Home » church photographer

Tag: church photographer

Lenses To Consider for Photography or Videography Part 1

 

camera-158471_960_720Once you start on the journey of church photography and service or testimony videography, you immediately are faced with the problem of choosing the right lens or lenses for your camera. Now, I shoot with Canon cameras so I choose their lenses. But whatever you shoot with there will be a similar lens to choose from. First lets cover the basics. There are two types of lenses. Zoom lens, and prime lens.

lens 2

A zoom lens has the capability to maneuver from one distance to another. There are numerous amounts of zoom lens’s to choose from. There are so very many different ranges it can be maddening to know what you should choose. Just look at B&H list of zoom focal lengths:

  • 7-14mm
  • 8-15mm
  • 8-16mm
  • 9-18mm
  • 10-17mm
  • 10-18mm
  • 10-20mm
  • 10-22mm
  • 10-24mm
  • 11-16mm
  • 11-18mm (1)
  • 11-20mm
  • 11-22mm
  • 11-24mm
  • 12-24mm
  • 12-28mm (2)
  • 12-60mm
  • 14-20mm
  • 14-24mm
  • 14-35mm
  • 14-42mm
  • 14-54mm
  • 15-30mm (1)
  • 15-85mm (1)
  • 16-28mm (2)
  • 16-35mm (3)
  • 16-50mm (2)
  • 16-80mm (2)
  • 16-85mm (2)
  • 16-105mm (1)
  • 16-300mm (3)
  • 17-35mm (3)
  • 17-40mm (1)
  • 17-50mm (11)
  • 17-55mm (2)
  • 17-70mm (5)
  • 17-85mm (2)
  • 18-35mm (6)
  • 18-50mm (1)
  • 18-55mm (8)
  • 18-105mm (1)
  • 18-135mm (5)
  • 18-140mm (1)
  • 18-180mm
  • 18-200mm (14)
  • 18-250mm (6)
  • 18-270mm (4)
  • 18-300mm (7)
  • 20-40mm (2)
  • 24-35mm (3)
  • 24-70mm (15)
  • 24-85mm (2)
  • 24-105mm (6)
  • 24-120mm (1)
  • 28-70mm (1)
  • 28-75mm (5)
  • 28-105mm (2)
  • 28-135mm (1)
  • 28-200mm (1)
  • 28-210mm (1)
  • 28-300mm (7)
  • 35-100mm
  • 40-150mm
  • 50-100mm
  • 50-135mm
  • 50-200mm
  • 50-500mm
  • 55-200mm
  • 55-250mm
  • 55-300mm
  • 60-250mm
  • 70-200mm
  • 70-300mm
  • 70-400mm
  • 75-300mm
  • 80-200mm
  • 80-400mm
  • 90-250mm
  • 100-400mm
  • 100-500mm
  • 120-300mm
  • 150-450mm
  • 150-600mm
  • 200-400mm
  • 200-500mm
  • 300-800mm
  • 650-1300mm

I think you get the point. On with it then; what to choose. Let’s start with lenses for photography. In part 2 we will discuss lenses for videography, but you can use these zoom lenses for videography as well.  First on the list of considerations for your new lenses is  your budget.  Here is my list of affordable but quality zoom lenses. All prices are based upon B&H Photo and Video.

  1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens. $849

  2. Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. $599

  3. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens. $649

  4. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens. $699

  5. Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens. $299

Again if you don’t shoot Canon there are similar Nikon or Sony lenses out there. You should even investigate to see if Sigma, Tamron or another brand makes a lens that will fit the mount of your camera.1280px-24mm-Fixed-focal-SLR-lens You can even buy special lens mounts for your camera if need be. These are good lengths to consider when buying a zoom lens. You can get wider zooms or even more telephoto zooms but for standard day to day shooting for church services or events this is a good list. The 24mm to 70mm is a decent mid range.  A down side is that the f/4L f-stop is kind of a low spot to have to start at. By that I mean that you can’t have a larger aperture than f/4. You can go higher ( f/5, f/6, f/7…) but not lower (f/3, f/2…). That aperture doesn’t allow you to get that beautiful depth of field. When your shooting at church it is nice to be able to go brighter with your aperture since your shooting in the dim lighting. Read my blog post on shooting in dim lighting. On that note, the 24-105 gives you more range and a lower f-stop to shoot at. The f/3.5 f-stop aperture is going to let in more light to your sensor for a better image. The next lens is nice because you can use it as your ad on lens. By that I mean if you want to be able to zoom in further it’s a good lens to have as an addition. It matches up really nicely with the 24-70 because with the two lenses you now essentially have a 24-300mm lens kit. That’s a nice kit.

For the most flexibility I like the 18-200mm lens. This is a all in one lens. Its range is wide to a nice telephoto. With the bottom of the lens at a 3.5 aperture, it lets in a fair amount of light. I’ve gotten a lot of really nice shots wit this lens and it keeps me from changing from one lens to another most of the time.  Finally another all in one lens is the 28-135mm. Its range is not as good but the price makes up the difference. You’ll notice that all of these have ranges in their aperture settings. For example, 3.5-5.6, this range means that the lowest f-stop you can have when at its widest setting is a 3.5. When the zoom is extended to 200mm the lowest setting of aperture will be 5.6. You can always go darker from there but know that those are the lowest settings you can get on your lens at any given time.

Now if you have a little higher budget here is my favorites list.

  1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. $1,499

  2. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. $1,799

  3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM Lens. $1,249

The first lens is the 16-35mm. Thats a nice wide range for shooting a large group, the whole stage, or building. The bottom of the lens is f/2.8, which means that no matter how far in you have your lens zoomed, you can maintain a low aperture of 2.8 or for that matter, whatever you wish. There are no limits on this lens. The same is true for the other two lenses. Again the 24-70 is a nice medium range and the 70-200 is a nice telephoto. The strength of these lenses is that you can set your aperture no matter if the lens is at its widest or deepest. There are no restrictions on them. That’s the difference between the expensive lenses and the cheaper ones. The cheaper lenses have restrictions on them and the more expensive ones do not. The key to look for to tell the difference is to look for the “L” series or a lens with a constant f2/8 f-stop or less. Next time I’ll discussing prime lenses and video production.

5011052457_cc2aec27f5_o

How to Shoot in a Dim Light Setting

Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been very busy with other projects. But I’m back now and excited to get going again on this adventure. As always let me know how I can further and better serve you! Now on to the main post.

cropped-my-camera-4.jpg

How to shoot in a dim light setting? Most likely when you’re shooting at your church setting the lights are dim in the auditorium or sanctuary. This obviously is for atmospheric and mood lighting. Usually the only lights on are on the stage. As the photographer in your church how do you accommodate for this hard to shoot in lighting setting? There are a couple of variables that will determine that.

  • Are you shooting for your churches print material such as a magazine or for advertisement cards?
  • Are you shooting for the web advertisement?

If you are shooting for print then it’s necessary to shoot at an ISO under 3200 and preferably at or under 1600. Why is that? The reasoning here is because images that are shot at or above 1600 can be grainy or noisy when printed. What is grain or noise?

Noise acording to Adorama.com:

In digital photographs, “noise” is the commonly-used term to describe visual distortion. It looks similar to grain found in film photographs, but can also look like splotches of discoloration when it’s really bad, and can ruin a photograph. Noise tends get worse when you’re shooting in low light.

From a technical point of view, noise is the visual manifestation of a lower signal-to-noise ratio, which is measured in decibels. While the amount of noise that you may consider acceptable may be different from what the next guy might accept, but most professional photographers want to see photos with at least a 30dB signal-to-noise ratio.

Images look like they are made of grain or sand is the short answer. Everyone has seen it at some point and its a photographers worst nightmare. Once you have grain there is no saving it in post production. Many things can be rescued in post, but grain is not one of them. Now that being said, if the image being printed is going to be super small, like a few inches on a page then you can probably get away with a 1600-3200 ISO setting. For example something smaller than a 4×6 image should be safe. A 2×2 head shot will probably be just fine. Why is this? The pixels are compressed, creating a sharper image.

If you are shooting for a web advertisement then you can most definitely get away with shooting 1600-3200 ISO. Web uses less pixels than print. That’s why it’s safer to shoot 3200 for web. Print materials will use a higher resolution image, whereas a web image is not as high a resolution. The image is already being scaled down and reduced, making it grainier anyways.

Moving onward there are some other rules to consider. The shutter speed is important to consider. The faster the shutter speed the less blurry the image. This is a great rule and knowledge for sports but sports are generally outdoors.  For shooting the band or pastor you won’t need to have too high a shutter speed. Most activity on stage will be minimal. A more aggressive band will have higher speed activity and energy so you may want to consider moving your shutter speed up. But again be careful the higher the shutter speed the darker the image. Not a good thing in a dimly lit setting. A general rule could be this: set your shutter speed at the same ratio as your focal length. For example if your lens is set at 50mm then set your shutter speed at 1/50 a sec. However there are variables to that rule. If you have a lens set at 10mm, I’m sure you won’t want to have a shutter speed at 1/10 a second. That is really slow and your going to get a shaky blurry image since most likely your shooting hand held at church. Also remember that your going to have to shoot your aperture at the lowest setting since it’s dim lighting. For example a setting of f3.5 is much wider and thusly your image is going to be brighter than a setting of f8.0. For shooting in dim light settings you’ll need to set it on the lowest possible setting. If you have a lens that will shoot at f2.8 or lower that will be the best! But remember the lower the aperture setting the shallower the depth of field. Meaning that you may only have two members of the band in focus. The back three members of the band will surly be out of focus. Maybe that’s ok and you can deal with that. I’m just saying that it’s a good possibility.

Photography is give and take: More ISO and the more grain. The more aperture the darker the image or vise versa you’ll have a shallower image with less in focus. You need to decide what’s important and what’s necessary. But my hope is that this article will give you some guidance and thinking points when when shooting in low light settings. Let me know if this is helpful to you. Thanks!