Welcome to the forum!

As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

What settings to adjust for lighting

LoriclappLoriclapp Member
edited October 2013 in flash & lighting
I'm really sorry if my questions are sounding stupid. I feel like the "switch" is about to come on for me in regards to OCF, but I just have a few little things I'm trying to understand.

I just need to know what any of you would do in this scenario - or what I am missing. Say I'm shooting a wedding - I go to the alter and meter for ambient light. It's a dark church, and a very large wedding party. The highest ISO I want to use, is 2000 due to noise. (I know my camera (5D MKII) can go higher and not have a noise issue). This is just for an example. Due to the large wedding party, I need to shoot at F11. So if ambient meters at ISO 2000, F/11 at 1/30th for a shutter speed - obviously, I need to change something. This is where I get confused. I haven't added my flash yet - so do I have to adjust my settings, and then add flash? Or do I add flash and adjust the flash to get to the point where I can use the ISO and Fstop I want?

I think the easy way to ask my question, is when I am metering ambient light, what if there is not enough light to shoot in without a flash? Do I just start at ISO 2000, F/11, and add in flash until I get the SS where I need it to be? This doesn't sound very technical to me, it sounds more like I am guessing, or just winging it. I'm still not sure I've worded it correctly. I will know by your answers if I did or not.

Thanks for any help, and again, sorry if this is a stupid or confusing question.


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    In that case, you don't need to really consider the ambient light much, and can regard it as a studio-type shoot, and only consider the flash exposure. Of course, you would want to bring in some available light ... but that is a secondary consideration.

    You wouldn't want to do group photos at 2000 ISO
    and especially not when you're shooting f/11 (which would imply you have light to spare)

    Start here:
  • Thank you Neil. I will check out the link!!
  • Neil. Do you mean group shots specifically at 2000 ISO or any photos at 2000 ISO if there is light to spare? I'd stay away from f11 as well if I had light to spare. f8 should be plenty for group shots. If they are lined up even f5.6 would work but 8 is safe. @ f11 you start getting into diffraction.
  • I guess I went too far on my question - I was going with a high ISO and smaller aperture as an extreme example. And maybe the answer will be the same, that it needs to be regarded as a studio shoot. Say I am shooting at ISO 800, and I'm at F5.6 - and I'm getting a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second. And say I don't have a tripod. So I know I need a faster shutter speed. I think my question is how does the flash figure into this? Do I have to get my camera settings where I need them to be, and then add flash as either fill or main? Or do I go with my settings at ISO 400, f/5.6, ss 1/30, and add my flash in until I can get a faster ss? I'm not sure how to ask what I'm asking.

    I know I figure out ambient exposure before I do anything - if I can't get enough light to get the exposure I need (without adding flash), what is my next step?
  • edited October 2013
    IF shooting manual flash, you could go as high as max sync speed since shutter speed has no effect on manual flash. If shooting ETTL (not recommended for groups shots) it is basically the same since flash and camera "talk" to each other.

    You really need to figure out the ISO and f stop first in manual flash and use the shutter to let in or shut out the ambient light. Set the flash power and do not touch f stop or ISO unless you are OK with counting clicks. Went from f4 to 5.6 after having your flash set? Now you need to increase ISO by three clicks or your manual flash setting is no longer the same.

    "...if I can't get enough light to get the exposure I need (without adding flash), what is my next step?"

    Your next step is to add flash. You do need to make sure that you have a decent shutter speed so either open up a little or increase ISO.

    And I am certain Neil is referring to groups since I know he uses bounce at higher ISO's than 2000.

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Lori ... follow that link.
  • I did Neil - thank you.
Sign In or Register to comment.