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Old 31st of July 2011 (Sun)   #9
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 2,378
Default Re: Equine Photographers, help?

First off, I apologize for the delay in the response. I asked you to respond to my questions, which you did. But I have been busy and, frankly, this post skipped my mind. I just got back from a shoot for a gal that is taking her mustang to the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition in Fort Worth in September and she needs a stall front poster. Fun shoot but it was about 95 degrees and 95% humidity. I'm beat and I will try and be coherent.

Originally Posted by MT59 View Post
Something to try if you can get another test session during a lesson before the show:

Set your camera to Av mode, put on the 70-300mm lens. I'm assuming it's probably a f/4-5.6 lens. With the lens pulled all the way in (at 70mm), set your aperture value on the camera at f/4. The camera will adjust the aperture to the lens.

Set ISO to, oh, 1600. Pictures will be a bit grainy, most likely. Might be able to clean that up in post-processing. Shoot in RAW mode so you can lighten up dark pictures. There's still a good chance that shutter speeds may be too low, depending on the type of event and the ambient lighting inside the arena.
I disagree with this. By setting your aperture at F/4 at the shortest zoom your camera will set your aperture at 5.6 when you zoom in. This will guaranty blurred images due to slow shutter speeds. I have yet to be in an indoor arena that I can shoot available light at ISO 1600 at F/5.6 and get an acceptable shutter speed.

Unfortunately, the lenses that you have do not lend themselves to indoor shooting. They're not "fast" enough. (see below.) Your camera has an "expansion" ISO setting of 3200. See your manual on how to do this. Use 3200. Your images will come out a little noisy but you are only doing this for friends. They will be acceptable. And if you shoot in RAW you will be able to apply some noise reduction. See below. Shoot in either TV mode or Manual. Set your shutter speed at 1/500 and then check your light. If you can not get an acceptable exposure go down to an absolute slowest speed of 1/400th.

Try and position yourself in the arena to where you don't have to zoom out to where your lens changes apertures.

Originally Posted by MT59 View Post
So many variables. Pros are usually using pro cameras (better high-ISO capabilities) and f/2.8 (or better) lenses, possibly in combination with a couple of strobes mounted just outside the ring.

Given your equipment, I'd say just play around with the above and see if it helps. If you have a monopod, that would be a good bet, too. Especially if your lens doesn't have IS.
Unfortunately, shooting indoor shows requires fast, which means expensive, equipment. I almost always use an F/2.0 prime lens or rarely, an F/2.8 zoom. But if you want to do much shooting indoors look at a 50mm F/1.8 lens. It is fast enough for indoors, it's a good length for your Rebel and cheap! Like $100.

Don't worry about a monopod and don't worry about IS. You have to shoot at fast enough shutter speed to stop the horses' movement. Other wise you get blurry images. This fast of shutter speed eliminates camera/lens shake. This makes a monopod and IS unnecessary.

Originally Posted by MT59 View Post
BTW, if this is an organized event, the organizers may have already enlisted the services of an official photographer. Be sure you aren't interfering with their business.
This is good advise. If you are acting like you are taking photos for hire it will make the official photographer nervous. Understandable considering the time and expense he/she has probably gone to to get the contract for the show. Just explain to him/her that you are shooting strictly for some friend and not offering your shots for sale.It's just a very professional gesture for you to do it and some day when you have the contract you will appreciate someone doing the same.

Originally Posted by aponi06 View Post
I've been asked by a few friends who show in an indoor ring but have no idea how to get those good pictures with flash.

I went to a friends lesson while she was in the door and had to take b&w photos because I couldn't get the lighting right. I've messed with exposure setting but doesn't help. I own the Rebel T1i.
Originally Posted by aponi06 View Post
I have the on camera flash, I do not have permission to use flash (prefer not to), I have not tried shooting in RAW, and not familiar with the concept of white balance.

I usually go to shows where my friends are showing and get photos of them (get asked to tag a long).

I'm, unfortunately, still not sure if you are wanting to shoot with flash or not. If you will clear that up and will try and offer a couple more comments.

For now, my immediate advise is that you go out and purchase "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. Secondly, consider shooting in RAW and all the benefits this will provide you in processing your images. This is especially important in shooting indoor horse shows in crappy light. It will provide you a lot of latitude in post processing especially for exposure, noise reduction and white balance. There are all sorts of resources on the web on how to process RAW images.

If you don't have a RAW processor like Adobe Lightroom, the software that came with your camera, DPP, is a great one and free. The Canon Learning center has an excellent video tutorial on how to use it.

Lastly, go to some of the web resources on White Balance. This is an extremely important concept when shooting indoors under artificial lights.

HTH, and will try and offer a little more when you clear up about flash use.

Last edited by matonanjin : 31st of July 2011 (Sun) at 23:58.
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