Photography inside a church

"I have been asked to photograph our confirmation class

at our church inside by the altar. There are 4 kids and
the Pastor, they will be wearing white gowns.
I have a Canon T2i and an external flash. Please advise
on settings on the camera and which lens I should use.
I have the kit lens, 18-200mm lens, 85mm 1.8 lens.
Thank you!"


Great question Lisa, on how to photograph a confirmation class, with several possible answers. You are working with a great digital camera, having the T2i (EOS 550D). I currently am shooting with a 5d and my back up is the 20d.

It's funny you asked about the 85mm 1.8 because I shot a Holy Communion service last year using my Canon 85mm 1.8. I was shooting the kids individually as they received communion using a 580 ex external flash-when it quit on me. I had my second camera ready to go, but had to shoot with the existing light in the church.

I was able to shoot on the aperture priority setting at f 1.8 and ISO 1600. All of the kids received individual 8x10 portraits and there was no noticeable "noise" despite using an older camera at the higher ISO setting.

The lighting was beautiful, coming from an over head sky light and some ambient light from the church lights.

I then used another external flash, mounted on a bracket, for the group pose of all 20 kids after the service. It's not my favorite kind of lighting, but was needed because of the situation of the photography.

If you are not sure how to photograph this type of event, try to get in the church before the day of the event, when the lighting will be the same.

Use a helper standing where your subjects will stand on the day of the photography session and shoot with flash and then with the existing light if there is enough. Compare your results from the two types of lighting.

External flash is safe and will give you adequate results for such a small group. Most likely you won't be able to bounce it off the high ceiling that most churches have.

The 85mm 1.8 gives you the advantage of shooting with a wide-open aperture in low light situations, but be very careful with your focus-you have limited depth of field at the wide open settings.

Your 18-200 lens, of course, is very versatile for you to shoot in tighter spaces or zoom in farther without moving your shooting location.

A more distant perspective (longer lens) is usually more pleasing for portraiture and will narrow the amount of background within your composition.

Thank you for your "How to Photograph" question.

Best wishes,
Photo TipMan


Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to How to photograph....

camera settings

"How do I know what camera settings to use?"

Knowing what digital camera settings to use really depends on what your are trying to photograph. Discovering how to photograph any subject starts with getting your camera adjusted to the right setting.

Most newer digital camera have a large number of settings that set your camera to give you the best chance of getting a good photo, based on your subject matter or lighting conditions alone.

Once you gain some more knowledge and experience with your digital camera, you will know when to use the completely automatic settings and when to use a setting where you have a little more control of what the camera is going to do.

You can more info on how to set your camera here:

Digital Camera Settings


It should help quite a bit.

Best wishes,

Photo Tipman

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to How to photograph....

Sporting events

What mode should my camera be set to (i.e. TV, AV, Manuel) and should should my settings be? I took pics at my daughter's basketball game this weekend and everything I tried resulted in blurry or dark pics! I have an external flash that I was using.

Great question Hannah, sorry your photos were not what you wanted. Complicated answer.

Most likely guess is your flash is not powerful enough. Check the flash manufacturers specs for your flash. See what the maximum distance of coverage. Freezing the action is the number one challenge of indoor sports photography

Blurriness is caused by camera movement and/or subject movement. If the flash is bright enough and much stronger than the existing light in the gymnasium, it will stop the blur.

Three tips for inside sports photography:

1. Use a more powerful flash (if it's allowed)
2. Use the highest ISO setting possible. This may cause some loss of quality from a bit more "noise" but it beats blurry underexposed photos.
3. Use the widest aperture possible (smallest f-stop #) your camera allows by shooting AV or manual mode.
4. Getting you or a remote flash closer to the action (if possible) will give your photos more exposure.
5. Try a setting. Review your results on the lcd screen. Evaluate as best you can. Try a new camera setting and notice the difference.

If it's a dark gym and your flash is not powerful enough, you're fighting a losing battle.


Best wishes,
Photo TipMan

p.s. I've photographed high school basketball games without flash by using a "fast" zoom lens (f 2.8) on my Canon 5D and with the ISO set on it's highest setting of 3200.

Click here to read or post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to How to photograph....