AW100 party photo tips

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Caroline82mcg, May 21, 2016.

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  1. Caroline82mcg

    Caroline82mcg TPF Noob!

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    Hi

    I am going to a 40th birthday tonight where ive been asked to take photos, im a guest not a photographer but they never take photos as i always take loads when were out. I take a lot of photos but im not in any way equipped to be taking photos for a special occassion!
    Were going for cocktails and dinner followed by a bar. So i imagine light will be fairly dim throughout.

    Is my best bet to stick on auto and hope for the best or are there particular settings i should adjust that will help get best results?

    Also is is better to take wider shots and edit down later or should i be using zoom? I dont want blurry shots is my main concern!

    Any tips welcome!


     
  2. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Do you have a wide prime, such as a 35mm 1.8?

    Do you own a speedlight that you can trigger off camera?

    Use a wide lens, get fairly close to your subjects, keep the shutter speed up, use good camera-holding techniques, auto ISO, and look for those special lighting effects such as dramatic light from the side. Ask the participants to position themselves "just so", meaning that you move them into position to take advantage of nice light. Yes, you have to actually take them by the arm, move them as you think best, and then ask them to turn their head in the way that you think they should. It might not always be "into the light", but you'll know it when you see it.
     
  3. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A lot depends on your camera when it comes to the scenario you outline. And you don't give any indication you have a DSLR. Given this is your first post on the forum, we can't even guess you ave great experience with controlling your camera.

    My first advice would be to spend as much time as you have available today to research the subject. Place two topics into a search engine and do some reading:

    1) "How to: low light photography"

    2) "How to: candid photography"

    You'll see many of the recommendations for each type of shot will be self contradictory to the other.

    Therefore, the type of photography you'll want to settle on will be a rapidly changing mix in which you will need to have certain control of your camera to make quick on the fly adjustments.

    If you are at the very least unfamiliar with the controls on your camera and how to quickly shift from, say, one ISO setting to another or guage depth of field by looking at your aperture setting, then I would say you should spend some time today with your camera and your owner's manual.

    In general, keep your ISO setting as high as possible for your camera before digital noise becomes an insurmountable issue. If you don't know where that point is, you might want to check a few reviews of your camera to see what the pros have determined. Otherwise, try an ISO of about 1600 and hope for the best.

    Determine just what your are being asked to in the course of the evening.

    If you are to take photos, you sort of give up being a guest. Your interaction with other guests will be minimized by the need to constantly assess a potential "photographic moment".


    For this you might want to take a few clues from "how to: wedding photography".

    A good wedding photographer learns to anticipate the moment. It's a good general statement that, if you wait to aim your camera until you see a good photograph, the best shot will have passed by the time you can have your camera ready to take the shot.

    Low light setting require your camera can take in a good deal of light in a short amount of time. If you have a DSLR with aperture control, I'd say set your camera to an aperture setting that will be as open as possible yet provide consistent depth of field to have everyone in focus. That means anticipating your environment and the way people will be arranged around a table or in a room.

    Refer to this guide for your overall "best" aperture setting; A Flexible Depth of Field Calculator

    Remember, the distance between the lens and the subject changes the available dof.


    In the situation you describe, you are typically never more than a few feet away from your subjects. You want everyone who should be in the frame to be in focus but you want as much light coming in the lens as possible.

    Slow shutter speeds, which will allow more light to enter the lens, will also risk camera shake which will result in out of focus images. "Compact" cameras are not great when it comes to low light photography due to the typically small sensor used in this genre of camera. If you don't have a DSLR, then, yeah, maybe just setting the camera to either full auto or "portrait" would be your best overall choice. If you have a good photo editor for processing your files and you are familiar with its use, then you can salvage a good many of those auto shots later.

    Are you being asked to obtain candid shots of the particpants? Or, will you be taking posed shots? Posed shots offer the best opportunity for flash though, if you are unfamiliar with your flash unit, you can have the deer in the headlights look to all of your subjects. (Go into your menu and switch on the red eye reduction.)

    Understand your focus points and how they operate with your camera.

    Candid shots do not mean asking everyone to line up for a shot. As such they are far more demanding of the photographer and their equipment.

    Frame your shots wider than you will be using for display, you can crop down later. Try to include any pertinent subjects such as glasses being raised or balloons floating overhead in your shot.

    If possible, set your camera to record both RAW and Jpeg files. Your Jpegs will be available for sending out the next morning and you'll easily be able to share your shots with others whose equipment won't accept RAW files.

    IMO you first determine whether you are a guest or a photographer. A photographer keeps their camera up and shooting most of the time. A guest waits for the shot to show up and has everyone wait for them.
     
  4. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "Great"?

    Let's just hope for "not terrible" at this point and then we can all be pleasantly surprised.

    It would be nice to know how the op did on the evening of.
     
  5. mcap1972

    mcap1972 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would take a 35mm fast lens (rent one of you don't own it) and possibly a speedlight (flash). You can start in Auto mode and then experiment a little.
     

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