Last minute advice

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by kdabbagh, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. kdabbagh

    kdabbagh TPF Noob!

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    So my friend wants me to be the photographer for a party he's throwing tomorrow at a lounge. He's willing to pay me for my work and to cover any equipment rental charges.

    I am still debating whether or not I should do it because I am mostly nervous since I have never done this kind of work before. I only have a Nikon D40x and a Nikkor 50mm 1.8. I've never used one of those mounted flashes nor do I really know how they work, but I am willing to rent one if that's something I'd really need.

    Does anyone have any advice? Can I pull this off with my D40x and 50mm? Anyone recommend shooting settings? (Shooting mode, ISO, White Balance, etc.) Or do I need to invest in renting some equipment. I don't expect he'll be paying me much so if you have any suggestions, keep a limited budget in mind. :)

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions...
     
  2. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow TPF Noob!

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    The fact that you're nervous and ask very basic questions means you should do one of the following:

    1. Don't do it.

    2. Do it, but don't receive payment. And set the low expectation with your friend. Tell him the truth about your new and coming skills.

    If you do either, you will not have a problem with your friend. If you had more time to learn and practice then giving you advice today would make a lot of sense. But it is the 11th hour and for that reason alone, I would choose #1 or #2 above.

    A party shoot is not as important as a wedding, but still, if your gut feeling shows insecurity in your ability to do it justice, then I would again choose 1 or 2.

    Don't take this the wrong way, please. The time to do paid work is not the time to be learning the basics.
     
  3. kdabbagh

    kdabbagh TPF Noob!

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    Appreciate your honesty and I can see where you're coming from.

    I just found out about this last minute (he told me an hour ago pretty much).

    I am not insecure, just unsure what to do. I've done low-light photography before but it was a stage setting so the stage lights and bumping up the ISO resulted in some really good results.

    I am just asking because I am sure someone on here had to do this kind of shoot before, so any advice would be nice.

    Now that SilverGlow told me why not to do it, someone tell me please how it can be done :)

    Thanks to all
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    I completely agree with the advice given by SilverGlow.

    If you are going to do it, I'd suggest getting an SB-600 flash unit. How you use it, will depend on the location, but I'd suggest pointing it upwards to bounce the light off of the ceiling...and maybe add a simple bounce card.
     
  5. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As long as your friend is 100% that you are not a professional, with professional equipment and professional skills…just to make sure he doesn’t expect professional results, then go for it.

    Its always hard to shoot an event. I’m trying to learn myself and doing as many freebies as I can. So there is no better way to learn than to do.

    But if your friend is expecting these amazing shots to keep in an album to show his kids or grandkids about the fun he used to have, well, then you may not be able to deliver.

    If you do decide to do this (in your place, I would, as long as expectations are 100% clear), make sure you get all the basics set such as batteries and memory.

    Make sure you are shooting in RAW

    Arrive early and take some prelim pictures to check the lightning and maybe look for some areas where portraits can look good (or bad).

    With a 50mm lens, you will have to get close for some shots. This might be hard depending on how the party is going…or it might be easy if everyone is just lounging around.

    I don’t have comments on a flash, as I don’t own one myself.
    If I were to go, I’d have a 28-135mm lens along with my 50mm. Just something to allow for some zooming and a shorter focal length for group shots. As you are in a lounge, you might be space limited getting many people in with a 50mm.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Each location is special and specific. No one here will be able to tell you how to do it. The best thing is to grab your camera, go there and practice. If you cannot get the quality you need, grab a flash and practice with that. If you *still* cannot get it, you should have gone with option #1... lol
     
  7. Ls3D

    Ls3D TPF Noob!

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    I tend to agree,.. AND,.. sometimes it is what you do not know, that does not get in your way :confused:. A paradox I know, but blindly going into a situation like this could also be a good experience.

    If I had all the facts on some of my bold moves, well I would not have been so bold! :thumbup:

    BTW - Auto white balance works pretty well for beginners, and informed noobs can shoot RAW, so they can fix the color temp and numerous other things IF needed.

    So maybe rent a flash kit and use as suggested, a few primes would not cost much to rent if you are comfortable with primes.

    Most of all just breath,.. review your shots on a computer if possible (passing memory card to assistant, while you keep shooting) to make sure your shutter is quick enough, etc.. Brush up on flash & exposure compensations so you know just how to access & adjust them in a busy public setting.

    Have fun!

    -Shea
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My take on this, go for it what do you have to lose you will need a flash shoot in aperture priority try F2.8 you may have to go to F1.8 , center focus point be preparded to manual focus, center weighted metering, flash set to ettl iso 400 for starters and see what you get up the iso if needed and try + or - flash compensation, if you rent a flash ask if you can have a stoffen to fit and shoot it at 45 degrees,
    If they don't turn out great let him have them free if they are ok get some cash, most people don't know a good shot and if it has too much flash

    Good luck:thumbup:
     
  9. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    50mm is a little long for a party. I usually see people in the clubs and stuff with 12-24mm lenses.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I second SilverGlow's sentiments....

    Make sure you do a few events "for fun" with no obligations nor expectations to build up some confidence and experience. I know.. I know.. people always ask others to "play" photographer for this or that event but in the end... the expectations are generally higher regardless if they are conscious about it or not.

    If you do it, get some practice in with a good flash.. as Mike said. BUT be aware that many clubs and lounges have BLACK painted ceilings which makes bouncing off the ceiling completely useless. I personally fell into that trap once and had to fashion a DIY diffuser on my flash last minute; white cloth napkin and rubber bands.
     
  11. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Some tips I might offer when shooting an event...

    1. Try to get at least one nice image of everyone in attendance.
    2. Try to get images of people interacting. Keep in mind that emotions people are feeling carry into the image, and frequently capturing those can be very powerful.
    3. Try to avoid posed shots if you can. (personal preference, though it depends very much on the event!)
    4. Try to get some shots of the environment to carry a sense of what this event was about... ideally people in key elements of the environment would be great. Try to capture the mood.
    5. DEFINITELY you want a flash if it's an internal event. Rent or buy an SB600. 800s are great but they may be more than you need and cycle a bit slower than the 600. Absolutely positively, no questions asked. DO NOT point the flash in people's faces. Bounce it off ceilings and walls.
    6. Be sure to bring 2 full sets of lithium batteries for the flash (NOT alkalines!!! they are horrible in flashes), but be wary that lithiums heat up a lot when used so be sure to give your flash a break occasionally.
    7. If you can, I would absolutely recommend using a zoom of some kind- the larger the event the more zoom you may want, but in a typical cozy setting of a house or something a range of 24-80ish or so will do a great job for you. Wider and more telephoto is good, but that's a good target.
    8. If you get a new lens before the shoot MAKE SURE to practice with the lens a lot and get comfortable with it. All lenses are different and it's good to understand the characteristics of how each behaves before using it. I recommend taking 20 shots, looking at results and repeating the process 3-4 times, tuning as you go. Also good to research the characteristics of the individual lens so you know its sweet spot. (look here)
    9. Bring any backup stuff you can. Bring your other lens, bring a spare memory card, etc. If you have an extra body or know someone who has one you can borrow for the night, it's good to have just in case.
    Well, that's what I can think of off the top of my head. Good luck! Be sure to post your results!
     
  12. kdabbagh

    kdabbagh TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for everyone's input, especially manaheim. Some of your tips saved me.

    This night was horrible for me. My inexperience and nervousness took its toll on me as I failed to realize both lenses I had, the 50 mm and a 24-84 (rented), were AF lenses that would not autofocus with my D40x. I have no one to blame but myself for this stupid mistake. It was almost impossible to know if I had the subjects in focus because the place was very dark. So it was a guessing game most of the time. People were grabbing me left right and centre asking me to take their pics. So I had to learn on the go. I was using the SB 800 for the first time and I asked the guy at Vistek to just show me how to set it to auto TTL and thats all.

    Either way, with all the complications, I stayed the whole night and did what I can. At the end of the night I told my friend I won't be taking any money from him because things didn't turn out the way I hoped (He knew it was my first time doing an event like this and first time using flash). Anyways, I went hope and did some editing on the photos and sent him the final product. Him and his friends were delighted with the pics, to my surprise, and came to my house and insisted that I get paid. It made me feel a bit better and I'll show you the pics hoping to get any tips for the future...please go easy am a newb :p

    here they are
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kareemd/show/
     

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