Shooting in different situations

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by BoxPhotographer, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. BoxPhotographer

    BoxPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I own a Nikon D80, with a SB-600 speedlight and 18-200mm lens. I was shooting at a forum today and the lighting was terrible. There where shadows behind the subject, and the subject wasn't lit up enough. What can I do to eliminate this? I could crank up the noise, but what program do you guys use to take away noise?

    Another situation is outside, probably sunny, of a band ensemble. I'll probably have a tripod, and I'm guessing a f stop of 8-11.

    Another situation is during a high school assembly, and there is a spotlight on someone. I haven't shot in this situation so what do you guys recommend for settings?

    I may have more questions later.
     
  2. CrazyCanuck

    CrazyCanuck TPF Noob!

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    Get that SB600 off camera if you can. Both the flash and your D80 are Nikon CLS compatible.

    I shot a few high school assemblies and talent shows as a favour for a friend, and in the auditorium I was in, the 2000W spot had just enough power to light the subject at F2.8( wide open on my 80-200) at 1/30th at ISO 800. I was not on a tripod, but I was on a monopod and I shot in bursts, picking the sharpest out of the group.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    If you could post up some examples, we could more easily pin point the problems and recommend solutions.

    Was your camera turned to vertical/portrait orientation? If so, the shadows are probably a result of your flash being to the side of the lens, rather than directly above. This is where a flash bracket comes in handy.
    If the subjects aren't lit up, it's likely that your i-TTL (auto flash metering) is picking up something as bright, which causes it to use less flash output. The solution is to adjust your FEC (flash exposure compensation).

    Turning up the ISO will give you more ambient exposure, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the situation. It does give you more noise, but getting the right exposure really helps with that. There are plenty of programs to combat digital noise. Noise Ninja and Neat Image are/were a couple popular one. I just use the noise reduction in Lightrooom.

    An aperture of F8 to F11 should be good to help you get a deep enough DOF to get a group in focus, but you may need more, depending on the size/depth of the group and how close you are to them. Using a tripos is usually a good idea, but if your shutter speeds are fast enough, you probably don't need it. The thing to watch for when shooting in the sun, is the dark shadows it causes on people's faces. You could try using your flash to brighten up those shadows (fill flash) but you may not have enough power in that flash to shoot at F11 outdoors in the sun.

    What you need to do, is find out what settings work for the light that is just in the spot light, not the surrounding darkness. So if you could get close and take a meter reading of someone in the spotlight...lock those settings in (manual mode). Then you can back up and shoot with those settings and have proper exposure. Keep in mind the shutter speed because it will cause blur if it's too slow. Crank up the ISO if you can't get fast enough shutter speeds.
     
  4. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 TPF Noob!

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    One thing not mentioned is that indoors you can try to bounce the flash(provided the ceiling is low enough) to reduce shadows and soften the light.
     
  5. BoxPhotographer

    BoxPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    Here's an example. Most of them turned out like this. I did shoot in RAW, so when the flash didn't fire, I could fix that picture.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I looked at the EXIF example of the man with the microphone. It was shot at ISO 100, at f/5.3 at 1/60 second in an automatic exposure mode. The shot is terribly underexposed, which makes me think your camera was set to a fundamentally wrong exposure setting--almost as if there was some flash exposure compensation dialed in, or the flash was set to a fractional power setting.

    Knowing what I know about photography,and with the EXIF information showing me that the photo was made at 75mm focal length, and looking at the closeness of the man's attached shadow, I am almost positive that you have a fundamental error in your camera settings, and Minus Flash COmpensation is my guess. Given the power of an SB-600 and the distance from the camera to subject,and the distance of the man from the wall, I think you've accidentally depressed the flash +/- button,and dialed in Minus 2.7 stops of flash exposure compensation, which is easy to do if you're not paying attention. In post, I opened the JPEG and slid the slider to + 2.7 and the exposure looks fairly accurately rendered.

    Check the flash and the camera body for Minus Flash compensation. I'm not intimately familiar with the D80. But I have accidentally done what you have done a time or two in the past decade.
     

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