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AF Mode for Processional and general wedding photography.

JonLloydJonLloyd Member
edited February 2014 in wedding photography
I have my fist wedding shoot in May this year. It's a big deal but I'm up to it and thanks largely go to Neil, this resource and the people who populate it - I thanks you all up front!

So this wedding will be a relatively simple affair (within reason). The bride does not want the "getting dressed" shots and the groom is non-plussed about the whole thing. But there will be the usual car arrival, processional, service and "second processional" (thanks for clarifying that Neil), formal portraits on location and of course the Reception. Never the less it will be a busy day and I have been entrusted with creating their (her?) keepsakes.

So my research has stepped up a notch, and so are the queries in my head, one of which popped up tonight - and this is Canon speak, and that is:

On the second processional when the couple are walking up the aisle - should I still shoot in single point AF mode, expanded, multipoint etc due to movement?

It's more of a "what would you do" question.

To set the scene I would most likely be shooting with the following approximate settings on my 5D Mk III :

either the 70-200 f2.8 at 3200 ISO @ 1/60th and wide open f2.8. 600 EX On camera bounce flash, 1/2 CTO gel ETTL. I may have the 24-105mm lens at f4.0 by then. I have a second camera - a 7D which will have a 11-16mm at f2.8 also with a 600EX set to ETTL (yes - two BFT's!!)

More of a discussion point to share thoughts


  • The post just prior to this tagged Wedding Photography answered my query! Ho hum!
  • Hi jon. I dont know if you have neils , On camera Flash , but i would sincerely recomend this and read every day untill the wedding.
    It would be bang on for what your doing. Goood luck for the day
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited February 2014
    I'd be a little concerned about 1/60 but that is just me. It all depends on how steady you are. Does your 70-200 have IS? The flash can freeze the subjects if they are close enough. After a certain distance the light falls off and ambient becomes more dominant so you'd get some blur in the background. Bouncing will freeze very little of anything. The 5D3 is capable of getting workable shots at 12,800 but it can be a bit unsettling. Check out shots at 6,400 with the 5D2.


    I don't trust multipoint and usually just go with single point. Expanded is OK as well. I set up my 5D3 and 7D so I can move my focus point around using the multi controller. I trust the outer points on my 7D and Canon improved the 5D3 AF focus. For the 5D I have the selectable AF point set to "Only cross - type AF points"

    When people are moving I am on AI Servo. Static shots I switch back to single shot. Some people like to keep it on AI Servo all the time but I find it tires me out trying to see through the viewfinder if the subject is in focus. I prefer the AF confirmation light. You can use the DOF button (or assigned button) to move back forth but you have to keep holding it and I find that awkward. I just use the Q button and switch back and forth. I still wish to this day Canon would allow us to press and release a button and it switches to single or servo.

    Use the silent shooting mode with the 5D3. It is sweet.

    I owned the 24-105 for many years. It is capable of producing nice images but a bit slow and does not sharpen up until 5.6 so you lose some Bokeh. I did not like it at 24mm for group shots. Too much distortion and CA. People on the outsides never looked right even after lens correction. I sold it for the new 24 to 70 II but miss it as a walk around.

    The 11-16 must be the Tokina which I owned as well at one time. I liked that lens. Nice optics and good for group shots and some wide angle church shots. People use it on a FF. Leave a little room to crop out possible vignetting. Test it out first.
  • Oh yes. I use the Q screen to adjust FEC. Nice feature because each time you press it it comes back to what you were adjusting the last time. You probably already know this. If you adjust FEC on the flash itself it overrides the camera controls. It has to be at zero to be able to adjust via the Q screen.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    And just so we have the reference article here for newcomers to this thread:

  • Zenon - thanks for the comprehensive answer! Yes the 70-200 is the IS version. I've tested at 1/60th and seems fine but the light was good enough - in May it could be overcast!

    I doubt I will push 12,800 - I will max out at 6400 ISO - light permitting of course. Pretty sure I'm set to cross type only - but good call on the AI servo but I know what you mean - I was doing some shots at a high jump exhibition on Saturday and the AI was bugging not getting the beep or the light. I ended up pre-focussing.

    Have a look: http://jlphotocreative.com/project/high-jump-exhibition/

    A mix of 70-200, 24-105 and yes the Tokina 11-16mm which is exclusive to the 7D. Priced up a 24-70 IS II hmmmmm soon.
  • JonLloyd,
    I was wondering how the 5D mark iii compared to the 7D in acquiring focus at this event. Perhaps it was the focal length but I preferred the look of those shots you took with the 5d iii over the 7D.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2014
    AI Servo does not beep or light up. You have to watch through the viewfinder and when it locks focus you can shoot. Have you heard about the back focus button? You can program both cameras so when you press the * button it will meter and track focus. You can then just press the shutter button when you are ready. Many people like it but I just use the shutter. I press half way, track and press all the way. After the exposure I make sure the shutter button is still
    pressed half way to keep tacking. Some people feel using the * button easier for this. It is in the Custom Controls menu on the 5D and it is the AF-ON button - Metering and AF Start. I'll find the 7D later. Busy for a bit.

    By the way. If you are on AI Servo the AF assist beam is disabled. It only works on one shot. Many people like to leave the camera on AI Servo all the time but I find tracking all night tiring so I use one shot most of the time for the AF confirmation and switch to AI servo for people moving towards or away from me.

    Those where nice shots. What was the shutter speed? Did you go for the slight motion blur in the hands and feet in some of the shots? I like the look as it shows movement.

    Savaphotos. How did you know which camera was for which photo?
  • The exif data from the posted images.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    Right. I should have thought of that. I used to have some type of reader I can only read images on my computer.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2014
    The AF Metering assignable buttons are in the same on the 7D. The custom controls menu. Been a while since I was in that section.
  • It's interesting to see what settings were used and their affect on the final photo. Like how the change in shutter speed and aperture affected the amount of motion blur you mentioned. On this site, Neil posts the settings as well as the thought process and provides a pull back shot which really helps to show he achieved the desired result.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2014
    What do you use to view online photos?
  • ZenonZenon Member
    Here I was maxed out. I was using my 300L f4 IS. I was @ f4 and 12,000 and could only get 1/500 at the best of times and could not avoid the little blur in the feet and hands. I like the effects from the jump exhibition but I would have preferred to freeze this.

  • The images from the 7D are all the wide angle (11mm on the lens on the 7D). The lens always gives much richer blues - almost too much, than the 24-105 on the 5D III. But I agree the shots on the 5D are better. I love the wide angle effect though. Can't wait for a 24-70mm ... ho hum.

    In relation to the original question - You noted a good point that I was not fully aware of in terms of how the AI Servo tracks focus. Although I tracked the approach visually thro the VF, I was not half pressing the shutter button. I will try this. I have constant frustration with sharpness (i.e. lack of) for my mountain bike shots and resort to manual focus lot of the time. I will also investigate the back focus option.

    So for processional and second processional at weddings I may try AI Servo until stationary and then flick back to single shot for the portrait (non-moving) stuff.

    But this whole thing around sharp focus on action is frustrating me. There's a bit of USM in post on most of those High Jump shots. I did speak with a pro mountain bike photographer (www.sebrogers.com) and he told me he shoots MF almost exclusively.

    Great feedback though guys - much appreciated, it's all a little bit of learning each time.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2014
    That will make a huge difference and your keeper rate will go up. When I'm shooting planes or birds in flight I half press and wait till it locks. It takes a bit of practise to view what the focus is locking on. I use high speed continuos shooting and rattle off a bunch of shots. When done I lift the shutter button enough to continue focus lock. It takes a bit of practise. That is why people like to use the rear focus button option. You just keep it pressed until focus locks and fire away. I could never get uses to it but try both options. You never know what will work for you.

    Here is a suggestion for shooting with your 7D when you are in AI Servo

    CF III.1 - AI Servo Sensitivity - set to 1 up from slow.

    CF III.2 - AI Servo 1st/2nd img prio - set to 0 AF/Tracking

    CF III.3 - AI Servo AF Tracking method - set to 1 Continuous Track priority

    CF III.4 - Lens Drive when AF impossible - Focus search off

    I don't shoot sports or birding with my 5D3 so I just have it set to Case 1 most of the time or Case 2 if there are a lot of obstacles are around. Located in the first purple square in the AF screens - in the menus.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2014
    Oh yeah. High speed continuos shooting is not good for a wedding. Flash can't keep up if you are using one.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited March 2014
    Ducks are some of the fastest larger birds out there. They are a real challenge. With my 7D.


    Even coming in for a landing they are fast.

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