Lighting in a Club setting for a Nikon?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Joker Shots, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Joker Shots

    Joker Shots TPF Noob!

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    This is my first post here and I need to ask you guys a question. I take a lot of photos for a promoter in NYC in club settings. I, currently, own a Nikon D40 and am using the pop up flash. This usually gives me photos that are either too bright or, if the flash is off, too dark. I am looking for something that would capture the dark ambience of the room, allowing for lazers and stobe lighting to be caught, yet still clearly display subjects in the foreground.
    Any help, advice, suggestions, criticism will help me. Thank you.
     
  2. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Personally, I'd think some sort of portable diffuser on a *real* flash (bloody pop-ups have guide numbers of what, 16m? >.< ) would work best. If there's a surface to do it, you could always dump the diffuser/bounce card for a moment and bounce the flash off something. In a club, the overall lighting conditions ought to stay the same (I say "same" very loosely) from shot to shot, so going on manual, dragging the shutter and then doing some test shots to find the right f-stop and flash power might be the way to go. Or you could try TTL (not sure how it would behave in such a crazy lighting scene; I've got to try that sometime) with a slight positive bias.

    As for criticism, you might have to post some pictures for that to happen. ;)
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Buy a hotshoe mounted flash.

    Shutter speed controls the exposure of ambient light.
    Aperture controls the exposure of the flash.

    Use those two to get Background and Foregound exposed.
    This is something you want to play with ...
    Some camera's actually have a "mode" for this.
     
  4. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget fast glass... 50mm f/1.4 would help quite nicely I'd think.
     
  5. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Aperture controls the exposure of the flash and ambient light. If you start stopping-up or -down the aperture to adjust flash exposure, you need to adjust the shutter speed to compensate to keep the background exposure the same (unless you actually do want to change the entire exposure). Personally I try to change the flash settings first, and if I have to push it to full power and still don't get the effect I want, then I'll stop-up the aperture to get more exposure from the flash.

    Fast glass will help, just don't get *too* close to the subject, especially since the D40 has a compact sensor. If you get in really close, the DoF at 1.4 is literally going to be razor thin, and that will most assuredly be a problem in a club when people are moving all over. With that much motion, I doubt you can safely go much below f/4.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You need 2 lenses that can open wider and let in more light (a fast lens, aka fast glass).
    You need a camera that can perform better in low light (high ISO).
    You need a good speedlight and flash bracket and the knowledge to use both the flash and the camera.

    Get a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR ($2000, that's just 1 lens, but fast and you've get some reach (magnification)) and the 50mm f/1.4 ($480.)
    Get a Nikon D300 12 MP (body only, $1800. Good at high ISO)
    Get a Nikon SB-900 flash ($450, good speedlight)

    Sell the D40. (used $350 with lens)

    $4380 and you're set.

    You can use the lenses and the speedlight on the D40 and not spend the $1800 for the D300, but the D300 has twice as many pixels as the D40 and the image quality will blow you away. Plus all the other great features it has it's worth it.
     

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