When you are ready for more advanced Wedding photography, changing from the automatic settings on your camera to using manual photography basics can help you to achieve a larger degree of control over your photographs. There are several manual photography basics you can utilize to achieve more control.

Manual Photography Basics: Measure Light

Measuring light can be one of the first manual options you may wish to experiment with. Light with a strong degree of intensity can provide a faster image imprint than weaker intensity light. As a result, it is important to use a light meter so you will know how long the light should be exposed in order to capture the photo.

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Basically, there are two different kinds of light meters.

They are incident and reflective light meters. An incident light meter detects the amount of light that is reflected upon the meter. A reflective light meter detects the amount of light that is reflected off the subject. All electronic cameras today have built-in light meters; however, you can also use a hand held meter as well in order to achieve a higher degree of control and precision when using manual settings.

Manual Wedding Photography Basics: Using a Gray Card to Measure Light

In order for a light meter to assume the percentage of light that is reflected from the subject, it must be calibrated. For effective results you must be able to understand the measurement angle, how to isolate the subject you are measuring and the area where the reading is being taken. As one can imagine, this requires a lot of mental calculations. A gray card can help to reduce much of those calculations.

In order to use a gray card correctly to measure light, you will need to angle it toward the source of the light. Ideally, it should be angled both vertically and horizontally.

Manual Photography Basics: Exposure Controls: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

The ISO number is a rating of the cameras sensor (or films) sensitivity to light. You will commonly hear the term ‘stop’ referred to in photography. One ISO stop increase would refer to the sensitivity being doubled. Higher ISO settings can be used with advantages for low light situations; however, you will find they tend to produce more grain (film camera) or noise (digital camera) so you should be aware of this before using high ISO settings.

The shutter speed allows you control over the amount of time during which the shutter is open to allow light to pass through and reach the sensor or film.

Stops are also used in order to measure the speed of the shutter as well. A one stop increase in shutterspeed cuts the amount of time in half that the shutter remains open. This will consequently cut the amount of light that reaches the cameras sensor or film in half.

Aperture refers to the size of the opening of the lens. This setting will control the amount of light that passes through to the camera’s sensor. It can also determine the DOF. Like many other settings, aperture is also measured in terms of stops. In aperture settings, it is measured in terms of f-stops. Each stop increase will double the amount of light that is allowed to pass through.

Manual Photography Basics: Focus

There are several different situations in which you may wish to change to the manual focus on your camera rather than use the automatic focus setting. Using the manual focus tends to provide you with more control over the focusing. Wedding portraits are one situation in which manual focus is ideal. Using manual focus helps to ensure the eyes of the subject are in perfect focus.

Using manual focus when shooting through mesh or glass can also be advantageous. This is because the mesh or glass tends to confuse the camera regarding where to focus when the automatic focus is employed. With manual focusing you can avoid this problem.

Automatic focus is great in fast moving action photography but the cameras auto-focus is sometimes not fast enough. In this case you can preset the focus on the right distance manually and wait for the right opportunity.

The auto-focus on many cameras don’t work well in low light conditions so you may need to set your camera to manual focus.

Wedding Photography - How to Market Yourself Successfully As a Wedding Photographer

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Gone are the days when it took hours to produce photographs and the subject had to sit completely still. By the early 1880s a new gelatin dry plate was invented and the shutter was a welcome new addition to the camera. Now the need to carry around a portable darkroom and other essential equipment was gone.

These new dry plates were much more sensitive to light which meant that taking pictures took only a fraction of a second. Not only that there was now no need to cover and uncover the lens in order to get an exposure. The shutter button was responsible for 'letting the light in' and the exposure time was dependent on how much light is let in.

Smile Please

This had a revolutionary effect on photography because people could now relax and smile. Remember those old family photographs where no one seemed to smile? It wasn't because they were extremely unhappy or miserable. No, it was because they had to pose like a statue for up to thirty seconds in order to get a decent exposure. Any movement at all would result in a blurry photograph.

Point and Shoot Camera

The first 'point and shoot' camera was invented by George Eastman in 1888. Photography was now no longer just a past time just for the rich. The Kodak camera came already loaded with film with the ability to take up to one hundred photographs. Although it had a fixed focus and shutter speed this new portable camera was responsible for making photography popular to this day.

The First 35mm Camera

Many years later in 1925 the first 35mm still camera was produced by a German company called Leica. These new cameras were lightweight and much smaller in size. Not only that they had a high-definition lens and were the first to have a basic manual focus system. This essentially had a major effect on the way photographers were able to travel and capture life as it happened.

Photography For All

Kodak took this a step further by producing a much cheaper version in the 1930s. Photography had now become accessible to the ordinary working class man and woman. From those early days of discovery and invention we now have access to an abundance of cameras, in various forms.

Photography Equipment for Beginners and Pros

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When talking with people about photography, I find that some people do not think of photography as art. Their reaction is, "Anyone can take a picture" or " I can do that myself. " While it is true that anyone can take a quick picture, there is great difference in just taking a picture and creating an image that can be viewed as art.

When creating an image, a photographer puts just as much time and imagination into setting up the image and making sure that everything is pleasing to the eye as does any other artist. Only the tools used are different. While a painter uses brush, paint, and canvas to create their art, the photographer uses camera, film or media card, and available light to create art.

Light is what is used to create or paint the image onto the film or media card. Without light there is no image. How the light falls, the shadows it creates, and the depth of color produced help set the mood and the emotion the photographer is trying to evoke. Even though there are many ways you can manipulate an image, if the light is not right something will be missing, some spark that draws the eye and touches the emotions.

Light has a different quality depending on the time of day, the season, the area of the world or a combination of all three. Early morning light can be soft and luminous or it can be gray and misty. While the late morning and early afternoon light tends to be harsh and sometimes too bright. Late afternoon and early evening light are softer. This light highlights shape and shadow in a pleasing manner. This light can also be brooding and dark. Depending on the mood desired, a photographer can take an image of an area at different times of day or year and set a different mood. Sometimes the viewer cannot even tell they are viewing the same area.

When looking at a photographer's work, remember that it is more than just a picture. It has taken a lot of time, effort, thought and emotion to use the light to paint the image you see. It is what they see in their mind's eye. Their image of the world.