Shooting an indoor party

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by julie32, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    good morning-----

    I'm not experienced using an on camera flash. I do have a 580EX for my 20D. Is there a safe rule of thumb or any pearl of wisdom you can offer me regarding where my flash should point? Picture a dinner party in a nice restaurant without terrible florescent lighting...but low lighting none the less. It will be only me, so anything that would involve more than one person won't work.

    I don't know whether to point the flash to the ceiling or at the subject. No windows available. I do have a diffuser to put on the flash itself.

    Thank you very much
    julie
     
  2. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    My personal preference is a Stroboframe bracket for the flash head AND use the diffuser. Be careful about distance with the diffuser. You've probably seen this bracket at weddings. It holds the flash about fifteen inches above the lens. Eliminates the red-eye problem and provides better modeling. It ain't cheap. Figure on US$80 for the bracket plus another US$90 for the cable to use with it.

    This is a candid of my grand-daughter. The shot is exactly what came out of the camera - absolutely zero post-pricessing, not even cropping. I did use the Stroboframe bracket but I completely forgot about the diffuser. I couldn't use bounce flash because my Yuppie son has a house with ten-foot ceilings!
    http://web.mac.com/george.dick/Photos/Katie.html
     
  3. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Socrates. I actually have a stroboframe, good idea to use it. I sort of forgot about it!
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    There are any number of way to shoot something like this.

    If the place has nice ambiance, you might want to show that in the photos...so you would want to turn the flash off. Of course, that might mean trouble with slow shutter speeds.

    As mentioned, a bracket will help by getting the flash away from the lens and a flip or rotate bracket will keep the flash above the camera in portrait orientation, which should eliminate side shadows.

    If you just want clear, crisp shots with soft lighting, rather than trying to preserve the mood. Then I'd probably go with bounce flash. Aim the flash up to the ceiling, at a wall...or even at the wall/ceiling directly behind you. Just be watchful for the color of the reflecting surface...a strong color will show up in the photos.
     
  5. julie32

    julie32 TPF Noob!

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    Mike,

    Thank you, exactly what I needed to hear.
     
  6. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Absolutely essential. You certainly don't want the flash fifteen inches to the side! The brackets that don't have that accommodation are intended for square format cameras, such as 2-1/4" where there's no such thing as landscape vs. portrait.
     
  7. nicfargo

    nicfargo TPF Noob!

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    I'd either use a stroboframe (which since you have one you're better off) or at least bounce the flash. I never, never, never shoot with the flash aimed directly at someone unless I have a small softbox or something on the flash. It produces too hard of shadows...and I figure any P&S could give those kind of results. No sense in have an SLR if you're not going to take advantage of what you can do with it.
     
  8. brileyphotog

    brileyphotog TPF Noob!

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    I like bounce flash when the ceilings are low enough. If you have a cable, in a pinch you can just handhold the flash unit - I do that a lot with journalism type stuff because it is hard to run fast/slide into tight corners/not draw attention to yourself with one of those enormous brackets. :)

    But in all seriousness, for what you're doing, the bracket seems like a good investment for you.

    Also, somebody said don't hold the flash 15 inches out to the side. You can get some cool effects moving the flash around. Play around with it (just not while shooting for a client)
     

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