Shooting A Wedding (In Manual Mode)

Shooting A Wedding (In Manual Mode)

Welcome back to Weddit’s corner of the internet! Today’s article is all about shooting a wedding in the manual mode on your camera device. Our guide on using your camera’s manual mode is clean cut. We hope to show you through words how to step-up your photography game from automatic to manual shooting.

An Introduction to Manual Mode Shooting - So, you’re probably wondering what the bother is with shooting a wedding in manual mode aren’t you? Well, not only does shooting in manual mode enable you to produce sharp well-composed imagery, but you’ll also gain a stronger understanding of the inner workings of your camera (and how all those curious settings work in sync with each other). It’ll be priceless to you as a wedding photographer. So, if you want to learn how to up your game, switch to manual mode. Just keep on reading to find out how to go about it!

Why Should You Shoot in Manual Mode? - By shooting in the manual mode on your camera, you will have full control of your shutter speed, ISO and aperture, (among an array of other settings that can further fine-tune your images). What did we say? We told you that it would be priceless, didn’t we? Manually controlling the aperture, for example, can help you achieve those beautiful portraits with blurred bokeh backgrounds (which are of course admirable in wedding photography. It’s also highly useful for changing shutter speeds, enabling you to achieve amazing shots of those fast-moving subjects like the guests moving about at the wedding venue or partying away at the wedding reception in crystal clear motion without sacrificing the quality of the images.

You may often find yourself in a tricky lighting situation throughout the wedding venue chosen by your clients, where everything appears far too dark, too light, or very grainy. Unfortunately, automatic mode can’t always hack these extreme conditions and often activates your camera’s flash at the smallest hint of darkness (making some photos appear positively awful). This is where learning to shoot in Manual Mode can be a lifesaver!  

ISO (Manual Mode) - One of the most talked about settings on a camera is the ISO. The ISO is a numerical value on your camera that controls light sensitivity. Your camera’s ISO allows you to adjust its light-sensitivity and allows it to pick up even more light. Or on the flip side, to reduce your exposure on those bright sunny days for a well-balanced result.

We highly encourage experimenting with different lighting conditions to find your ideal ISO around the wedding venue. But be wary of making your ISO too high in dark conditions as this will increase the amount of noise in your final images. Of course, you’ve guessed it, but your clients won’t thank you for that!

Aperture (Manual Mode) - Another common term you may have come across is known as aperture. This is essentially an opening in the lens that affects your camera’s exposure. It is also responsible for controlling the depth of field. Generally, the lower the number (or f-stop), the larger the opening of the lens will be which will result in less depth of field (this is ideal for those blurry backgrounds). On the other hand, the higher your aperture the sharper the background will be (making it great for capturing all the tiny details in your scene). This is great for landscape shots!

Shutter Speed (Manual Mode) - Shutter speed is another key player that determines your image’s final outcome. It is essentially the exposure time of the camera’s inner shutter that stays open to allow light to enter and hit the sensor. Generally, if you’re after blurred shots that illustrate an object or person’s motion (for example a twirling bride at the after party) then a slow shutter speed will keep the shutter open for longer, allowing for a longer exposure time. A faster shutter speed, however, is perfect for a pristine action shot with no motion blurs.

White Balance (Manual Mode) - Another setting on your camera which also directly affects your images is your camera’s White Balance (WB). The process of setting your White Balance involves removing unrealistic colour casts and ultimately using a setting that produces more naturally toned images. This will work in your favour as far as your client’s wedding images are concerned.

It is especially useful in removing harsh yellow tones or redness on the skin. Alternatively, White Balance can be used in unconventional ways to refine your photographic style. For example, for edgier photos, the Tungsten White Balance pre-set can be used in an overcast setting to produce blue hues and enhance contrasts. With this in mind, it’s highly beneficial to experiment with the various White Balance modes to achieve your desired results.

Considerations When Shooting in Manual Mode - Keep in mind that when you’re ready to shoot in Manual Mode your settings will not adjust to your shooting conditions. You have to adjust them, manually. By keeping this in mind you’ll ensure your exposures are consistent throughout a shoot. The process of changing your settings may sound tedious at first, but it will actually ensure your images are consistent.

This is what shooting in an automatic mode lacks, as it calculates how much light is being measured through your camera’s light meter. As good as this might sound to you, you’ll probably find that as you adjust your shooting position, the subject moves, or the lighting condition changes to overcast – you’ll eventually have a set of very inconsistently exposed images.

Other Modes - As much as professional photographers love to shoot in manual mode, don’t forget about the other letters on your mode dial that are sparking your curiosity. In fact, we even recommend shooting in these semi-automatic modes as practice to help you understand exposure compensation.

Program mode (P) - Program mode is a great transition mode when stepping out of the auto-shooting world. It governs similar shooting to auto but allows you to adjust the exposure by controlling compensation through a dial. If any of your photos appear dark, then using this simple feature can increase the brightness.

Aperture priority - Aperture priority is another great transitional mode to shoot in that allows you control over the aperture as well as the ISO on your camera. It gives you control over your depth of field as well as the exposure compensation to control brightness. If you think you’ve mastered these settings then you’re ready to go full manual mode!

In addition to camera settings, we highly recommend the following tips that will further enhance your experience of migrating to manual shooting (such as the use of a tripod, golden hours, and the top photographic golden rules to keep in mind for capturing stunning imagery time and time again).

We hope you’ve found our guide to shooting in manual mode useful! Join us back here soon for future articles. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram @weddit.io for regular updates on what’s NEW! We’ll see you over there soon...

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To get started with our wedding photo editing service, you can create an account here. Photo + editing credit: All images in this blog post edited by the team here at Weddit and photographed by Lukas Griffin. 

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