Today I'm going to be sharing a brilliant tip for shooting in low-light situations.

Before I share my focus trick, if you aren't familiar with back-button focus, click through the link to familiarize yourself with it. I shoot everything using the back-button to focus, and nothing else I say here will make sense unless you understand what it is first.

I always shoot in auto-focus. But in low-light situations the camera struggles to focus. This is because the camera is looking for points of contrast in the subject in order to know what you want to focus on. In low light situations, there isn't enough light to create the needed contrast. So instead of going blind and spending the entire reception resisting the urge to slam my camera into the ground, this is what I do.

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 in 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 4-5 feet away from my subject. With my aperture set higher (creating a greater 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:
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
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