for available light reception shots. And, wait, there's more - I've also tried "continuous" for my macro photography nature shots. My 100mm macro seems to have better luck keeping things in focus at those close distances.
Here is one problem you may incur in using the "Continuous" setting.
You can't recompose the image once you lock on the subject. Here is where the big problem comes in. You've set your camera to "continuous", shift gears for another part of the coverage shooting like you are in "single " mode. For me that means, focusing with the center spot only, then recomposing the scene. It's that recomposing the scene that gets you in trouble if you are still in "continuous" mode. The camera will refocus to that new spot without you realizing it - not a good thing. That's explains why I am on "single" most of the time.
Can you run down f-stops and shutter speeds that you use for the different parts of a wedding?
Altar return images - F5.6 on my 24-105 IS lens at about 1/20 second; reception candids - F5.6 to F 6.3 at about 1/80 second; available light, usually F 2.0 or the widest aperture for the lens I'm using at the time; room shots - F5.6 with my very wide 10-22mm lens at about 1/13 second. All these situations mentioned are all hand held, I'm not using a tripod - tripods slow me down.
Do you have any advice for hand holding the camera at low shutter speeds?
Having said I don't use a tripod how do I get those shots down to 1/6 second hand held? Hold the camera firmly, elbows tight to my chest, take a breath, hold it, squeeze off several, say 3-4 shots at high speed drive mode, take a breath, hold it, then do it again. The secret here is that the subject needs to very still when I'm shooting at these slow shutter speeds. Look for "pause points" during the ceremony to get these shots. "Pause point would be pauses at the end of sentences while the bride and groom are exchanging vows.
The problem is if the subject is moving too much for the low shutter speeds motion blur you'll end up with a ton of motion blur. In that case, I'm working on an experimental "Tractor beam" that will freeze the subjects I picked up at "Star Trek" labs a few years ago ;~)
Hey gang, got to run. We have one more shoot today before we call it a wrap down here in Tampa. I'll see everybody tomorrow for Business Day Thursday; Great Storage, Cheap Price. See ya' then, -David