tips for photography indoors help a beginner :)

rasmussen4

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Yeah, those conditions without a flash, your ISO is obviously your best buddy, coupled with a fast lens. No fundage for a flash, or just haven't gotten around to it? A good external flash is pretty rudimentary in my kit these days, I can't imagine NOT having one handy for so many different situations.
 

bratkinson

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Derrel hit the nail on the head in all respects – high ISO speed, near-wide open aperture for improved IQ as most lenses aren’t their sharpest wide open (2.5-2.8ish instead of 1.8), and try to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible to stop subject (and your) movement.

I’ve been ‘fighting’ the exposure triangle for no-flash indoor digital photography for perhaps 10 years. Fast glass and high ISO speeds are critical. But at or near wide-open apertures results in thin DOF, perhaps measured in inches, which makes group shots near impossible to get everybodys’ faces in focus. Check out the DOF tutorial and calculator links below and experiment with your camera/lens/aperture combos to see what thin DOFs you will be forced to deal with.

Understanding Depth of Field in Photography

Online Depth of Field Calculator

In addition to the DOF considerations, choosing shutter speeds to stop subject motion is quite challenging. Even with standing subjects, 1/125[SUP]th[/SUP] if needed to consistently stop motion. If they’re like me and talk with their hands, their hands may be blurred slightly. But to get that kind of shutter speed, ISO in the 3200 and higher is needed, which, for the T5i, -might- result in too much noise. But as mentioned above, better a shot with noise than a blurry, underexposed image. So the alternative is slower shutter speeds. But the number of throw-aways due to subject movement grows very quickly to 4 out of 5 get tossed, perhaps even more, when you’re shooting at 1/30[SUP]th[/SUP]. It gets progressively worse at 1/20[SUP]th[/SUP] and 1/10[SUP]th[/SUP]. Then, of those remaining, ditch the ones where their eyes are closed, somebody is talking with their mouth wide open, unflattering pictures of any females (be especially cognizant that women never want ‘bad’ pictures o themselves ‘out there’), and distracting clutter in the background, such as a coat rack, overly colorful wall hangings, etc. I’ve had as few as 1 in 25 ‘keepers’ when shooting in the 1/20[SUP]th[/SUP]-1/30[SUP]th[/SUP] range. So if that’s where you have to shoot, so be it. But then use the ‘spray and pray’ method – take lots and lots of pictures expecting that a large number of them will be trashed. At least with digital, it’s free.

One more thing...keep the AF set to AI Servo. That way, the camera will keep focused locked on even if the subject (or you) move slightly during the exposure. Single Shot mode is limited to things that don't move...buildings, bridges, etc.

Lastly, the popup flash isn’t all ‘bad’. Just as ‘insurance’, put the camera on auto and tape a piece of Kleenex to the front of the popup to ‘soften’ and diffuse the light. But remember that the light output of the flash is only good for about 10 feet, with everything further back, dark. That, however, can be useful to hide/darken unnecessary/distracting background clutter and have properly lit subject faces.

I know this is all a giant handful to remember for a newbie to photography. But as I and countless others have learned the hard way…from our mistakes. And practice, practice, practice will ultimately increase your successes.

I think of Thomas Edison, when, after 1000 or more failed attempts to make a lightbulb was asked if he was discouraged. His response was that he now knew 1000 ways NOT to make a lightbulb!​
 
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lawrencek328

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thank you for that bratkinson. hopefully ill grab a speedlite by the time of the birthday :] but I will try.. and i noticed some pics i took last night for fun in a dark setting of that sort.. the noise was extremely high.. but better than taking a completely dark photo.
 

steveraw

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Most of the people here might know by now how crazy am I when it comes to B/W. Most of my images use to get spoiled because of the low light so as a solution for it i use to get them turned to B/W and you can grab some tips from the pro here : Black and White tips.
And just in case you plan to click some outside : Cloudy day fun.
 

DiskoJoe

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12800 is extreme. I shot this at 12800 handheld. YOu can see the noise and this was after noise reduction too.


reflection by DiskoJoe, on Flickr
 

Derrel

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bratkinson gives a pretty good description of the problems of shooting social photography situations at sloooow shutter speeds. The advantage goes to higher speeds and greater image noise, as opposed to lower ISO levels and smooth, noise-free images where the blur is so high that you end up trashing the majority of the frames due to blurriness of one type or another.

Speaking of blur of one type; second curtain flash synch is ONE type of blur that CAN be pretty neat. It involves setting the flash to fire at the end of the exposure, instead of the normal timing, which is right at the start of the exposure. Look into how to set the T5i to what's called second curtain flash synchronization. When used with slowish speeds, and even the on-camera flash, it can make some neat pics of things like dancing, partiers, and so on. This is also often called "slow synch", but second curtain is a specific variant of 'slow synch', and it renders the sharp part better than slow synch done first-curtain. Another way this is described is the term "dragging the shutter". When done 'right', this can look fantastic!

Take a look here: 13 Great Examples of Slow Sync Flash Images - Digital Photography School

Keep in mind, at elevated ISO levels like 3,200 or Hi 0.3 or whatever, the pop-up flash's power can be pretty high, in relative terms, and can provide a lot of light at such high ISO levels and with f/2.5-3.5 aperture range.

Indoors, in a ballroom, a speed of say 1/3 second at f/3.5 at ISO 3200 with the pop-up might allow you to get a lot of ambient light, for mood, for ambiance, and then the flash will provide a sharp image, with a gentle ghost-like halo around moving people, like couples dancing. Of course, the shutter time depends a lot on the light level; if the place is a cave, it might take a 2-second exposure; if it's an old hotel ballroom, dragging the shutter is more likely going to be 1/2 or 1/3 second.

This is one technique where Programmed AUTO, not the green box, but the shiftable P-mode might be one of the best decisions you could make, then shift the shutter speed sloooooow, and watch what results. Programmed automatic with the pop-up flash has the potential to work pretty well I think, especially with a really FAST f/1.8 zoom lens. If the camera has an AF-assist function, it might be helpful if the place is a dungeon--but, AF assist usually works ONLY in the single-shot one One-SHot AF focusing mode.
 
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lawrencek328

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i just got home im gonna play with the flash settings now.
disko joe.. was that photo edited with lightroom?
 

DiskoJoe

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i just got home im gonna play with the flash settings now.
disko joe.. was that photo edited with lightroom?

I used CS4 but the raw editor is very similar to lightroom. Additional noise reduction was done with NeatImage, real nice coftware and cheap too.

This is another shot I did at 12800. It haz peoples. So probably more relevant to this discussion.


bright eyed and bushy tailed by DiskoJoe, on Flickr

You can see the noticable noise in the shot. There has been no noise reduction done to this shot. But the people are nice and sharp.
 
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AmberAtLoveAndInk

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Welcome to the amazingly complicated world of photography, haha! Hopefully someone on here has already given you some good lighting ideas and tips, if not, I know in your original question you has said you did not have an external flash? Is this a matter of not having enough time or enough funds? I am also a canon user (60D) and just picked up a super nifty speedlite flash for $35 on amazon and it performs (believe it or not!) very similar to a high quality canon speedlite flash. It's called the Neewer TT560. I also paired it with a softbox diffuser (like $6) to cut out that "deer in the headlights" flash effect and it makes a world of difference with low light indoor settings. But If you really don't have the time to wait around on amazon to deliver, like many people have suggested you can bump up your ISO and that may be able to help you out depending on the limits of your camera. BUT I do highly recommend you get an external flash RIGHT AWAY if you plan on doing some professional work in the future. Lighting makes and breaks your photos! Good luck!


$edit3.jpg *External flashes are also very important outdoors as well as indoors!! I used an external flash here as a light filler to brighten up her face and get rid of that extra shading.
 
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lawrencek328

lawrencek328

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not planning on doing any professional work yet :p however the only thing holding me back from the speedlight is the size of it on the camera... do you know of one that isnt so big size wise?
i purchased one of the gary fong diffusers for the built in flash just got it in today will post some with and without pictures soon
 

JoeW

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The suggestions around high ISO and a wide open aperture (I would try to keep it around f2 rather than f1.8--at f1.8 your DoF is going to be measured in inches...someone's nose will be in focus but their ears may not) are the way to go. Diffuser on the popup flash isn't great but it may reduce glare and hotspots on skin. I'm going to offer some additional hints.

1. See if you can set up a station or area that is suitable for impromptu portraits. Yes, you'll be wandering around shooting people just doing their thing. But maybe you can find a blank wall that is well lit (or you can add a continuous light source to) and pull people over to make funny faces or wish the birthday girl a special evening or pose with the guest of honor). Nothing formal, it's just a way to cheat and make sure that some of the shots have less noise b/c you've been able to dictate the light.

2. Look for ways to stabilize yourself when you shoot. Lean against doorways or walls. You may end up shooting at 1/20th (which will get blurring if people are moving or gesturing). Anything you can do to provide a stable, solid platform is going to reduce blur and motion.

3. You can get a YongNuo speed light like the 460 that will run you less than $40 new. Bounce them off of walls, aim it up and deflect the light off a card. It will be much more effective than your popup flash. Or...set the YN off-camera and as a slave (activated by your popup flash) step back to reduce glare and overexposure and then shoot away. That could work very well if you can find a designated spot for informal portraits...white walls, popup flash and an off-camera slave.
 
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lawrencek328

lawrencek328

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funds arent the problem i dont mind spending a few hundred bucks on a speedlight im just stuck between which one to get that will work well with a t5i
 

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