Could someone give me some advice...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sarah23, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    One of my best friends is a Marine wife. She husband, who has been in Iraq for the last 7 months, is coming home next weekend and she asked me to take pictures of the event. Her sister WAS going to be doing it (she isnt a photographer or anything) but now she isnt going, and my friend asked me.

    Ive never done anything like this....im a bit nervous. Obviously ANY picture are better then NO pictures...but I would really like to capture the emotion and the feeling of the whole thing.

    Its going to be in the airport of course, and a LOT of people are going to be there. So im just wondering if anyone had any advice, or any pictures they could post of something like this that I could get some ideas from? I havent taken many pictures of people...just STUFF and places, so this is kinda new for me.

    Any tips will be helpful!!
     
  2. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    I can't post any examples but I'm sure that your friend isn't expecting formal portraits. As you indicated, anything is better than nothing. Do you really think that your friend will criticize the lighting? That being said, my first suggestion is to get as close as you are able. Then, take as many shots as your camera card can handle with the belief (hope?) that there will be some really good "keepers" in the group. Good luck!
     
  3. fil8

    fil8 TPF Noob!

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    She is one of your best friends. Her husband has been away for a while and she is probably nervous/excited about seeing him. Go with her and help her keep her cool, when she sees him and starts freaking out....Fire away and fill the card.

    Just my thoughts.

    fil
     
  4. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    no, she isn't expecting formal ones or anything like that at all....but I would like to get at least a few good ones. :p

    I guess I just don't want to disappoint her. :)
     
  5. Sandspur

    Sandspur TPF Noob!

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    Anticipate the spot where they will likely meet for the first time, and get yourself in position for the best view of that place. Pay attention to the direction of the sun or other potential lighting problems.

    Will you be using flash? Be sure you're going to be close enough for it to be effective.

    Preset your camera - mode, fresh batteries, plenty of memory card space ... stuff like that.

    You didn't mention what kind of camera you're using, but - in a situation like this - a digital p&s with a swiveling LED (like my Canon S3is) would be great, because you could shoot over the heads of the crowd.

    It's never possible to anticipate everything that's likely to happen in a situation as dynamic and exciting as this. So just be as prepared as possible, and enjoy your friend's great moment with her.
     
  6. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Family photos do not endure because they're artistic masterpieces but, rather, because of the memories that they evoke. Trust me. You will not disappoint her.
     
  7. Sarah23

    Sarah23 TPF Noob!

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    thanks you guys :)
     
  8. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    1) Don't use a flash ... use available light.
    2) Kick up the ISO to 1600 if required. Better some noise than underexposed images or flat images blasted with a flash.
    3) Keep your shutter speeds comfortably high ... follow the rule of thumb ... minimum shutter at the reciprocal of your focal length (using a 200mm lens then minimum shutter speed would be 1/200 of a sec ... 50mm - 1/50 ... et cetera). So, when indoors, adjust your ISO to attain rule o' thumb shutter speeds. Once again better to have noise than blurry images.
    4) Shoot in RAW ... easier to white balance after the fact.
    5) Shoot a ton of images ... better to have and not want than to want and not have. Remember you have more memory than time. (I like that line :wink:)
    5) Get to the airport early and scope out the lobby, lounge, wherever they will first meet. Take some practice shots .. check out the LCD for IQ ... check out the histogram .. adjust accordingly.
    6) Shoot tight ... but out of respect don't get into their space/face. Use a medium focal length zoom ... give them their space but be close enough so people will try to not get between you and your subjects.
    7) Mentally focus on the subjects ... nothing else matters ... if/when they move you need to move accordingly for the best angle.
    8) Practice walking backwards (lol)
    9) Get one or two wide shots to set the scene (unless you have two cameras wait until after the initial welcome ... it can even be a setup shot.
    10) If there are any signs or banners get some close ups before his arrival.
    11) Don't forget to welcome him back also.
    12) Don't be scared ... Shoot like a Marine.
    13) Give him a "Welcome Back Home Marine" from me also. Tell him that there are people from coast to coast that are proud of him and respect him for doing his duty.
    12) Semper Fi

    Gary
     
  9. Anelle

    Anelle TPF Noob!

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    Ditto to Gary! EXCELLENT advice! I think scoping out the venue before hand is a great idea!

    Anelle
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Inside an airport? Not unless she has a D300 or D3. Most airports in the arrival areas are low ceiling and white and are poorly lit. A good flash would help immensly if they used it properly. Bounce the flash off the ceiling or a bounce card for a broad area of coverage. Blasting would come only if you maybe set the complete setup to manual and set the flash to full intensity. If set to TTL, the chances of that happening are none. The built-in flashes on most cameras suck... if needed, rent a nice flash for the day and take a few seconds to learn how to use it with your setup using TTL. It will be even more mandatory to use a flash if the plane arrives after dark, then ambient lowers more if it is the kind of place that gets a lot of light from outside. Even if it does get a lot of light from the outside, it could be in the wrong direction causing them to all come out back-lit. A flash eliminates needing to think about light AND motion blur. Point it up, add a bounce card and fire away!! Bring 2 extra sets of batteries for the flash!

    At ISO 1600... again if they have a D300 or D3, maybe. At 1600 ISO the grain will be overwhelming and un-necessary if bouncing around with a flash.

    YES! :D
    If not using the flash, make sure it is OVER 1/100. Under that, movement WILL cause many to be blurry and lost forever.

    Using a bounced flash, you can move that EASILY up to 1/200th to 1/250th or what ever your maximum sync speed is and get ZERO motion blur under those circumstances.

    Agreed, would never happen if you use a few flash basics. Grainy over blurred shots any day of the week, but also no high ISO noise unless absolutely necessary too!

    ... if the camera supports flash AND if they know how to use RAW files. Worst case scenario, shoot RAW, and have someone here walk you through it. If your camera doesn't shoot RAW, shoot the highest quality JPG you can.

     
  11. mikeyzx

    mikeyzx TPF Noob!

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    my quick tip:

    I would try as much as possible, as Seefutlung says, to do all this without flash and have your ISO at 1600.

    The objective is to capture the moment as best you can. If there is a lot happening and you are running around trying to get the best shots, chances are that your flash response might be too slow in which case it won't fire - especially if you use burst mode.
    My solution? Use the flash where possible, but be prepared (have the ISO at 1600), If the flash doesn't fire for whatever reason, you won't be caught too unaware and end up with great shots that are too blurry to use.

    Itemised:

    1. have plenty of storage space
    2. shoot in RAW you can play around later with all the other settings, including lighting and noise.
    3. Fresh batteries, as well as spare - for external flash
    4. Don't forget to charge the camera batteries too
    5. Widest aperture lens you have.
    6. Decent zoom lens, just in case getting that close isn't an option - which is where being prepared to shoot without flash also helps.
    7. your friend would rather have pictures that skills, so don't be too fussy with trying to capture that perfect moment. FIRE AWAY.
     
  12. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    Wow, Sarah,

    First - ditto Gary AND Jerry. Most of all, don't do a backflip down an escalator. It'll wreck the moment...

    Second: it's not the task at hand, I think. It's the honor of being asked. RE-LAX (yeah, easy for me to say...I'd have to barf). I mean it. You have to focus...pun intended. Eyes front. Get your game face on. Go go go...GO! Socrates has an excellent point, you know.

    But: you can't achieve greatness with a camera with shaking hands...even at 1/250th. Picture them in their underwear...no, wait. That's public speaking...Hmm...

    Whatever you do, they will be very, very appreciative, right? So go: take what you know, take a deep breath, and remember to keep one eye in the viewfinder, the other on your surroudings, and your hands steady. You'll know what to do from there - you have photographer's eye, remember?

    Good luck!
     

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