How to take a picture of a child blowing out birthday candles

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by RegRoy, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. RegRoy

    RegRoy TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    Can anyone recommend the proper settings I could use (ballpark) to take a picture of child blowing out birthday candles in a dark room?

    I don't know if I should use settings to vary the aperture because of the light, or worry about shutter speed because blowing out candles is "in motion".

    Thank you.
     
  2. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    Well, first of all, you're going to need to a) shoot in manual and intentionally underexpose or b) shoot in Aperture priority and use exposure comp to underexpose.

    You should be able to crank your ISO settings a little and go wide open on your lens to keep your shutter speed somewhat usable. A tripod wouldn't hurt.

    Get somebody to help you figure out your settings before hand (ie dark room with some candles in a piece of styrofoam or something) because guessing in the moment probably won't work.

    On second thought, don't use styrofoam and candles, they don't mix well. But you get the idea.
     
  3. RegRoy

    RegRoy TPF Noob!

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    LOL! :lol:

    I understand aperture priority but what is "exposure comp"?

    Thanks.
     
  4. OrionsByte

    OrionsByte No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I might add that if you plan on intentionally underexposing the shot (which would minimize camera shake and motion blur at the expense of exposure), that you make sure you're recording in RAW so that you can pull some more exposure out in post without destroying the quality of the shots.
     
  5. mrpink

    mrpink No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A list of your gear would help.

    Based on what I own.... Full manual settings, proper exposure set to the childs face, f 2.8 and as slow of a shutter speed as I can go without blur, add in a OCF only if needed for fill.




    p!nK
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Underexposing in low light will add deadly amounts of noise.

    If anything you need to get the exposure as close to correct as possible, rather than underexposing.

    That however means cranking up the ISO to get enough shutter speed to stop motion and cranking up the ISO also introduces deadly amounts of noise, unless you are shooting with pro gear. Are you shooting with pro gear?

    Consequently, you need to use flash to introduce enough light so you can use a low ISO setting and for a correct exposure. The duration of the flash of light and rear/second curtain sync can handle the motion stopping task.
     
  7. RegRoy

    RegRoy TPF Noob!

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    I'm a hobbyist -- so I have a digital rebel xti with the 18-55mm lens that came with it. I also have a tamron telephoto but I'm in the office now so I don't have the specs on it right now.

    And how do I set exposure to the child's face?

    And what is OCF?
     
  8. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    If you don't underexpose, the dark room will go gray. Remember that your exposure meter is dumb. I agree with mrpink about exposing for the face, tipping.

    I might be wrong, and I know KMH is right about noise. If you expose as your camera wants to (especially if you're using matrix) you're going to get a very overexposed shot. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Exposure comp is exposure compensation, basically telling your camera that it should take it's settings when using either shutter or aperture priority and either under or over expose from where it thinks it should be. Good for taking shots you want very dark or very bright.

    Off Camera Flash.
     
  9. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    just keep it simple and use shutter speed priority around 1/100 of a sec. Bump up your ISO if there is not enough light.
     
  10. KKJUN

    KKJUN TPF Noob!

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    Spot metering? Might work, but I was never in a similar situation.
     
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Is it even going to be dark? Everyone is assuming that it's going to be pitch black in there...

    Some people turn all of the lights off when they blow the candles out, some don't...

    If the lights are on & the blinds open, it shouldn't be too big of a deal. You just have to decide if you want a slow enough shutter speed to show motion in the flames, or not. Set everything else to make that shutter speed work.

    If it's going to be dark, with the candles as the only light source - well, you better get the picture before they all are blown out. :lol:

    This was shot on a 350D (XT) with the 85mm f/1.8 at ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/80th sec, handheld:
    [​IMG]
    bigger

    You are going to have to raise the ISO pretty high to shoot only by candle light with your lenses. Here, a fast prime was just barely fast enough. I did leave the ISO at 100 though... Going up to 1600 or so would have helped, but I would have a lot of noise too.

    I would try to talk them into leaving the lights on, if they don't normally do that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  12. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    The OP specified a dark room.
     

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