Reflections : A Wedding Review


There are plenty of things I do as a photographer that I simply do without thinking, almost as if a portion of my mind is consumed with photographic technicalities. Sometimes JD jokes that I become a machine on a wedding day and he’s learned not to stand in my way or me and my camera may RUN HIM OVER. I move fast, shoot faster, and try to stay out of the way as much as possible. After I posted Marie and Charlie’s Pennsylvania wedding, I received a few technical questions from fellow photographers, so I thought I’d answer them in a Reflections post for the benefit for anyone who may be interested.

How did clients in another state find your work and hire you for their east coast wedding?
My clients find my work in a myriad of ways, but Marie discovered me via a wedding blog while she scoured the web for wedding ideas. She visited my website and blog (reading for a bit before she decided to contact me) and after a few emails, we scheduled a time to chat. The minute we spoke, we knew we were a perfect match. She’s the peas to my carrots. A week later, I received a signed contract.

The church was dark, what lens did you use and what were your settings?
Before the ceremony started, I asked the priest what the photographic restrictions were for the church during the ceremony. With the exception of the procession and recession, flash was not allowed. Now, if you were to see how dark this church was, you might have felt the knots in my stomach multiply. Exponentially. The bride and groom were slightly removed from guests as they stood/sat on the church stage. Because of the distance, I used the 70-200IS 2.8 for most of the ceremony. I fluctuated slightly depending on my location, but the setting for the following pictures is: f/2.8 2500 ISO 1/40.

What did you tell Marie in order to find the train tracks?
Because she knew I was unfamiliar with the area we were shooting for her wedding, I simply asked her to find a location that might work somewhere between the church and the reception location. She’s a blog reader, so I knew she was familiar with good location scouting! I try to schedule 30 minutes for the First Look and an additional 10-15 minutes after the ceremony for sunset pictures if the bride and groom are up for it. Because the church and the reception location were 30 minutes from each other, Marie scouted the area in the weeks leading to her wedding…and I trusted her judgment. I think she did better than I could have (and, yes, I tried).
Photo by JD

What were your settings for the purple flower picture? What lens did you use?
I used the 85mm, 1.2 lens. The settings were: f/1.2 160 ISO 1/800

How did you set up your flash for the reception pictures?
I primarily used my on-camera flash pointed toward the low-ceiling (which was white) and also used my bounce card. Here’s an example…
Lens: Canon 35mm, 1.4.
f/2.8 640 ISO 1/40

As the room darkened, I used a mix of on-camera and off-camera flash. Here’s a couple examples…
Without off-camera flash
Lens: 24mm, 1.4
f/2.8 640 ISO 1/40

In this photo, I triggered the off-camera flash (as seen behind Charlie’s head) to add a little more dimension to the room and lighten a darker portion of the dancefloor.
Lens: 24mm, 1.4
f/2.8 640 ISO 1/40

I hope this helps a little bit…if not, I’ll try again next time!

Happy Tuesday!

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  1. sherri lynn

    May 17th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for answering all the questions! I loved the shots of this wedding!

  2. jack

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks Jasmine – it’s always really useful to know some of the technicalities behind the shots! I know what you mean about a knotted stomach when you are faced with a dark church!

  3. Penny Wolfe

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks Jasmine! Lots of good stuff here!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. priscillia {shoot In Love}

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Thank you Jasmine* !!!

  5. Nichole Frank

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Perhaps I’m just a Shaky Sue but if I shot at 1/40 I would be all over the place. What do you do to control camera shake? I actually have to hold my breath to reduce it if shooting slower than 1/100.

  6. Natalie Tuggle

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you so much! I cannot tell you how timely this is!! I’m doing my first wedding in a couple of Saturdays ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Megan

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks so much Jasmine! This is extremely informative and helpful! I am always so scared to shoot at 1/40 because I’m scared of camera shake, but you have inspired me to try.

  8. marinda fowler

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing your settings, Jasmine!

  9. carrie

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    so, I noticed that you are still at ISO 640 or so with the flash. Does that mean you’re still metering for the ambient light and using the flash as fill. I tried this technique at an event recently and hated it. I think the ceilings were too high.

  10. Life with Kaishon

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks for all of this information.

  11. Abby Grace Photography

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing your settings! I shudder to think what my D300s would look like at ISO 2500… which is precisely why I’m hoping to switch to Canon.

    I love this wedding!

  12. Bombchell

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    if i read iso2500 correctly then your camera must be a beast. If i tried such my picture might look like a sandstorm, or maybe not.

  13. Chantel

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    1/40th of a second!!! You’re a rock star (but you already knew that). Yay for camera bodies you can push to high ISOs without losing quality. Beautiful work, as always. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Dee

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks for this really informative post! Can I ask, do you set your on camera flash to manual or TTL? If manual, do you have a go to setting for the on camera flash?

  15. Jenelle Sewell

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks for the helpful tips. =) Beautiful couple.

  16. Melissa

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This could not have come at a more perfect time! Thank you, Jasmine for being so generous with your knowledge and taking the time (i know, lots of time) to share your techniques.

  17. Paul Howard

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    That helps a LOT Jasmine, thanks! I have my first wedding shoot in July, I’m scared to death, and you just make it look waaaaaay too easy. I wish!

  18. Danielle

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Great info!

  19. Mariann Bruderer

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    How do you manage to shoot with a 70-200 IS without flash f.2.8 @1/40- without any shake or movement?? Please share some tips, thx .

  20. Elizabeth C.

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Gorgeous! Frankly, I think it would be awesome if you did this for every post. I know it’s a lot to ask, but it is so helpful to know what another photographer uses/does in certain settings. I’m not even doing weddings, and I found this very helpful. It made me feel a bit better seeing you shoot at 1/40 since you HAD to due to lighting. Were you leaning up against something?

  21. Laura Murray

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for the post! I love the reflections posts!!

    A quick follow up question, I saw your shutter speed with the 70-200 lens was 1/40 during the ceremony. Since that’s a pretty long shutter speed for that lens, how did you avoid blur? I normally keep my shutter speed 1/70 to 1/200 if I am using the 70-200 lens. Thanks so much!!!!

  22. Lindsey Adams

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I loved this post – very helpful and insightful! I’ve got a pretty big wedding in a less than 2 weeks and love getting little tidbits like this before hand!!

  23. Miz Booshay

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Jasmine. Difficult lighting situations and you did so well!
    Dang. You have a steady hand.
    I really start a wiggling under 1/50.
    What a beautiful couple!

  24. Andrea

    May 17th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! As someone that is just starting out and going from hobby to pro (I used the term loosely here), I appreciate every post about how you work your magic girl. Thanks again!

  25. Crystal Skrupski

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    This is very helpful!! Though I’m not sure I could [personally] get a sharp image at 1/40 with out flash or tripod. You must be a statue at times!!

  26. Allison

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    It’s always so nice to hear how other photogs do their thing. Thanks so much for the post! xoxoa

  27. Lida Mathews

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Jasmine – you help tremendously – I hope one day I’ll be amazing like you!!

  28. Crystal Lee

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing the camera setting information, I love being able to look at a photo and know those details, I’d love to see more of that in the future.

  29. Megan Floyd

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I LOVE WISTERIA!! So pretty. I love that you’re sharing your settings, and I hope it encourages people to try different combinations of settings for themselves. For me that’s a lot of the fun of photography, and it’s definitely helped me as I’m working to find MY STYLE. Love you!!

  30. Robert

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks, a cave for a church! Shows how resourceful you need to be on location and that not every wedding takes place in a place worthy of a movie location. However, when the final photographs are viewed it looks great.

  31. Michael Young

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  32. Jasmine*

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Hi friends! For those who asked, no I’m not afraid of shooting at 1/40 shutter speed…given the situation, one learns to develop a quick sense of make-it-workedness. Yes, I just made up that word. A couple things I do I always make sure I’m standing with both feet firmly planted, hold my breath, and lock my hands around the camera. Also, for those who asked, I don’t always shoot at 640 ISO with flash…this changes depending on the environment. Hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Gus

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Jasmine, Iยดve a question, in the firts photos, at the church, do you say that it was very dark and do you use 2500 ISO, my question is, the ceremony was on day or at the night? The photos are very clear! Congrats!

  34. Molly W.

    May 17th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I’m not a wedding photographer, but I’m a photographer who occassionally shoots a wedding. I have a wedding next weekend and this helped me!! THANK YOU!

  35. Joanne Thomas

    May 17th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks! I have shot in dark and less that great churches–one underconstruction–yes–. It is hard and I have two more and I think one could get dark–just outside without lights–it is so good to hear and reaffirm that what I am doing is right–or at least–the same as someone else. Great post and I love the trainyard images.

  36. Rachel Peters Photography

    May 17th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I was just going to ask about the 1/40th!! you must have super steady hands! great shots and thanks for sharing your information with us!

  37. Angela

    May 17th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your massive amount of knowledge and talent!

  38. Dave Love

    May 17th, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Abby, no need to switch to Canon just for high ISO shooting, just upgrade your body to the D700. I shoot at 2500 regularly and it has no problems, especially when combined with decent glass.
    Hats off to Jasmine though for getting usuable images at 1/40th on a 200mm lens. 1/60th is as much as I can get away with without a monopod.

  39. Catherine

    May 17th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Your information on flash was so helpful. As a natural light photographer, I really struggle with flash when I pull it out for weddings.
    Thank you!

  40. Tye

    May 17th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I’m amazed by how sharp the ceremony images are – especially at 1/40. Thanks for sharing this info Jasmine; this is a huge help to people like me who are still trying to get comfortable with technical stuff!

  41. Bill Raab

    May 17th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I don’t have IS on my 70-200 so trying to pull off 1 1/40 would be tough with even my steady hands. I am so appreciative of your sharing Jasmine. I don’t think you realize the impact you are having on wedding photogs. You are so down to earth and that really comes through. Thanks Jasmine

  42. lynda

    May 17th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    good lord you rock. you really rock. i hope to meet you someday. ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for this SO MUCH! it’s so helpful!

  43. Celeste Magnusson

    May 17th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks for the info Jasmine, as always!! Question (if you have time to answer it) about ISO. Does shooting at 2500 make you worried about grain? Or do you use a noise reduction filter after?

  44. Amy Arrington

    May 17th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Wonderful post! thank you for sharing!

  45. clarivel.ann

    May 17th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Definitely helpful!! I’ve tried getting used to shooting at 1/40 shutter speed (or even lower, if necessary) in the past, and I’ve always wondered if that was OK, or if there was a better way to do it that I just didn’t know about. Reading that you use the same tactic is comforting.

    As always, thank you for being generous with what you know! ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Jackie Lamas

    May 17th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    great post! thanks for sharing all of this info!

  47. Jorge

    May 17th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Wonderful post, Great info! Thanks!

  48. Maxine

    May 17th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for the helpful tips Jasmine! I love your blog for your personality, your inspiring photos, and your super-helpful tips for growing wedding photogs like me. My goal is to shoot 1/40s with no shake ;o)

  49. Hannes Uys

    May 17th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing those setting J*

  50. Emma Godfrey

    May 17th, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Great post – really helpful and informative, thank you!

  51. Karin

    May 17th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Jasmin, great pictures as always!!! And thank you so much for your great help! It is amazing to see that you are so open to give all you have to the rest of us.

  52. Sri Lanka Bound

    May 17th, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Eat your heart out JD! I’m the pees! That go so perfectly with carrots ๐Ÿ™‚ you can be the lima beans. On Tuesdays.

  53. Lynn

    May 17th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you so much for this post, so informative!

  54. MartaV

    May 17th, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Great info as always! I cannot believe you can shoot that sharp at 1/40. I am working on it but I can’t seem to go below 1/125 without shake. Mad props to your skills.

  55. Lisa Cour

    May 18th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    My 5 year old daughter was looking over my shoulder. She said, Oh, what a pretty bride! I said, Do you like her dress? She said, Yes, but just her, too. And she has a really pretty laugh.

    Beautiful Jasmine!

  56. Kate

    May 18th, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Thanks Jasmine…your work and tips encourage me to keep on goin!

  57. WeddingSnapper

    May 18th, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Nice work Jasmine. As per usual…

    The sign of a confident and successful pro – someone who doesn’t mind sharing their technical info – my hat off to you!

  58. Erin

    May 18th, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Hi Jasmine, love your informative posts as always! Question: Do you often use f2.8/1.4 in most of your shots? When using this aperture for wider shots generally how far away are you from the subject? I seem to often have sharpness issues with more than 1 subject when shooting with large apertures, but your shots look perfect!

  59. Feuza

    May 18th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    wow 1/40 shutter speed, and picture is not shaky, now that is a steady hand, been trying not to go below 100 due to shaky shots, any tips on that?

  60. SHANNA

    May 18th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I wish I could go back and get married all over again, to the same guy of course… you could photograph my wedding and I could wear a dress just like the one in this post……..LOVE IT!

  61. Rob Loud

    May 18th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Great post. Can totally relate to that first paragraph. I also shoot with my significant other. She’s a great second shooter but most importantly keeps me calm!!

  62. LaVon

    May 18th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I cant imagine how much time this takes you to write, research, and post! Thanks so much for this AWESOME info! I can’t tell you how invaluable it is to get ‘inside your head’; not just the metadata but your thoughts as u shoot…THANKS JASMINE!!!

  63. Bobbie Brown

    May 18th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    This post helped me! thanks millions!!!!!

  64. Jessica Sweeney

    May 19th, 2011 at 4:31 am

    I love your reflections posts. I feel like I learn so much from them.

  65. kelsey {las vegas wedding photographer}

    May 19th, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    love their wedding style and thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!

  66. Carolyn Clement

    May 21st, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    I always love reading these posts! Thanks for putting the time into writing them for us all to enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  67. Diego Molina Photography

    June 27th, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing so much and for be a great inspirations.

  68. Adita

    July 31st, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Jasmine. I refer back to this post often to drill it in my head lol now the question I have is with the 70-200 how do you determine which IS mode to use in what situation? I’m hoping it’s as easy as seeing that as a room gets darker switch to mode 2? Thanks!