Last chance to save me from making horrific mistakes :)

jjd228

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This is going to be an annoying post :D

I'm going to a convention tomorrow night. My wife is one of the featured models so I'm bringing a camera to take as many shots as I can of her and the rest of the convention. It's being held in a very big hotel/convention center so as you might imagine there will be several aisles with hundreds of booths and exhibits. Most of the areas will be well lit but there will also be some exhibits with less light due to the nature of the convention. I'll be photographing mostly people - people posing with models etc. As I'll be walking around and every shot will be different than the last, I can't imagine how manual mode would be a good choice. So here come the annoying questions :blushing:

If you're kind enough to answer, please do so from the standpoint of what YOU would do, based on the information I have provided above. I would like to have a good settings starting point based on feedback from people that have much more knowledge and experience than I do. From that starting point maybe I'll tweak things here and there, but this is how I learn. I'll post some of the shots I get so you can see what you created.

My bag will have the following contents:

Canon t4i
Canon 18-55 is II lens
Canon 50mm 1.4 USM lens
Canon 430ex II Speedlite w/ Omni Bounce Diffuser


As far as settings, these were my initial thoughts:

P mode
ISO 100 (if possible)
Standard picture style
Auto lighting optimizer off
Spot metering (really not sure about this so please comment)
Auto white balance


If you don't think any of this is a "good" starting point, or if you would use some other mode or combination of settings, please tell me.

As far as the flash goes, I don't know :confused:
Should I use it? And if so should I just leave it on ETTL, or manually set a lower flash output maybe?

Thanks everyone!
 

runnah

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You're ISO is way too low for what you are describing. 400 is a better choice IMO.
 

tirediron

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You should absolutely use the flash!!! In fact without it I'm guessing that your hope of using ISO 100 is very, very VERY optimistic. With no flash I would expect to be shooting at more like ISO 1600 - 3200. Indoor halls may seem bright to your eye, but NOT to the camera. Set the camera to 'P' and E-TTL and raise your ISO to 400; this will still give you clean images, and really reduce the work your flash has to do (or, give you a lot more work for the same battery power). I'm not overly familiar with your diffuser, but I would think it's a good idea.

If you decide not to, or can't use flash, then my suggestion would be to use shutter priority (Tv) mode and set the shutter for 1/125 which is about as slow as you can go and freeze movement in quick-moving people (1/250 is much better).

Good luck!
 

runnah

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Go fully auto if you are going to be running around. If you have time to stop and pose people you can get a little more precise.
 

Whiskeyjack

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What Runnah said but that goes double if you're using that 18-55. Just too slow to have good low light performance; re: not bright sunlight. There may be times when you can't really use the flash so the 50 should do pretty well but you'll have to keep in mind that as you open up the aperture, the depth of focus will suffer some for it so better to balance the ISO with your aperture. You're going to have some noise in your images... but it shouldn't be bad at all even up to like 800. Good luck and I hope you get some awesome captures.
 

Big Mike

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Maybe a bit of a leap, if you aren't familiar with it yet, but I'd suggest putting the camera into manual mode.

It's likely that the ambient lighting will be ugly, but it's also likely that it will be consistent. So therefore, once you figure out exposure settings that work for you...you probably won't need to change them (or at least, you won't need to change exposure). So once you get it figured out, you wouldn't have to worry about metering or exposure.

If you use an auto mode, on the other hand, your exposure will vary from shot to shot, because it's based on the camera's built-in meter, which is dependent on the reflectivity of the subject in front of it. In other words, the auto mode may give you different exposures from one model to another, even though they are in the same lighting, same position etc. And you want to have your exposure correct for the light...not necessarily what the meter says is correct for each subject.

I would suggest using your flash because I agree with John, the lighting is those places is deceptively dim. We adjust without noticing, cameras do not.

I would also suggest using ISO 400-1600. The higher your ISO, the more effective your flash can be...or the less hard it will have to work, meaning you get faster recycle times and longer batter life.

I would probably keep the flash in E-TTL (auto) mode, but keep in mind that you may need to adjust your FEC frequently.
 

Gavjenks

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It's likely that the ambient lighting will be ugly, but it's also likely that it will be consistent. So therefore, once you figure out exposure settings that work for you...you probably won't need to change them (or at least, you won't need to change exposure). So once you get it figured out, you wouldn't have to worry about metering or exposure.
This is true if it's a fax machine convention, and everything is just laid out underneath the hall's general lighting.

But it sounds as if this is more of a showbusiness or cosplay or something convention, with actual little scenes set up in the booths, that likely have their own lighting. If any of the booths have their own custom lighting, then this doesn't work anymore.

I can't say for sure, but @OP, do what he says if most booths are lit by the hall's lighting. Or do one of the many auto modes or full auto if most booths alter the hall's lighting in some significant way.
 

Derrel

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Take the 18-55 as the "main" lens, for the majority of the grip and grins and walkabout shots. Use the flash but reconsider the ISO 100 setting. ISO 100 will mean full power flash will be needed, and you'll be blasting everybody with full-power flashes, and recycle times will drag after 45 frames. If you quadruple the ISO to 400, then you will not need to be blasting everybody with FULL_BORE flash pops for each and every frame, AND you'll be able to shoot two or three shots in rapid succession if needed.

P mode for flash....uh....NO. As in no,no,no,no,no,no, a thousand times NO.

P mode means the camera will yo-yo f/stop and shutter speed all over the place, and the day's shots might have some real clunkers.

Set the ISO to 400 and set the f/stop to a smaller aperture, like f/7.1. Set the camera to MANUAL exposure mode, and 1/125 second. Knock yourself out on the grip n grins and walkabouts.

Now as far as "horrific mistakes"--one of the single biggest blunders is using P mode and spot metering!!! SPOT metering is almost entirely incompatible with quick and easy use of a camera in fluid "event" type situations...Spot metering flat-out sucks unless the user is an expert photographer, and it ruins more photos than it helps, unless the user is an expert.
 

rlemert

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As a rank amateur with a modest level of experience, I would go into this in shutter priority, adjusting the ISO to give me a reasonable aperture (considering depth of field issues and what's in the shot). The previous posters all have more expertise than I, however, so pay more attention to them.

The other thing I would do, however, that has not been mentioned is - get there early enough to try out whatever approach you're going to use so you know what you can do. You don't want to 'chimp' all day, but I think it would be reasonable to do so at first just to make sure that you're getting something usable. Better would be to use the camera's histogram (if you can) to check out the exposures; best might be to spend a few minutes to download your first images to confirm you've got something you can work with.

Twenty minutes of testing at the start of the day may save you hours of heartbreak the rest of the day.
 

DiskoJoe

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This is going to be an annoying post :D

I'm going to a convention tomorrow night. My wife is one of the featured models so I'm bringing a camera to take as many shots as I can of her and the rest of the convention. It's being held in a very big hotel/convention center so as you might imagine there will be several aisles with hundreds of booths and exhibits. Most of the areas will be well lit but there will also be some exhibits with less light due to the nature of the convention. I'll be photographing mostly people - people posing with models etc. As I'll be walking around and every shot will be different than the last, I can't imagine how manual mode would be a good choice. So here come the annoying questions :blushing:

If you're kind enough to answer, please do so from the standpoint of what YOU would do, based on the information I have provided above. I would like to have a good settings starting point based on feedback from people that have much more knowledge and experience than I do. From that starting point maybe I'll tweak things here and there, but this is how I learn. I'll post some of the shots I get so you can see what you created.

My bag will have the following contents:

Canon t4i
Canon 18-55 is II lens
Canon 50mm 1.4 USM lens
Canon 430ex II Speedlite w/ Omni Bounce Diffuser


As far as settings, these were my initial thoughts:

P mode
ISO 100 (if possible)
Standard picture style
Auto lighting optimizer off
Spot metering (really not sure about this so please comment)
Auto white balance


If you don't think any of this is a "good" starting point, or if you would use some other mode or combination of settings, please tell me.

As far as the flash goes, I don't know :confused:
Should I use it? And if so should I just leave it on ETTL, or manually set a lower flash output maybe?

Thanks everyone!

A-mode, auto ISO, Auto white bal. Use flash when needed, set for fill. Use the 50mm and upgrade your kit lens to a 17-55 f2.8.
 

DiskoJoe

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It's likely that the ambient lighting will be ugly, but it's also likely that it will be consistent. So therefore, once you figure out exposure settings that work for you...you probably won't need to change them (or at least, you won't need to change exposure). So once you get it figured out, you wouldn't have to worry about metering or exposure.
This is true if it's a fax machine convention, and everything is just laid out underneath the hall's general lighting.

But it sounds as if this is more of a showbusiness or cosplay or something convention, with actual little scenes set up in the booths, that likely have their own lighting. If any of the booths have their own custom lighting, then this doesn't work anymore.

I can't say for sure, but @OP, do what he says if most booths are lit by the hall's lighting. Or do one of the many auto modes or full auto if most booths alter the hall's lighting in some significant way.

Nerds in Cosutme!!!!

I love nerds in costumes.
 

weepete

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I'd shoot manual mode, auto iso and centre weighted average or partial metering mode mostly I think. I'd say stay away from the spot metering as you need to be very precise with it and can easily throw your exposure off unless you know how to use it and this is not the time to experiment with it!I find that in difficult lighting situations the semi auto modes don't really cut it and you end up with super shallow dof or a shutter speed that's too slow. If you are planning on shooting lots of partial body shots or if you really need the extra light use the 50mm otherwise stick with the 18-55 and get in close. Exactly what shutter speed and apeture you set will depend on what you want from the shot but bear in mind that you can get some nice background blur if you can position yourself where there is good seperation between subject and background. Oh and expose for your subject , that's the most important thing.I think you've been given good advice above about using your flash.
 

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