Advice on taking pictures in a NightClub

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by mpr555, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. mpr555

    mpr555 TPF Noob!

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    Hi there

    New to the site, and kinda new to photography. I am keen to start photography in Night Clubs as my main focus. I am going to an event this friday, and was wondering what tips you peeps would have.

    I have a Canon 300V SLR, with a 28mm - 70mm and a 90mm - 200mm (i think)

    Also have a flash with tilt head. i think its a cobra, nothing special.

    film? was thinking 200 - not trying to get any effects, just goof alround pic
    what setting i should use. AV TV or P

    obviuosly it is very dark, with lots of strobe lights, and laser lights.

    hope to hear from you soon

    Max
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    First off, find out if you are allowed to take photos in a club. Most places frown on it and you don't want a big bouncer after you.

    You will need to use your flash so make sure you have fresh batteries. As for film, 100, 200, 400...doesn't really matter too much when using flash...400 film will require less light therefore using less battery power from the flash...also letting the flash recycle faster.

    I would set the camera in manual mode. Shutter speed at the camera's X-sync speed (or slower). Check what it is for your your camera. Probably 1/90 or 1/125. Pick an aperture and set both the flash & camera to that. Keep in mind that autofoucs probably won't work and it will be hard to see well enough to manual focus so use a small aperture like F8 or smaller (F11, F16). If you can focus well, you could use a wider aperture (like F4) to get a shorter DOF and isolate the subjects from the background a little better.

    So with both the flash & camera set to the same aperture, that's all you need for proper exposure (Assuming your flash has an auto mode). You can change the shutter speed from the x-sync speed to a slower speed (1/60, 1/30, 1/15 etc.) this will control how much ambient light gets onto the film. The longer the shutter is open, the more background light you will get.

    Have fun.
     
  3. mpr555

    mpr555 TPF Noob!

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    big mike, thanks for the info, much appreciated. I am pretty much a newbie, def to doing night photography, the club will let me take pictures no problem. i usually go there with a little digi i have, but would like to make use of the SLR i have.

    just a few questions :)

    camera x-sync?? what does that mean? i am not sure about setting the flash to that but i will take a look tonight. the autofocus i have used before in dark situations in alround automode, and it does quite well. Saying that the club that i am going to is pretty dark, but with all the lasers and strobes, and side lighting where the bar is, i think focusing manual or auto shouldn't be a problem.

    again thanks for the info

    Max
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The x-sync speed is the fastest shutter speed that your camera can be used with a flash. Because of the design of the shutter in your camera, the shutter opens in two sections...top & bottom. First one half opens, then the other. There is a time window when both flaps are open...and that's when the flash has to fire. If you set the shutter too fast, the flash will fire while one of the flaps is still closed...and that half of the film will not be exposed. It's easy to understand if you test it out. Take a shot in a dark room with the flash...set the shutter speed to 1/500 (if the camera will let you). When you get the print back..you will see.

    That's not really important to know...all you need to know is your camera's sync speed. I looked it up and it's 1/90 for your camera. So when you use a flash...keep the shutter speed to 1/90 or slower (1/60, 1/30 etc.)
     
  5. mpr555

    mpr555 TPF Noob!

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    Big Mike,

    thanks for the info. Will have some fun taking pics on friday.

    When i get them developed, i shall send you one to see how i have done.

    cheers, have a good weekend
     
  6. Kent Frost

    Kent Frost TPF Noob!

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    That's primarily the photography I've concentrated on for about the past year and half. In fact, if you go down the list in my archives page, you'll find that near the beginning, I was struggling to find my technique. As you go further down, like around mid to late January of 2004, they start to look better.

    http://www.djspiral.com/images/photography/people/parties/archives.html

    You'll want to use higher than 200, believe me. On my Digital Rebel, I find myself on 800 and 1600 most of the time. Also, something that is useful, you'll have quite a bit of luck with your Tv mode, set to about 1/10 or 1/13. It'll automatically set the aperture for you, this way when your flash fires it'll freeze your subject, but the shutter will stay open just a little longer to capture some background light and give an idea as to what the place looks like, and not make your subjects appear to be standing in a black room. Also, DO NOT POINT YOUR FLASH STRAIGHT AHEAD. Most nightclubs have this tendency to be very smoky or have a fog machine. I recommend, if your flash also swivels from left to right, to bounce of of the floor, the wall, the ceiling, your hand, or even your shirt (be sure to wear white). If the flash fires straight ahead, you're going to see a lot of that fog/smoke because it'll send that light right back at you. You'll notice in several of my photos that when shooting horizontially, the light seems to be coming from below. That's because I flip the camera completely upside-down and point the flash straight down at the floor. Gives a very dynamic result. Also, if your flash has a red beam that it emits when you go to Auto Focus, you'll be able to focus just fine with auto. In fact, most of the time I find myself using it as a way of aiming without looking through the viewfinder. My flash emits a red beam in the form of a + sign, so it gives me a great idea as to where the lens is pointed.
    Here's some examples:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    Here is an interesting thread from pNet on Flash by William Au. Flash articles ALWAYS confused me with their hard core tech jargons. This one is in plain English! :)

    Cheerio!
     
  8. mpr555

    mpr555 TPF Noob!

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    cheers for the info kent. Will have a go this friday. Going to Slimky at opera house in bournemouth this friday, good laser shows and lots of people dancing with glo stickes should be able to get some awesome pics. also transmission at alexandra palace on saturday, 12,000 capacity, should get some even better pics there.

    take care, have a good weekend

    Max
     
  9. Kent Frost

    Kent Frost TPF Noob!

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    With glowsticks, I recommend a shutter speed (in Tv Mode) of about 0.5 to 1 second with flash. Once again, the flash will freeze the subject, then the rest of the shutter speed will capture the glowstick action. Like so:

    [​IMG]

    Have fun! :)
     
  10. loopguru

    loopguru TPF Noob!

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    Are there any active nightclub photographers on this forum?
     
  11. Kent Frost

    Kent Frost TPF Noob!

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    Yessir. Right here.
     
  12. loopguru

    loopguru TPF Noob!

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    awsome. I'm about a month old with club photogs. Do you have some samples? I am not particularly pleased with my work so far and I'd like to compare and discuss our techniques.

    I am posting some samples of my work in a few....
     

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