Some ISO Tips

Let me first preface this blog post with a very important statement about my photography:

I am a novice wedding photographer in Temecula that is continually trying to improve my efficiency with a camera. I understand my shortcomings, and am making every effort to get better with everything related to my craft. Photography is more than a job, it is my form of expression. Photography is my art. And as an artist I want to reach the pinnacle of my skill level and potential. My goal is to continually evolve and grow to be the best artist I can be, and the best wedding photographer my clients want me to be.

Being involved in the wedding photography business I constantly meet other people who get paid to capture photos. Some of these people are fashion photographers, product photographers or even wedding photographers. My number one pet peeve about many of these people is that they only look at photography as a job. Photos for money, running their operation like McDonald’s, never truly caring about the work they put fourth. These are the type of people who give minimum effort to simply finish the job in the quickest amount of time possible instead of producing their best work. To these people I wag my finger and say shame, shame, shame little monkey.

With all of that being said, when I recently had the opportunity to shoot with Temecula wedding photographer and fellow lover of premium margaritas, Anthony Carbajal, I was looking forward to soaking up any tips that could help me become a better wedding photographer. That is actually one of the best parts about second shooting with people, learning new tricks and seeing how established people handle their business, their biz-nas.

Decoding My Canon 580exii Flash With Anthony Carbajal

After the ceremony and all of the traditional wedding stuff was completed, Anthony and I had a little time to discuss photography. The first thing I asked him was if he had some additional batteries since my 580exii flash was occasionally not firing. He took my camera and explained that by not having my ISO cranked up high enough the flash would drain power much more quickly. This was a very helpful tip that I very much appreciated, and also led us into talking more about flash photography.

While discussing the basic functions of a on-camera flash while programmed in E-TTL mode, Anthony explained that a photographer should never make light intensity adjustments on the actual flash. Instead, he said the adjustments should be made on camera (on the 5D Mark ii the button that controls flash strength is also the ISO button). He explained that by making adjustments on the camera rather than the flash that the camera could better process the information.

Anthony also informed me that ISO adjustments should be made in full steps (200, 400, 800, 1600 etc) because of the way the camera breaks down the data. He explained that the 5D Mark ii doesn’t compute ISO 600, but rather subtracts from¬† ISO 800 to make that number, thereby effecting the integrity of the image. Therefore, all ISO levels should be selected by steps, and the adjustments made on camera.

Although I have used my Canon camera and flash for over a year, I never understood these things about ISO operation. This is one of the primary benefits of occasionally second shooting with people; you get pretty freaking awesome tips that you never would expect!

Cheers to my friend Anthony for teaching me some new s***! Now stop reading this, get off your buns and go second shoot with someone better at photography than you!