• The most important pictures of someone’s life

    This month’s post is a more personal one than usual, and is about why I enjoy wedding photography – I’ll be back to writing about the latest tech next month. Until then, I hope you enjoy the change of pace.

    I have the privilege of being an occasional wedding photographer. I often feel honoured that I get to witness someone have never met before having possibly the most emotional moment of their life.

    It is my job to capture it in a way that they can look back on for many years to come. My pictures will (hopefully) make them smile for the rest of their days. I realise that it’s more the event itself than my pictures, but my pictures still become the lens through which the event is remembered. The sands of time will eventually bury any memory not preserved through media, so the couple’s memory of the event eventually becomes my experience of it. Which is why it’s so important for me to document as much of their big day as possible. read more

  • Using Image Stabilisation

    Image stabilisation, in still photography, refers to a lens or camera’s ability to limit the effect that camera movement has while taking a picture. Unless on a tripod, if an exposure takes a long time (anything from 1/100th of a second to longer than a second), then your hands will move the camera while it is taking the picture. Hey presto – unwanted camera shake!

    Canon usually refers to the technology as Image Stabilisation, whereas Nikon usually refers to it as Vibration Reduction (but I prefer the acronym VR to be used for Virtual Reality). Canon and Nikon (as well as other camera manufacturers) have lenses that stabilise an image by moving a group of lens elements (this is optical image stabilisation – it can also be done by moving the image sensor, which some smaller cameras and phones do). Digital Image Stabilisation is mainly used to stabilise video, and is not really sited to still image capture. I shall refer to all shake-reduction technology as IS.

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  • High ISO Shooting

    You often want to capture the best images you can with the light you have available. Most of the time a tripod isn’t practical, and even when it is, a long exposure can be undesirable. When there isn’t much light, setting a high ISO allows for fast shutter speeds in low light, but with increased image noise and less detail in the highlights and shadows. Remember the golden rule for eliminating camera shake:

    Shutter speed must equal double lens focal length (mm) as a fraction of a second
    This means that with a 50mm lens, you’ll need a shutter speed of 1/100sec or faster. Image stabilising lenses help things a lot, but just remember this rule and you’ll be fine.


    Why not simply use a high ISO all the time?

    If a fast shutter speed eliminates camera shake, and a high ISO allows for a fast shutter speed, why not simply always shoot at a high ISO? Well, there are two main reasons, the most visible of which is loss of detail. When working out how much perceived detail is lost at high ISOs, I find it helpful to think of my usable image size halving each stop from 3200 upwards, at least when shooting jpegs. A bit more detail can be recovered from RAW files. read more

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