Need techniques for shooting people at conventions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by iriairi, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. iriairi

    iriairi TPF Noob!

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    I am going to a convention in San Diego soon and have been looking for tips for taking pictures. I mostly take pics of waterfalls and flowers, but am wanting to improve my technique with people.

    I have an XTi and have 24-105 f4 IS Canon and a 50 f1.8 Canon as well. I am renting the Canon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS just to play with. I have an external flash also. I also have a manfrotto tripod and monopod. Wasn't wanting to lug the tripod with me around the convention though...

    My question is, which lens would you use most of the time to get candids of people in the convention hall? I see advangtages to all of them, and could swap out, but just wanted some tips. I have tried to find some previous threads or links, but nothing that was really covering this kind of event.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'm no pro at this but since no one else has replied, I'll give you what little experience I have had.

    Using a mid-range zoom is a good idea. I've used a 28-100 with some excellent results at various events I've shot. Certainly the faster the lens, the better, but since you are likely to be indoors, you're going to need to be using a flash, it won't matter *too* much. A slightly broader zoom would be handy as well (like an 18-135), but you'll likely get away with the 28-100.

    YOU NEED A FLASH. :) Get one you can bounce off the ceiling, do NOT use the on-camera flash. That does horrid things to people's faces. If it's a low ceiling place with light colors on the ceiling, you can probably get away with a simple bounce flash and a plastic diffuser... if there are high ceilings, you will need a "bounce card", which is something stuck on the top of the flash to act as a portable ceiling and bounces the light in a more diffused way at the subject.

    The cheater way of doing this is taping an index card to the back of the flash, but you can also buy some nicer ones at camera stores and online... unfortunately I can't remember what the heck they call these and my daughter is waiting for me to get off the computer so I can't go look for it right now.

    As far is what to shoot, I can't help as much there... I've more done events than conventions. Convention is a way bigger scale.
     
  3. iriairi

    iriairi TPF Noob!

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    Thanks manaheim. The ceilings will likely be high (the usually are at conventions...) I do have an external flash and even have constructed a bounce card for it. I guess I just need to get used to the attention they seem to draw. Maybe at a convention in CA it won't make me stick out like a sore thumb as there will be others there with more than just compact/point and shoots...

    iriairi (being shy with her camera)
     
  4. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Having any sort of SLR tends to get you some looks, particularly if you're not just shooting casually. You should have seen some of the looks I got holding one on top of a 6' ladder in the middle of a strip mall parking lot. Ok, granted, that was likely the ladder and not the camera, but still. :) :lol:

    I've learned over time to just give people a big smile and say "don't mind me!". That works a lot. Sometimes people are curious and just want to know what you're up to and may ask you some questions if you flash 'em a smile.
     
  5. iriairi

    iriairi TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I feel good about my waterfall shots, but people are really tough for me, but something that I would really like to do well.

    by the way I like your avatar...
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  6. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

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    Why not just use your 50mm 1.8?
     
  7. iriairi

    iriairi TPF Noob!

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    reg-

    I guess that is what I am trying to find out. The speed is better with that, but isn't 24-105 better glass. And if I want to get shots of people that are casual and unposed, wouldn't I be better with the 75-300. I guess I see the merits of all of them just wanted some one who took more people shots to give me their experience... So you are throwing in your vote for the 50mm 1.8
     
  8. midlight21

    midlight21 TPF Noob!

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    Robin, going to the San Diego Comicon? If so...the ceilings are very high!!! The main convention room is huge and there will always be someone in the way of a good picture. There are good pics to be taken though. The last year that my husband and I went, I got a very nice black and white shot of him with two of the actors from Farscape.
     
  9. Easy_Target

    Easy_Target TPF Noob!

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    Need techniques for shooting people at conventions? Um..i'd say pack light, but have lots of ammo, aim for the upper torso...and reload quickly. Oops, wrong type of shooting, but I guess it still applies. :D

    To answer your question, I'd say an 18-55 is the minimum requirement. I personally would've liked to have it up to 70mm, but that wasn't a choice.

    I shot these during Otakon 07 in Baltimore using a D50 and an 18-55mm lens.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/90374740@N00/sets/72157601003541973/
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Heh, you and I are reversed. I like my people shots. My pictures of nature don't qualify to be used as toilet paper. :lol:

    Thanks (about my avatar). I'm pretty proud of my goofy idea, but not many people seem to notice. :)

    Only problem with a prime is yer gonna wind up having to move in to get the shot you want, and if you're taking pics of people who are milling around a convention hall, that might be challenging... of course, you do have to get close enough for the flash to work...
     
  11. iriairi

    iriairi TPF Noob!

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    Midlight21-

    Yep that is where I am going. I figured that the ceilings would be high from my anime con experience. Hopefully I will come back with some interesting shots/candids.

    Easy_Target-

    So you come down on manaheim's side that my 24-105 is the go to lens for this event?

    Do you guys hand hold? Or do you mess with a monopod at all?
     
  12. Easy_Target

    Easy_Target TPF Noob!

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    If it's a DSLR, then you'll need 18mm to about 70mm. I don't know about going all the way into the triple digits, it seems a bit...voyeuristic. Might not go well with some con-goers. I hand held only during otakon, primarily because the convention center has a lot of glass and is brightly lit indoors.

    Comicon is a bit different from otakon, but there's probably a good amount of what I refer to as "jailbait." Even if the photography is completely legal, you might want to be careful in case you encounter anyway.
     

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