Wedding photography is a challenging niche. Fortunately, the Canon 6D is a fantastic camera for the job. It is a great all-around full-frame DSLR that is especially good for weddings because of its high ISO performance and superb image quality. It’s also an affordable option—especially if you can get one used or refurbished.
This article will go over the camera settings used for wedding photography and provide tips on how to get the most out of your 6D.
Canon 6D settings for wedding photography
I’ve been a professional wedding photographer since 2010 and have been using the Canon 6D for 7 years now. Even if it’s not a mirrorless camera, which is all the rage these days, I still find the 6D to be a great camera for shooting weddings and other special events.
Here are my settings for wedding photography with this camera. You can use these as a starting point and then adjust them to suit your style.
- Always and I repeat, ALWAYS shoot in RAW!
- Select a fast aperture for portraits – f/1.2 – f/2.8 and a slower aperture for group shots, establishing shots, and the wedding reception
- Set your camera to Av (Aperture priority)
- When shooting outdoors use an ISO between 100-400 and 1600-3200 when shooting in dimly lit areas and indoors
- Select AWB. This shouldn’t matter when shooting in RAW.
- Select Evaluative metering
- Always use the center AF point
- Select a burst mode of 4 frames per second
- Select Neutral picture style
Of course, these settings are just a starting point for you. You should continue to experiment with your camera, but these settings will help make sure your wedding photos are sharp, clear, and balanced.
Furthermore, you can also use most of these settings when shooting in low light.
I love shooting in Av mode because I like to shoot fast. And it also helps me to focus on what’s happening right in front of me rather than fiddling with the camera settings.
Weddings are fast-paced events and I want to make sure I can keep up with the action. Sometimes, I have to switch over to manual mode during the couple’s portrait sessions, since they have a much slower pace.
Here are some of the equipment that I use on a regular basis with my Canon 6D. Some of this gear is essential for every photographer and some of it is just nice to have in case you need to get creative with your wedding photos.
I love fast prime lenses! They are my go-to lens for portraits and candids. Also, I use these lenses for low light shooting and I don’t have to worry about missing shots when there’s not enough light.
My favorite portrait lens is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM, which I use for just about every shoot. I love how this lens produces creamy bokeh and the sharpness is amazing. It’s also very versatile since you can shoot in low light with it and still get a nice background blur.
Moreover, love the bokeh it produces. The background melts away and leaves a beautiful, crisp image of my subject. This is my favorite lens because it makes every photo look amazing.
Yes, it’s heavy and the autofocus tends to be a little slower than newer lenses, however, the image quality is so good that it’s worth the extra weight and slower focusing.
It suits my style of shooting because I like to be able to separate my subject from the background.
I mostly use this fantastic lens for the bride and groom’s portraits and they always look beautiful.
I love to pair this 85mm with a wider Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM. If I can only bring two lenses to shoot a wedding, this would be one of them.
I just love the look it gives me, it gives context to my photos and I feel like it allows me to tell a more complete story.
This lens is so versatile, I can use it for so many different types of shots and styles. If you’re just starting out on your career as a wedding photographer, I highly recommend that you get a 35mm.
And if you’re a big fan of shooting Astro with your Canon 6D, this lens is also a fantastic option.
And lastly, I have a dedicated lens for shooting wedding details such as wedding bands, rings, flowers, watches, and other accessories. The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro is a fantastic lens for this job.
This macro lens is a great lens for shooting details because it allows you to get extremely close to your subject (1:1 magnification) and has an 11.8″ minimum focusing distance.
I rarely shoot with zoom lenses nowadays, but there was a time when I used to carry a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens as well. It’s a great all-around lens that has many uses, but it’s also large and heavy. I also have a 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II telephoto zoom lens that I use for the couple’s first kiss, ceremonies, and portraits.
Extra batteries and memory cards
Don’t forget these useful accessories! I always bring 3-4 extra batteries and 3 extra memory cards with me. This is important because cameras use a lot of power when shooting in RAW, and you can easily run out of juice.
Also, shooting in RAW takes a lot of storage space, so it’s always good to have extra memory cards on hand.
Lights, bags & straps
- Canon 600EX-RT II
- YONGNUO YN300 III LED Video Light
- Vault by Pelican – v525 Case
- Vanguard Alta Sky 45D Camera Backpack
10 tips to improve your wedding photography skills
- Be prepared to work fast. Wedding photography can be very fast-paced, so it’s important that you’re able to keep up with the bride and groom. If they’re getting ready at their home or hotel room, you’ll need to be there early and be ready to go right when they’re ready to start.
- Make sure your gear is clean and polished. Dust or smudges on lenses can ruin an image before you even press the shutter button. I always like to clean my gear with a microfiber cloth before shooting weddings or events.
- Don’t forget your accessories. You’ll need extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies for your gear.
- Always have some business cards on hand with your contact information so that the bride and groom can remember who you are in case they want to hire you again for another event. You can also give them out to the guests and other wedding suppliers.
- Study the venue. Before you arrive at the venue, study it online or ask your fellow photographers for advice. It will give you a better idea of where to position yourself and how to capture the best shots. You can also scout out any possible problems like low light or bad angles before they happen.
- ALWAYS shoot in RAW!
- Make sure all your batteries are fully charged. Charged them up the night before.
- If you can, bring an extra camera body. I always have two cameras with me with different lenses and focal lengths. This can ease the burden of having to change lenses in a hurry.
- Be friendly and smile all the time.
- Having good communication not just with the couple, but also with the other important people during the wedding can go a long way. If you want to include a certain shot, talk to the couple beforehand. Don’t just assume that they want it.
What f-stop to use for weddings?
Just remember this:
- Indoors/portraits: f/1.2 to f/2.8
- Outdoors: f/1.4 to f/8
I usually shoot at f/1.2 to f/2 when shooting individual portraits and indoors. The choice depends on the scene, the location, and the lighting. For group photos, shooting at f/4 is a good starting point. This allows me to capture the whole group while getting enough depth of field to keep everyone in focus.
What is the best shutter speed for wedding photography?
A good starting point for shutter speed is 1/125th of a second. This can be used for both indoor and outdoor shots, but you should keep in mind the movement of your subjects—if there are moving around, using faster speeds like 1/160th or faster may help with capturing their motion more clearly.
But sometimes, especially indoors where the lights are dim, I can still shoot at around 1/50 as long as the bride and groom are stationary.
When I’m shooting outdoors on a bright sunny day, with a fast aperture lens, I usually use a shutter speed of 1/4000 to 1/8000.
Which metering mode is best for wedding photography?
Most of the time, I use evaluative metering for weddings. This mode will take into account the scene in front of you and give you an average exposure reading for it. It’s great for scenes where you want to get a good exposure for the whole scene.
Do you use a flash for wedding photography?
You can definitely use an external flash for shooting weddings. It’s really useful for doing some creative shots and for shooting in low light environment.
I don’t use an external flash or speedlight all the time because I want to keep my style consistent. If you decide to bring one, make sure that your flash is fully charged before each wedding, and also make sure that it works properly.
Is an 85mm lens good for weddings?
Yes! In fact, one of my favorite lenses for shooting weddings is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L lens. 85mm is great for portraits and for candids. It can easily blur the background and gives you that nice compression for portraits.
Also, it has enough reach to capture special moments like their first kiss and when the bride walks down the aisle, and the groom’s expression when he sees her bride for the first time.
You can read more here if you’re planning to get a 50mm or an 85mm lens to shoot weddings.
Can you shoot a wedding with a 35mm lens?
Absolutely! A 35mm is a very versatile wedding lens and you can use it in most situations. It is ideal for portraits, group photos, sceneries, and candid moments. It is highly recommended to get a fast 35mm lens.
And because of its wider FOV, this lens is useful for shooting in tight spaces. Composing with this lens is also easy and it allows you to tell a story.
How do you photograph a wedding without a flash?
The best way to photograph a wedding without a flash is by using natural light. The best time to shoot is during the early morning and the golden hour. This is when the light is soft and warm, perfect for taking portraits. You can also take advantage of indoor lightings such as candles or lamps.
You can also take advantage of windows to let in some light. You can take advantage of the available natural light and use it to create beautiful images.
So you have to study the venue and reception area to take advantage of these natural light sources.
Using a reflector is also ideal as it can be used to bounce light onto your subject.
Lastly, having an LED light such as the YONGNUO YN300 III LED Video Light can be an excellent option. It’s a continuous light that can be used to create beautiful images in the most challenging lighting conditions. It’s also very portable and easy to use.
I usually use it instead of external flashes.
How many pictures should a wedding photographer take?
The number of photos varies based on how long the event is and how many people are in attendance. As for me, my team and I usually take around 3000-4000 photos for a wedding. This includes getting ready photos, posed and formal portraits, candids, ceremonies, and other types of photos.
Canon 6D is an old but gold DSLR for wedding photography. It’s beginner-friendly and not too expensive. It’s also a great option for those who want to take their photography skills to the next level. The 6D is easy to use, has superb image quality, and has great low light performance. It’s a good entry-level full frame camera that will help you get started with wedding photography.
Emma Lucy is the Founder & CEO of Emma Lucy Photography. She has over a decade of experience shooting weddings and other intimate events. She also tests the latest digital camera bodies, lenses, analog cameras and other gear from Canon, Nikon, Sony and other camera brands. She currently lives in London where she spends most of her time being a self-employed professional photographer and writer.