I have a wedding to shoot in a few short months, so I’ve been asking friends if they’d let me shoot them to get some practice. Today I met up with John, Keira and Rebecca for a quick photo walk in the park. To be honest, after doing this shoot, I think I feel comfortable shooting outside now. I sort of always assumed my 70-200mm f/2.8L lens would be pretty useless in poor lighting or in a wedding environment, but when I used it today with my speedlight, it was actually pretty awesome. Every time I pull that lens out of my bag and put it on (which isn’t often enough I’ve decided), I’m completely blown away but just how sharp and pronounced the images are. Plus, the bokeh is absolutely amazing on most of the shots.
I’ve always sort of shot in P mode on my camera, which is basically an easy way to say “make this shot work.” It’s nearly identical to AUTO mode, except I get to control the ISO as well as the when the flash comes up (in AUTO it comes up on its own). However, I purposefully tried to shoot most of today in Av aperture priority mode), which lets me choose the aperture and the camera will choose the exposure time. The benefit of this is that I am in complete control of the sharpness of the image, and the depth of field. However, it is a bit trickier since it requires a subtle understanding, or “feeling”, about what each lens can do at each aperture. I sort of ball parked it knowing that f/5.6 on my f/2.8 lens is both sharp and allows for a decent depth of field for people. I bumped it forward and back from there, depending on the situation. Check out the background blur in some of the shots.
So, honestly, I feel quite a bit better now that I’ve gone out once. Although I don’t like pulling my flash out, I think I gained a new comfort level with flash photography today. I need to work on directing people though, but I still have time — all I need is more people.