Pictures of Orchestra

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Sabiesh, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Sabiesh

    Sabiesh TPF Noob!

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    I've been asked to take pictures of my orchestra in rehearsal and in concert. I'll be doing the rehearsals first, and they take place in a large room with bright fluorescent light overhead. It seems like that kind of lighting will cast shadows under people's eyes. Does anyone have any ideas about what to do about that? Also, any ideas about f-stops and shutter speeds, ISO?

    I should add that I am very new to digital photography--I just bought a Canon SLR Digital Rebel, and am taking a beginning photography class at NESOP.
    Heather
     
  2. Sabiesh

    Sabiesh TPF Noob!

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    Well, I think I can answer my own question a little now: I've just studied several websites, and noticed that pictures of individual orchestra members playing are often taken from the side, which doesn't really focus on the face front on, so the eyes aren't too dark. Also, there are a lot of pictures that focus on the instruments rather than faces, so once again the lighting doesn't matter as much. Then there are other pictures that take a row of a single instrument, such as violins, so again the focus is not on the face. So I think it's a matter of what to focus on, and I won't worry about the lighting.
     
  3. PachelbelsCanon350D

    PachelbelsCanon350D TPF Noob!

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    I think that's a good start, but I would worry about lighting just a little. ;) Set your white balance so that the fluorescent lights do not photograph as a sickening color, as they have the tendency to do. You get home and your photos look sick green or yellow or whatever kind of light they put out.
    But you neutralize that by setting a custom white balance (it's easy to do, and it's in the manual that comes with the camera I believe) and you'll have much less computer work to do when you're finished shooting.

    As for shutter speed and f-stops...usually what I do when I'm inside is shoot in full manual. If I'm shooting handheld, I set the shutter speed to 60 at the ABSOLUTE slowest, because I've got shaky hands. Preferably 100 if I can squeeze it in. Then I adjust the aperture to compensate, underexposing just a touch because for me it's easier to fix an underexposed shot than an blown-out shot.

    And I never, ever, ever use the pop-up flash. Maybe it's a personal thing for me but, I can't stand it. It blasts intense light in people's faces and makes them look shiny, flat, and weird. :lol:
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I agree with the flash. On the Rebel you should be able to dial back on the flash power, so using it as a fill would be an option. Using it at full power would look crappy, in my opinion.

    Everyone works differently. For me, I tend to use aperture-priority mode and set the aperture to get the DOF I want for the image, then I let the camera set the sutter, watching to make sure it isn't slower than 1/focal-length. If using a 50mm on the digital rebel, it would be 1/90th. (50 x 1.6 = 80). If it's too slow, I either move the ISO or budge on the aperture.
     
  5. Polygon

    Polygon TPF Noob!

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    Consider shooting RAW given that you have enough memory capacity. It will allow you to set the white balance later.
     
  6. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As an orchestra musician I can tell you that the use of flash is the most detestable thing for us when playing something. You focus on the little black dots called notes, it's pretty dark outside the stage, your eyes are somewhat dilated and then ZAPPP!! the flash goes off. It kills our eyes!

    Be polite and don't use flash, use the camera at a higher ASA setting and balance for fluorescent light. You can also doctor it in PS if you need.

    Good luck.
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    What? Consideration for the subject? But we are artistes!

    Of course they are hold large wooden and metal objects, so yeah, I guess that would be a good idea.
     
  8. PachelbelsCanon350D

    PachelbelsCanon350D TPF Noob!

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    :lol: *Pops the flash in Mitica's eyes and runs away* Just kiddin'...I hear ya....I'm a musician too. You can't see those little black dots for a good seven seconds after someone blasts you in the face.
     
  9. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    This isn't going to be a particularly helpful post, but what Mark's described is precisely what I do as well.

    Except for the bit about worrying about 1/focal... I'm like Chuck Norris you see (I don't shake) and can hand-hold down to a 1/8th pretty confidently. :lol:

    Rob
     
  10. montresor

    montresor TPF Noob!

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    Have photographed players onstage at Severance Hall in Cleveland and found the light there good enough, and music on stands reflected enough of it up to their faces, so I never needed to use a flash. Flourescent light, no problem, do what the other guys said.
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    You'd shake if Chuck Norris was on the tuba. Whales 200 miles away would shake in terror.

    I don't pay attention to that as often as I suggest, but pay for it sometimes. My hands aren't as steady as they used to be.
     
  12. Sabiesh

    Sabiesh TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for your advice! That all makes sense, and I'll try to take the pictures without flash.

    I was wondering, do you know how to turn the flash off on my kind of camera (Canon Rebel XT)? I looked in the manual, but it seems to imply that the only way to do it is to have it on an automatic setting--I'd like to turn the flash off while the camera is in Av mode.
     

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