tips for photography indoors help a beginner :)


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Nov 7, 2013
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Los Angeles, CA
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im going to be taking pictures for my gf's sisters birthday.. nothing professional but I do want clear photos... it is going to be indoors with low lighting...any tips or tricks to get a clear picture?

canon t5i with sigma 18-35 1.8 lens .. no external flash :(
Have you looked Into a light scoop? I haven't tried one, but they look nifty! My camera has a bounce flash, and I find it helpful to use flash compensation at +3 or so since you'll loose some light in the process. You could also try to make something similar if you wanted. I've seen people use "milk jug diffusers" just for some soft full.

Otherwise, I would set your ISO as high as your camera can stand (probably 800 or 1600) and then open up that wonderful aperture. Manual focus if you can, to help get them crisp. It wouldn't hurt to shoot in raw so you can brighten them up in post if absolutely necessary. Don't be afraid to ask if you can open the curtains or flip on some lamps either.
thanks, my camera has the built in flash but its going to be in a hall she rented at night time. i will take a look at the light scoop and do some research :]
thanks, my camera has the built in flash but its going to be in a hall she rented at night time. i will take a look at the light scoop and do some research :]

Ahh. You may need to scratch the lightscoop then! The ceilings will likely be too high. There are commercial diffusers available, or you can easily rig your own. It may be your best option here since it sounds lighting is definitely going to be challenging, even at wide apertures. If you do diffused play with your flash comp and maybe dial it down to -2ish so it isn't so harsh..

I'm sure others have more ideas but from the sounds of it you're gonna need some sort of fill light.
As mentioned, set the ISO HIGH!!!!!!!!! Do not delude yourself into the Internet-cardinal sin, meaning excessive concern about "noise"....noise is a lot better than smeary, blurred motion and jiggly camera syndrome. CRANK the ISO up if you're stuck using a slow f/3.5~5.6 variable aperture lens. Remember too that at the shorter end of the zoom, the lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.5, while as you zoom out it drops for f/5.6 at the longer range, and is somewhere in the middle at in-between focal lengths.

Using the pop-up flash, keep in mind that at longer distances, people will get red-eye, but if you stay closer, and shoot from inside of 10 feet, red-eye is not so prevalent.
Did you actually locate the Sigma? I wouldn't open it up fully but if you have to then so be it. But as mentioned...high ISO saying it again for good measure.
yeah juga i got it yesterday :) ... im using a 1.8 aperture lens derrel.. im in love with it.. i found the sigma on amazon and free 2 day shipping
Sorry, I missed that. Still, keep the ISO level high...and don't be tempted to under-expose on-site and then recover the images later in software...under-exposing just leads to increased noise. As with most fast lenses of f/1.8, the depth of field will be shallow at wide-open aperture, so perhaps consider stopping down a bit, to say f/2.8 maybe. Just keep in mind that under-exposing kills your color, and boosts noise. Shallow DOF is nice, but it can also become very tedious, very one-trick-pony after a while.

White balance has not been mentioned. It's always good to know how one's camera LCD screen looks, compared against the computer. My main camera now looks maybe 400 degrees Kelvin too warm, so if my images are too warm on the back of the camera, I know that my WB once I import the pics will be wayyyy too warm. In many locations, indoor WB is 2,900 to 3,200 degrees Kelvin. If you're shooting a ton of JPEG images, as often happens at an event, it's nice to have the white balance set appropriately. Indoors, under artificial light is the one area where MANY cameras are NOT going to give the best results in auto-WB mode, so, keep that in mind.

The ultra-fast Sigma f/1.8 zoom is probably going to become a popular "event" zoom, due to its sheer f/stop's really a nice spec'd lens! Have a great time, and enjoy the new lens.
thank you for that.. high iso meaning 12800 or is that tooo high?
thank you for that.. high iso meaning 12800 or is that tooo high?

Well, it depends on the location and the lighting. I would say as a rule that yes, ISO 12,800 might likely be considered too high an ISO level at, say, Macaroni Grill or another place like a Red Robbin where there is actually some "light" in the room. But, at my favorite sports bar, ISO 12,800 would be about right. By High I was thinking ISO 3,200 with a kit zoom at f/4.5 to f/5.6...

It kind of depends on the "light". For example, if you're close to a window, and it's late afternoon, and it's a nice day out, there will be a LOT more light than inside in a corner, far from any overhead lights and with zero daylight coming in. You just need to get the shutter speeds into safe hand-holding range... 1/8 second is iffy...1/15 is still iffy...1/60 is better than any speed that is slower. It depends on what you meant by "there's going to be low lighting". That can range from f/2.8 at 1/50 second at ISO 1600 down to coal-mining territory, depending on the venue.
Do your T5i got ISO12800?? I think you better test out if you can accept the noise level before going to the shoot.
Yes, noise is always better than handshake, blurry image, however, when noise level goes up to a really high level, it is still a headache.
I have used T3i before and I can't accept anything beyond ISO1600. I don't know hows T5i perform, so you better test it first.

One other tip is to shoot the people in the area that ceiling light can light up. The ceiling light or candle light or else is your only light source, make better use of them.
At the same time, try to use one light source when shoot. Mixing up different light in the shoot, especially in indoor shoot, will create horrible shadows or color on the face.

Also, try to be there 5 minutes before to try out WB temperature and best aperture and also shutter speed. If the light are not changing, you can set your camera into M mode and just shoot. If you do this, you have to keep in mind to check if the setting is changed accidentally everytime before you shoot.

Practise more and you will get better image :)
thank you choi... the image quality is great upto 3200/6400 12800 is a little noisy depending on the situation
One thing that (surprisingly, to me) hasn't been mentioned is the *intentional* use of underexposure for creative purposes. It's all about the light, and you have the perfect venue, with the added bonus that nobody is paying you, so once you get the shots you really want (tip: take a few moments to think about what shots might be important to you or your partner's sister, and you'll be better prepared!) you can start playing with intentionally underexposing, emphasizing the available light in ways that complement your subject. Have fun!

(nb. often, shake will be a non-issue when you're doing something like this ^^^, so go nuts)
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haha i will give it a try worst case scenario light it up with lightroom

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