how to focus your photography at wedding receptions
Today I'm going to share a brilliant and easy tip for shooting in low-light situations and nailing your focus EVERY TIME.

But before I share my focus trick, if you aren't familiar with back-button focus, I suggest you click through the link to familiarize yourself with it. I shoot everything using the back-button to focus, and using it is an integral part to making this trick work. Nothing else I say here will make sense unless you understand what it is first.

I always shoot using auto-focus. But in low-light situations the camera often struggles to focus. This is because the camera is looking for points of contrast in the subject in order to lock focus. In low light situations, there isn't enough light to create the needed contrast. So the lens typically zooms in and out trying to focus, but rarely doing so. I don't know about you, but this makes me CRAZY. So instead of spending the entire wedding reception resisting the urge to slam my camera into the ground, this is what I do.

When the house lights go down (or we're outside and it's pitch-black) and it's time for open dancing, I put my Canon 24mm 1.4 lens on my camera body. You can use any lens for this trick, but this is my lens of choice for open dance photos. Next I find a point of contrast somewhere in the vicinity. A candle in a centerpiece works great; a light of some type -- anything you CAN focus on. I stand about 4 feet away from it and lock my focus on it using the back-button. Then, I don't touch the back-button again for the rest of the night (or until I want to change my focus distance). I set my aperture to 4.5 and then I shoot freely, always standing about 4 to 5 feet away from my subject. With a smaller aperture (creating a larger depth-of-field) and my focus locked on this approximate distance, I can trust that everything I want in focus IS in focus. That's it. It's that simple.

The results are as follows:
how to focus your photography at wedding receptions
how to focus your photography at wedding receptions
how to focus your photography at wedding receptions
And, instead of slamming my camera on the ground and going blind, I spend the night clicking away feeling assured that my images will be in focus.

If you found this post helpful, and are interested in learning more, click here to opt-in for my free video series -- 6 Hacks to Eliminate Boring Low-Light Photos and Get You Creating Reception Images you LOVE! In it I share my best 6 tips for shooting with flash. If you are intimidated by flash and wanting to conquer it once and for all, this is a great place to start!
learn flash for wedding receptions

Equipment used for above photos:
Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 24mm 1.4 lens // 2 Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites // MagMod Bounce // 2 Battery Packs // Light Stand with umbrella bracket and cold shoe
A simple trick to help you focus in low-light situations -- every time
+ Comment +