I was talking with a fellow D5100 owner over on my Facebook page and he was wondering which lens and settings he should use for shooting a wedding. I thought it would be beneficial to share our conversation with all of you... John's Question:
Can you advise me the best lens to get to a shoot a wedding? I am only helping out at one, so it would be useful if the lens could be used for other types of photography. I am looking at the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 AF-S or the 50mm f/1.8G AF-S. The wedding is a small affair. I have the 18-55mm VR kit lens that came with the D5100 and also a 70-300mm Vr lens.
I like photographing insects, birds and landscapes.
Also any advice on what settings to shoot at would be welcome. Moose's Answer:
Either of those lenses would be great for a wedding (portraits, candids, hands, rings, flowers, food, etc...) thanks to an extremely shallow depth of field which isolates subjects against silky smooth backgrounds. The only difference between the two is the focal length.
will have a wider field of view which can be helpful when shooting indoors or in tight spaces. However, the 50mm
is great for capturing subjects from a slightly longer distance.
Your kit lens (18-55mm) will be beneficial for wide group shots of the wedding party. I wouldn't worry about a zoom lens, unless you'll be restricted from getting close to the bride and groom.
In addition to a prime lens, you might also think about getting a good speedlight, like the SB-700. With the speedlight, you'll be able to illumate groups of people outdoors, provide fill light for intimate bride and groom shots and bounce light for more natural looking shots when shooting indoors.
As for settings, I would shoot in Aperture priority (A on the mode dial) and select your f-number based on the subject or scene. Select low f-numbers for portraits and close-ups. Select an f-number between f/4 for small groups (2 to 4 people) and f/5.6 for larger groups (4 to 8 people). I would also leave the ISO set to Auto to ensure you get accurate exposures. In addition to that, you might think about enabling the center focus point rather than relying on the D5100 to select the focus point for you.