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Shooting portraits outdoors at night...what settings do you use?

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Thread started 16 Jun 2011 (Thursday) 11:35   
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vax5xh
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I tried taking some night portraits with my new DSLR for the first time last night and had some trouble. I was using a 60D, 50mm f/1.4, 430EX II flash, and Rogue FlashBender. I hate noise so I never want to shoot higher than ISO 800 if possible.

First I tried Av mode; I set my aperture to 1.8 and ISO to 800 but the resulting shutter speed even with flash was way too long...sometimes it was giving me 2.5s, and so obviously my subjects were turning out blurry.

So then I tried Tv mode; I set my shutter to 1/30 and ISO to 800 and had a much better result, but the resulting aperture was always 1.4, which meant I couldn't focus on a group of people, for example.

I guess the obvious answer is that I need to shoot in Manual mode? Or am I missing something

Thanks

Post #1, Jun 16, 2011 11:35:05


60D | 24-105 f/4L | 50 f/1.4 | 430EX II

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ni$mo350
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Do yourself a favor and shoot M. It will help you in the long run .. If you don't like noise then shooting in low light (mush less at night) isn't going to serve you any better. I'd rather bump up the ISO to get the shot I want and deal with the noise in post than have an underexposed shot with less noise.

Post #2, Jun 16, 2011 11:39:52


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nathancarter
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If you're using a flash on nearby subjects, you can use a slow shutter speed to get ambient light for the background, and the flash will still freeze the action of your nearby subjects. Of course, you still need to have SOME ambient light or the background will be very dark (maybe this is OK).

If you use second-curtain sync for your flash, the flash will fire at the end of the exposure. Generally, this gives more pleasing results than the shutter firing at the beginning of a long exposure.

With second-curtain flash, you could probably have done something like 1/10 and f/2 to improve depth of field while keeping some background ambient light, and the flash would still freeze the subjects.

[edit] The 60D won't do second-curtain sync if you're using its built-in wireless flash control. :(

Post #3, Jun 16, 2011 12:02:08


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vax5xh
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Just came across this at dpreview:

With [C.Fn I -7: Flash sync. speed in Av mode] (p.253), the following options for flash automatic setting can be selected: Applicable in the shooting mode
0: Auto*
1: 1/250 - 1/60 sec. auto
2: 1/250 sec. (fixed)

This is not only for the built in flash is to HOW the Camera will react in AV mode with either flash. HotShoe or Built in.

By default the camera is shipped in 0: Auto, which means the camera will expose for ambient light, it will not matter if the shutter speed has to be 30 sec, you want to change it to 1:1/250-1/60 this way the camera will not go lower than 1/60

Seems like this was the problem I was having in Av. Guess I should read the manual :oops:

Post #4, Jun 16, 2011 12:42:23 as a reply to nathancarter's post 40 minutes earlier.


60D | 24-105 f/4L | 50 f/1.4 | 430EX II

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bobbyz
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If you don't care for the ambient then you can use ISO100 at night. Why you need ISO800 if using flash?

Post #5, Jun 16, 2011 21:46:27


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Shooting portraits outdoors at night...what settings do you use?
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