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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Kids & Family Talk 
Thread started 22 Dec 2012 (Saturday) 23:08
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Photographing family birthdays indoors with poor lighting?

 
Naraly
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Dec 22, 2012 23:08 |  #1

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for those kinds of settings? Where everything's happening so fast and everyone's set at the table around the birthday person, so you can't move them outside or nearer to a window. Especially the shots where the person is blowing out the birthday candles and you don't want to use a flash.

It was my sister's birthday on the 20th, and I struggled with the lighting and finding the right settings for the kind of movement going on and the poor light at the same time. There was only the light coming from the fanlight hanging from the ceiling (with yellowish bulbs), and it was cloudy outside so not much light coming in even though she was facing the window. I used the flash in some, and didn't use it in others. I got about 3 good ones with flash, and 3 without flash, but the one of her blowing out the candles was horrible, she no longer had all the light from the candles illuminating her face, and I set a low shutter speed for trying to bring in a little more light.

ideas? suggestions?



Cheers,
Nora

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RandyMN
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Dec 22, 2012 23:14 |  #2

You say nothing about the equipment being used. Some camera bodies offer better high ISO performance while wide apertures offer better light gathering in low light.

You also did not say the settings used. Mixing available light with flash should almost always get satisfactory results if done correctly. High ISO with a good camera body and a lens that is 2.8 or less should also help.

If you provide more information I'm sure more people can give valuable feedback.




  
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Naraly
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Dec 22, 2012 23:25 |  #3

RandyMN wrote in post #15398534 (external link)
You say nothing about the equipment being used. Some camera bodies offer better high ISO performance while wide apertures offer better light gathering in low light.

You also did not say the settings used. Mixing available light with flash should almost always get satisfactory results if done correctly. High ISO with a good camera body and a lens that is 2.8 or less should also help.

If you provide more information I'm sure more people can give valuable feedback.

Sorry. I used a Canon 60D with the 50mm f/1.8
My settings varied, I kept changing them as her position changed or she moved more/less.In the one of her blowing out the candles, for instance, I used 1/160, ISO 1000, f/1.8, without flash.
On others I used 1/80, ISO 100, f/1.8. The ones I shot with flash the ones that came better from that group were with 1/80sec, ISO640, 1.8

I'm always scared of ISO because of the noise, so I don't know if maybe I should have made it higher? The highest I used was 2000 (with 1/100sec) and I didn't find I liked it any better than the rest.



Cheers,
Nora

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RandyMN
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Dec 22, 2012 23:27 |  #4

Naraly wrote in post #15398572 (external link)
Sorry. I used a Canon 60D with the 50mm f/1.8
My settings varied, I kept changing them as her position changed or she moved more/less.In the one of her blowing out the candles, for instance, I used 1/160, ISO 1000, f/1.8, without flash.
On others I used 1/80, ISO 100, f/1.8. The ones I shot with flash the ones that came better from that group were with 1/80sec, ISO640, 1.8

I'm always scared of ISO because of the noise, so I don't know if maybe I should have made it higher? The highest I used was 2000 (with 1/100sec) and I didn't find I liked it any better than the rest.

Don't be afraid of noise... Better a noisy clear well exposed shot than a blurred under exposed shot. And under exposed shots create more noise than a well exposed one.




  
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maverick75
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Dec 22, 2012 23:34 |  #5

Last time I shot my sisters birthday party I maxed out my camera with iso 1600 and the only light was a single crappy 30watt bulb.

This is the only shot I have on hand, it was shot with a 10D which is like 8 years older than your 60D. Bump up that ISO!

http://www.flickr.com …8248240459/in/p​hotostream (external link)

If you expose correctly noise wont be an issue.

I used a 50mm as well, at f1.7.


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Naraly
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Dec 22, 2012 23:36 |  #6

Ah, ok. Then would it be better to use higher ISO and no flash, or just use camera flash? Do you have an example of settings you would have used?



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Nora

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Naraly
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Dec 22, 2012 23:38 |  #7

maverick75 wrote in post #15398602 (external link)
Last time I shot my sisters birthday party I maxed out my camera with iso 1600 and the only light was a single crappy 30watt bulb.

This is the only shot I have on hand, it was shot with a 10D which is like 8 years older than your 60D. Bump up that ISO!

http://www.flickr.com …8248240459/in/p​hotostream (external link)

If you expose correctly noise wont be an issue.

I used a 50mm as well, at f1.7.

Wow good photo! I'll have to keep up my ISO



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Nora

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Naraly
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Dec 22, 2012 23:45 |  #8

Here's a shot I took at ISO 1000, 1/60.

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR

IMG_0718aresized (external link) by Naraly05 (external link), on Flickr

And blowing out the candles ISO 1000, 1/160. I really messed up with the settings here I think.
IMAGE: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8216/8298496811_a708bc3098_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/75523744@N02/8​298496811/  (external link)
IMG_0712resized (external link) by Naraly05 (external link), on Flickr


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Nora

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RandyMN
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Dec 22, 2012 23:46 |  #9

Naraly wrote in post #15398607 (external link)
Ah, ok. Then would it be better to use higher ISO and no flash, or just use camera flash? Do you have an example of settings you would have used?

I would not say that... Higher ISO is chosen according to the available light. Using higher ISO with no flash depends on the quality and direction of the available light. If you like what you have to work with, then use high ISO and no flash, but to assume that flash alone will produce better results is usually not the best option.

Flash by itself with no balanced available light creates extremely harsh lighting with shadows and an unnatural look to the photo.

My suggestion is to learn how to use both by balancing the available light with the flash.
This takes some learning and flash is controlled by aperture since its duration is much too fast to have the shutter speed influence it in low light situations. So use a wide open aperture, set the shutter speed to expose for available light, then have the flash set to auto fill.




  
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Naraly
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Dec 23, 2012 00:14 |  #10

RandyMN wrote in post #15398640 (external link)
I would not say that... Higher ISO is chosen according to the available light. Using higher ISO with no flash depends on the quality and direction of the available light. If you like what you have to work with, then use high ISO and no flash, but to assume that flash alone will produce better results is usually not the best option.

Flash by itself with no balanced available light creates extremely harsh lighting with shadows and an unnatural look to the photo.

My suggestion is to learn how to use both by balancing the available light with the flash.
This takes some learning and flash is controlled by aperture since its duration is much too fast to have the shutter speed influence it in low light situations. So use a wide open aperture, set the shutter speed to expose for available light, then have the flash set to auto fill.

Ok it's making a lot more sense now, thank you. Just one thing that I feel I'm not quite getting, or misinterpreting. Is using high ISO and flash something that's avoided? Or maybe was that what you were telling me?:oops:



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Nora

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RandyMN
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Dec 23, 2012 00:21 |  #11

No, you can use high ISO with flash as long as you have all settings correct. Only problem I have ever had with flash and high ISO is that highlighted areas tend to get over exposed quickly if not paid attention to.




  
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Naraly
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Dec 23, 2012 00:39 |  #12

RandyMN wrote in post #15398715 (external link)
No, you can use high ISO with flash as long as you have all settings correct. Only problem I have ever had with flash and high ISO is that highlighted areas tend to get over exposed quickly if not paid attention to.

Got it, thanks! I will be practicing more and experimenting with the settings and lighting. Hopefully make some more improvement by Christmas to get some good shots of the family.



Cheers,
Nora

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fashionrider
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Dec 24, 2012 00:11 |  #13

A lot of my paid gigs are 1st birthdays. Whenever there's a candle involved, I avoid using flash as it kills the flame. Agree with what everyone says about bumping up the ISO, even to max if you have to. Can reduce the noise in post at the cost of image looking softer... but it's better than having no shot at all.


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syclarac
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Jan 16, 2013 01:39 |  #14

Here is a shot from my daughter's birthday party. Ghosting aside, I got what I was going for, which was candle lit picture with no flash. I feel it gives a nice glow not to use flash for this type of shot.
I used T3i, 50 1.2 at f2, 1/160, ISO 800.
http://www.flickr.com …8247950519/in/p​hotostream (external link)


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h14nha
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Jan 20, 2013 03:48 |  #15

This isn't going to be what you want to hear but, when I have had house parties in the past, I put my XSi/450d on full auto with the kit lens attached and encouraged everyone to use it to record the evening. The last time this happened my nephew ( 10 years old ) took lots of pics. When I reviewed them the next day you would be amazed how few turned out blurry and had to be binned.
If I was taking the pics ( before people jump in ) I would be using my 7d with a flash. My point is, if you're struggling, do whatever you need to get the shot. Use ISO 6400 if needed, a blurry shot gets deleted, a noisy shot gets the noise reduced and is usable/printable......​....


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Photographing family birthdays indoors with poor lighting?
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