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Photography Question 
Michelle Thalen

Chicken Barn Shoot

I have been asked to take pictures of a family in their chicken barn with little baby chicks. I know that the lighting will be very poor. Dark. I am thinking I may have to take some with me. I will also have the movement of the chicks and kids. Any suggestions on settings that I should use and modes? I am a beginner, so not that comfortable with manual yet. Thank you.

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11/5/2004 5:47:54 AM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Low light with moving subjects can be tough. Ask if they have a heat lamp set up for the chicks. This can be very nice soft lighting. It's a nice yellow tone that complements the yellow hue of the chicks. If they have one set up they might be able to pull it up a little higher so the family can sit under it with the chicks ... but watch for shadows. Try to get hay or straw in the background as it goes so nicely with the chicks and mood.
But if it's too tough ask that the chicks be moved to the chicken yard. A backdrop with chicken wire could be very suitable for the subject matter and outdoor lighting is almost always better.
As for modes, indoors with a heat lamp or artificial lighting you could get away with auto perhaps, but use a tripod! If you're outdoors you could easily use auto. If you're dealing with somebody holding just one chick though use portrait mode, stand back and zoom in. This will soften your subjects and give you much better DOF.
If you can't bring your own light, and they have fluorescent, I would insist on going outdoors. It's a very uncomplimentary harsh light in my opinion.
Good luck!

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11/5/2004 9:01:21 AM

Carolina K. Smith
Bracket your exposures to increase the odds of getting a good shot. And (I used to raise poultry!), if you have an SLR, try and change your lens outside the barn. Poultry barns and coops are notoriously dusty :)
Good luck.

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11/9/2004 7:23:24 AM

Shirley D. Cross-Taylor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2001
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  Hi Michelle,

If they want the photos inside the coop, I suggest using off-camera flash. This will give enough light to stop movement without the harshness of direct flash. If you have a white umbrella to bounce it into ... it would be even better for softening the light. The heat lamp would never be enough light and would come out very red on film. Now, if you're using a digital camera, that's a different story.

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11/9/2004 5:57:23 PM

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