Nightclub Photography

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by onedayillknowbetter, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    I just got my second job working in Nightclubs; the last job I had like this was over a year ago, and I did not get to retain any rights to the photos I took. This is different now, and I have full rights, and am responsible for uploading them. The only thing is, the photographer who hired me told me my pictures were too dark, when I thought they were over exposed.

    For the next time I work in a club, so I don't spend hours at the computer with the photos, does anyone have any helpful hints when shooting in nightclubs or bars? I want to have properly exposed people, but still capture the lights in the club. I shoot with a Canon 40D, 18-55mm stock lens, 50mm 1.8, and 28-135mm IS lenses and a Sigma EF-500 DGST.
    Recently, I took most of my photos at ISO 1600, firing the external flash, and exposing the picture on Tv setting at 1/10 sec. Here is one of the images I got the other night

    [​IMG]

    Any help at all is appreciated!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    If you have the space to work, I'd stick with the 50mm F1.8. The larger aperture will make it easier to get background exposure.

    Personally, I would use manual mode. Set an aperture that will give you the DOF you want (keeping in mind that a larger aperture will help with ambient exposure and require less power from the flash). The Camera's metering will take care of the flash power and match it to your aperture. Then you can set your shutter speed for the ambient (background) exposure. Longer speeds will mean more ambient...but that also means blurry ambient. Sometimes that can give a fun mood to bar/party shots...but that's up to you.

    Raising the ISO will also help to get more ambient exposure.

    Lastly, you may need to adjust the FEC. The example you posted, does look underexposed (the people). Even though the camera does meter and set the flash power, it's not uncommon for it to be under or over exposed...so that's where FEC comes in. It will take some trial and error...but maybe you set it on +1 and leave it there all night.
     
  3. Jermz_01

    Jermz_01 TPF Noob!

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    did the "guy" hiring you think the above picture was "too dark"?
     
  4. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    1/10? Do you want any keepers?

    How low is the ceiling? You could possibly bounce off the ceiling with a catchlight card...and try around 1/30. If the people move at all at 1/10 you're screwed...

    Just a suggestion. If the ceiling is too high though...you might just be blowing your power into the wind.
     
  5. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    I usually bounce the flash off the ceiling, but in clubs, it's generally a super high ceiling. I got quite a few keepers at 1/10. Actually, some of my best pictures were shot at that exposure. When I try a shorter exposure, like 1/30, I don't usually get the atmospheric light as well as the people. This is the issue I was having.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    If it's dark enough...you can shoot at any shutter speed because there won't be enough ambient light to cause noticeable blur.
     
  7. StylusFunk

    StylusFunk TPF Noob!

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    I do a lot of nightclub photography.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    I like to use a long shutter speed (.5 - 1sec) with my flash in 2nd Curtain Sync mode. This alows you to capture the ambient light effects of a nightclub, but still get a clear shot of your subjects. The flash fires at the end of the exposure in 2nd curtain sync, rather than the beginning. It will freeze the action even with a long exposure. I use low ISO settings too, like 200-400. See my site for more examples, I use different techniques for performer and large crowd shots.
     
  8. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    Haha It's so funny to receive an email to a post that I made months ago. My goodness, it's changed quite a bit for me. I discovered the 2nd Curtain about six months ago after doing a lot of experimenting and reading. (Actually, when I first started working in clubs using a flash that belonged to my boss, I started pushing buttons to see what worked. Had only I remembered sooner what button I was using, because it wound up being the 2nd curtain button!) My photos have improved by leaps and bounds since I re-membered it, and actually, I now have the job that I was filling in for someone, resulting in this original post. It's too much, almost.
    I do try to keep it under control, though, because over-doing the lights just looks really really bad sometimes, and it can ruin a photo. I recently started using this cheapie attachable fisheye lens, (by attachable, I mean it goes on the end of the lens attached to the camera lens...poor quality glass, but good enough for clubs) and the result has gone over very well. I like the extra length I get with it, and the people like the different look. fisheye+color+drunk people=happy people.
    Keep up the colors!
     
  9. clee27

    clee27 TPF Noob!

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    is this hand held? or with a tripod? i don't understand how you can shoot with a long shutter speed...am i missing something here...sorry i'm still learning >.<

    AMAZING PICTURES BOTH OF YOU!
     
  10. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Its light that creates the exposure, shutterspeed is immaterial, rear curtain sync allows the image to look correct FCS makes things go in reverse appearance wise, light travels at 186000 mp second, this will freeze anything, no need for tripod etc, a reasonably steady hand will hold at a second or so without detrimental effects. H

    See the shadow of the hand in the photograph, well thats where his hand was when the front curtain opened, the flash on the rear curtain exposes the hand correctly at the end of the exposure. H
     
  11. onedayillknowbetter

    onedayillknowbetter TPF Noob!

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    I noticed you're using a 10D...
    and, I'm gonna be honest, I have a 10D in addition to my 40D, and the two are not comparable. My 40D broke, and I had the choice of using my 10D or 350D (Rebel XT), and I used the 10D. Bad choice for this type of thing. It really didn't work out very well because the sensor is not as sensitive to light; the 10D came out in 2003, very near the beginning of digital cameras. Even with the special mode on the flash, I was not able to get decent looking photos using this method and a 10D. Maybe you will have more luck working in a different environment, though.

    See what I mean here:
    http://www.carolinedixey.com/073008/
    The first two rows of images on the first page were taken with my 40D, the rest were taken with my 10D, all were in the same venue.
     
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A simpler explanation: A flash creates a second exposure. The smaller speed lights like Nikon's SB's and Canon's EX's have a flash duration of up to 1/15,000 of a second at lower power. This will freeze anything it hits. If you do a 5 second exposure with the camera, everything will be blurry. If you add the flash, it will freeze whatever the light hits. So you'll have blurry ambient, but a frozen subject from the flash.

    Just like most cameras will only sync up to 1/250 unless you're using some kind of high speed sync mode. 1/250 shutter speed isn't fast enough to freeze action, but it can be fast enough to kill all ambient and when you're shooting with a flash that has a duration of 1/3300, that's the true exposure you're getting.

    Check out www.strobist.com It's about lighting with off camera flashes mainly, but there's still some valuable information about how flashes work in some of the older post. Check out the lighting 101 blog post. There's a drop down on the right side that has the whole series.
     

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