Low Light Event photos

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hcham22, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Hcham22

    Hcham22 TPF Noob!

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    Hi, I need advise on shooting Indoor event photos, no flash as its more candid, currently experiencing slightly blurred photos.


     
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  2. tecboy

    tecboy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why no flash?
     
  3. Gary A.

    Gary A. Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There are three main causes of blur:
    1. Not properly focused;
    2. Hand/Camera shake, your shutter speed is too slow to stop the camera from moving; and
    3. Subject Motion, your subjects are moving too fast for the shutter to stop the motion.

    For starter, shoot using the 'Rule of Thumb' for your shutter speed. The shutter speed should not be lower than the reciprocal of the focal length. So if you're shooting with a 50mm lens, then your shutter speed should not be less than 1/50 of a second. If you're shooting a 200mm lens, then 1/200th, et cetera.

    The Rule of Thumb will take care of blur caused camera-shake.

    The next thing to consider is the motion of the subjects. If the subjects are sedentary, then you're okay with a shutter speed based upon the Rule of Thumb. If your subjects are moving, then you gotta up the shutter speed to compensate for the motion. The quicker/faster the motion, the higher the shutter speed. Walking type speed you can get by within a range of 1/60 to 1/125+. For something faster like dancing then 1/125 to 1/250+.

    The 1/60 for walking and 1/125 dancing are really on the low end and requires panning with the subjects and waiting for the peak of action to minimize blur. For a new person to photography, it is always better to overcompensate with a higher shutter speed and as your photography progresses, you'll pick up low light shooting techniques.

    Start with the Rule of Thumb as a baseline, then adjust upwards to accommodate subject speed. You attain a proper exposure by opening up the lens aperture, or with adjusting the ISO upwards to 800, 1600, 3200 et al ... or you do both, open up the lens and adjust the ISO.

    All these setting interact with each other and the image, I've tried to keep it simple. (Remember that the higher the ISO goes the greater the degradation (noise) of the image. The larger the aperture of the lens, the less depth of field ... and so on.)
     
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  4. DGMPhotography

    DGMPhotography Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You need to determine what the most important aspect of the photos are, for you. Is it stopping motion? Is it depth of field? Etc. Once you determine that, you set that setting to where it needs to be, and then compensate with the other two (the exposure triangle). This is where a full frame camera comes in handy, as they are typically able to reach much higher ISOs without noise/grain.

    Also, did the event planners tell you you can't use a flash, or is that a limitation you set for yourself? You can get "candid" shots using a flash.
     
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  5. Hcham22

    Hcham22 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advise, the event planner prefers no flash and have been told theres natural light but wanted to make sure my images aren't blurry. My camera is 5 years old but is a full frame camera and has been fine and is perfect in outdoor situations but lately indoor with no flash and low light seems to reduce the quality of the image.
     
  6. Hcham22

    Hcham22 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks you for the tips. I'll try these out. the event will be people standing and chatting for the most part i just want to make sure i get the best quality images
     
  7. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Remember - ISO IS YOUR FRIEND.
     
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  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've done events without using a flash. Go early, figure out where the light seems the best. I usually avoid darker corners of the room.

    Notice where in the room the lights are and where there is more light hitting areas where subjects will be standing. You could take some test shots of table decorations, etc. Sometimes facing a different direction can give you better light. Figure out some good vantage points.

    Sounds like you'll probably need a faster shutter speed than what you've been using. In lower light you may not get the same quality images as you would shooting outdoors in more light (because a camera records light). Figure out what settings for your camera will give you pictures without blur and without too much noise.

    It takes learning and practice. Maybe go to an event that allows attendees to bring cameras and take pictures and get in some practice. The more you practice the better you should get at holding the camera steady so in lower light you can avoid movement blur.
     
  9. pixmedic

    pixmedic The Mustached Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    largest sensor possible.
    ISO as high as you can reasonably go and still get acceptable results.
    slowest shutter speed you can handhold and still stop whatever movement the subject has.
    widest aperture possible while still getting the DOF you need/want.
     
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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You have been given some good advice above. One thing to remember: at wider apertures, like f/1.8 or f/2 or f/2.8, that although there is not a "lot" of depth of field, at longer camera-to-subject distances, depth of field is less of an issue than when the camera is very close to the subject. In some situations,where people are 15 to 25 feet from the camera, there will be adequate depth of field to render a "scene" reasonably well, even at wider aperture settings.

    Shoot the even as you see fit, but keep in mind that by photographing from somewhat of a distance, that many scenes can be rendered in a satisfactory manner even at wide f/stops.

    Indoors in most sizes of rooms, depth of field is fairly dependendent upon camera-to-subject distance, more so than the aperture or focal length used. Moving farther back can increase the DOF to a pretty good degree in most rooms, especially with shorter lenses like 20,24,35,50mm.
     
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  11. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Another trick::
    Practice holding the camera as high as you can up in the air. In crowds you can get some distance between you and the subject and also get some shots that include more people.
     
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  12. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My normal advice is... use a flash (but know how to use the flash).

    Can you provide more details about the event and why the event planner says not using a flash would be “preferred” (but it doesn’t sound like it’s required)?

    Is this a sports game?
    Is this a concert?
    Is this theater?
    Is this a private party?

    Realistically what sort of lighting do you expect to encounter at this event?

    I’ve done concerts in poor lighting and with no flash... but I was using a 135mm f/2 lens or a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with image stabilization.

    But if someone said “I want the best images... whatever it takes”... they’re getting flash photos. Those WILL be the best (the lighting you can control is always best).

    If I can, then I’ll use flash in aperture priority mode. You didn’t mention what camera you have. My camera lets me set the shutter speed range when using aperture priority WITH a flash (mine is set to not allow shutter speeds slower than 1/60th) and this lets me nicely illuminate the subject in the foreground... but allow enough time for the ambient light to illuminate the background. It creates a nice balance and the overall mood of the event comes through. Without doing that, flash could result in a bright foreground with a background that fades to black and the images aren’t very attractive.
     

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