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Shooting a Wedding with a Crop Sensor D-SLR Camera

Updated on December 31, 2012

Weddings are highly emotional, sentimental and family oriented events that need careful attention to with regard to photography. At times a couple may ask a friend or relative to be gracious and carry along their ‘big camera’ and take some photos for them. Maybe because they want to cut costs, and believe in the ability of the person they ask to deliver the quality that they need.

If you are going to cover a wedding from start to finish with a crop sensor D-SLR, there are certain things that you definitely need to consider and set in place.

First of all, a crop sensor camera has a particular magnification factor of 1.4 - 1.6 depending on the brand camera. The effective focal length of lenses will be a product of the actual focal length(s) of the lens (as written on the lens) and the crop factor of the D-SLR.

Weddings require a number of tight shots, and you’ve got to be moving around typically in small spaces to get very important shots. There isn’t much allowance for mistakes, so you’ve got to have the right lenses for the job to avoid frustration on your part and disappointment on the couples’ part.

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Lenses Recommended for Crop Sensor Cameras for Wedding Coverage

  1. Standard Zoom Lens /w focal range between 15 and 85 mm.
  2. Telephoto Zoom Lens /w focal range between 70 and 300 mm
  3. Prime Lens (including Macro Primes
  4. Wide Angle Zoom Lens
  5. Wide Angle Prime Lens
  6. Fish Eye Lens

You don’t necessarily need to have all these lenses, but the most essential out of the list is the standard zoom lens and the telephoto zoom lens. Two lenses may be all you need! But if you’re going in for the macro details, you may need to carry along with you a prime (macro) lens to get tight close-up portraits and shots of rings,makeup and the likes of such.

Aperture can be a major deal with wedding photos, but sharpness and contrast is probably just as important. If you’re a hobbyist and not too particular about getting professional grade glass, you could either borrow or rent the kind of pro-lens for that special day. A constant aperture throughout all focal lengths of a zoom lens is highly recommended for high quality shots. The depth of field along with sharpness is usually brilliant with such lenses. A maximum of f-stop of 2.8 on zoom lenses is great for wedding shoots.

Along with your lenses, you may want to carry along the associated filters and lens hoods.

A single speedlight or flashgun is also important as well. Learn bounce flash techniques to properly fill in faces. Add a diffuser to that too in order to make the emitted light softer and more flattering on your subjects.

Carrying along a tripod is a good idea, but it’s not necessarily mandatory. In cases where the lighting is uncertain such as sunset weddings, you may need a tripod to avoid camera shake. Along with this, it’s good to learn how to set exposure for the background independently from the exposure of your subjects’ faces.

Crop sensor cameras, even though they do relatively well in low light, don’t perform as well as full frame cameras. You can work with the ISO settings but it may be wise not to go beyond 1600 - 3200, although that depends on the noise reduction capabilities on your specific model camera.

After you have all your equipment ready, it’s good to test them all out in various lighting situations -- natural light, ambient light and in the full fledged dark even. Get properly acquainted with all of your stuff, and consider doing a casual shoot with the engaged couple.


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