Shooting an indoor party in low light


TPF Noob!
Jan 24, 2012
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Hi forum.
I have a 7d with 15-85 USM lens, also a 50mm 1.4 prime. A pop up flash and a tripod. Any tips?
troubleman27 said:
Hi forum.
I have a 7d with 15-85 USM lens, also a 50mm 1.4 prime. A pop up flash and a tripod. Any tips?

I should also say, I'm very new to my 7d having moved up from a 450d kit & 50mm 1.8 budget outfit.

Any pointers would be much appreciated.

If thats what you have and thats all you can have (if you can't rent I mean) then stick with the prime for as much as you can. A tripod really isn't useful in this type of setting and the pop up flash... well it'll look like crap to be straight forward. Use the other lens when you need the wider focal length. Some places you could do the entire job w the 50, other places due to the crop factor could be too tight to get any sort of group or "party" shots. If you can rent do your self a favor and rent either a 430 or a 580 flash and have fun.

Play with low light prior to the shoot, learn what too high of an ISO is and stay below it when you shoot the job, play with the camera as much as you can prior to it. Know every detail of the camera so if something goes wrong you can fix it. Take whatever equipment you have, if you have a second body, bring it. Bring plenty of memory, shoot in raw. Worst case scenario you can fix something later. Don't be afraid to "over shoot" but at the same time don't get in peoples faces. Get any details that there may be, balloons, the invitation if possible, the table settings, these shots can make the person your shooting for feel like they are getting more from you.
I suggest buying or renting an off camera flash it wont be as harsh, and will keep the red eye away. Also I recommend getting a diffuser or a flash bounce so the flash isn't too harsh.
50mm indoors on a 1.6x camera....ugh....not very useful except for distance work indoors, or close-up shots of 1 to 2 people...too narrow a FOV on 1.6x...

Flash is an option. Depends on the "type" of party, and how the guest respond to flash photos. Does that 15-85mm lens cast a shadow from the pop-up flash, especially when the lens hood is on???

Redeye will be an issue beyond about 6 feet with the pop-up flash.
Good advice from the others.

If you can, buy a bounce flash. This will make you indoor flash pix much better, if there's a white ceiling.

If not, plan to shoot with the zoom lens at high ISO in RAW format without flash, if it isn't too dark.

If it is dark, then you're stuck with the on camera flash.

When flash shopping, remember that it doesn't have to be a Canon branded flash; just dedicated for Canon. Vivitar, Metz, and Nissin all make Canon dedicated flashes too, and for less money. After reading the reviews, I'm going with a Metz for my Olympus. If you can't afford a bounce flash right now, either rent one or buy a simple, non-bounce off camera flash. Even just getting the flash further away from the lens will make for a huge improvement.
Thanks ever so much for the advice.ive got a loan of a 580 from a pal. Now exploring ideas for flash.

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