Settings to use for an indoor wedding

What is your question

Questions from my students and blog readers asking: what to do, and what to buy, populate my InBox. With all that great material, I’ve decided to feature some of those questions in my posts. Please feel free to add your two cents worth in the comments as well, as there is a huge range of experience out there to share.

Your Question

I’m doing a wedding for a friend and she wants me to take photos. I was wondering if there was a setting I can have for the camera to be ready for any shot at anytime. Just for the indoor shots. Submitted by: Joanna C.


First a few questions for you:

  1. Are you using flash?
  2. Or, available light?
  3. What lens focal length do you think you’ll be using?

If it was me and I wasn’t using a flash, I’d set my camera on Shutter priority, and set the shutter speed on the slowest possible (i.e. 1/focal length). So for 70mm lens 1/60 second is your slowest.  If you have image stabilization on the lens you could even go slower. Keep an eye out for unwanted blur though! Maybe a bit faster when the couple is walking down the isle, but I’m one that doesn’t mind a bit of movement showing, so it depends on your style.

I’d then figure out my best ISO, so maybe 400 or 800 depending on the amount of light in the room or church. Some churches are really dark. Hopefully your location has lots of soft evenly filtered light streaming in!

You want to be able to get your aperture to f/4.0 to get reasonable depth of field. Keep in mind that the higher the ISO the more noise, and noise shows up the most in the shadows. With a wedding, too much noise can also make skin look a bit mottled, so be careful.

In this situation though, it would be best to have a fast lens.

Dimly lit church wedding

Do some tests. Try to get to the venue early (few days before at the same time of day) and take some shots, view your results and base your final answer on that too, keeping in mind that the light may change if the weather changes.

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