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Photography Question 

Photographing at a bar

Hey, i'm in need of advice.
I have to shoot the interior of a Mexican restaurant/bar that is lit mainly by Christmas lights and candles. Its for an interior decorating company portfolio so there will be no people, just this dimly lit space. I'm debating between 800 and 1600 fuji film. I haven't had a chance to shoot iso 1600 yet, but I hear the grain isn't too bad. I want to be able to capture the mysterious and romantic mood of the place but I don't want to lose details of the design. I have an in-camera meter so would it be a good idea stop down 1/2 a stop from the reading to maintain the feel of the scene? I'm worried that if I use the reading my camera gives me, the space will appear to look a lot brighter then it really is. Is it a good idea to use a flash? (the one in my camera isn't too great but is it still worth it?) Is ISO 800 or 1600 better for this job?
I'll appriciate any tips you can give me.

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4/25/2005 7:31:49 PM

Bob Cournoyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/9/2003
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  I know nothing about film, or much else...:-)
Would you have a chance to sneak in a couple days before and take some test shots?

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4/25/2005 8:15:32 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  long exposure and low speed film, and tripod.
stop down dosen't sound right, but no one can really say when you don't know what the place looks like.
If I had to guess, I would say that you might have to do one over to actually make it look like it's lit with candles and xmas lights.

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4/26/2005 12:49:21 AM

Kerry L. Walker   My best suggestion - Take 400,800 and 1600 speed film. Meter the scene before you load the camera and see which speed gives you the best reading to shoot at. (I would suspect it will be the 400 or 800). Then use the lowest ISO that will give you what you need, using, as Gregory suggested, a tripod. In fact, using the tripod, you probably won't even need the 1600 speed film. Then, bracket your shots 1 shot over and 1 shot under. It will give you different exposures, obviously, but it will also give you different moods too. You can take some fhash shots but they will kill the atmosphere.

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4/26/2005 7:45:27 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  As long as there isn't any movement like you say their won't be (since nobody will be there) I would definitly have to agree with Gregory. Use a LOW ISO film sleep and a tripod. A tripod should be a definite thing for a photographer but if you don't have one, you may be able to find something to sit the camera on the edge of for stability. Maybe step up to ISO 400 if you don't have a tripod? If you meter off of a very dark portion of the room, you might want to stop down, but you might want to meter off a place that's not the brightest, like near right by a light, but maybe a table top? Make sure to bracket a lot and not just half stops, include some that are more than what you would normally do in addition to half or whole stops. The big this is to use a low ISO like 100 or 200 and a tripod. Try to use a small aperture as well so as to make sure everything is in focus and looks sharp.

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4/29/2005 2:31:53 PM

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