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Photography Question 
Marquee Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2004
 

Photos in a restaurant


Hello All,

I have a quick question about taking photos in a dimly lit restaurant. I will be at a retirement party on Saturday and want to know how to get good pics.

I will be using a Canon Rebel Ti with a 580 Speedlite and 800 ISO film. Should I go higher and use 1600 ISO? Also should I use a diffuser on the flash?

Any info or suggetions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!


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3/30/2006 10:18:21 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Well for openers, since this is a retirement party and chances are your subjects won't be moving all that quickly, (like the L.A. Lakers...ok, bad example never mind) then I don't think you need 800 ISO film for this deal. Certainly you don't need 1600, and more likely, 160 or even 100 speed black and white or color film will do just fine using your speedlite. Any of the slower Kodak Pro. emulsions should work or Fuji color negative stock like Superia. You probably won't like the results you get on the Kodak prosumer films like Gold that they sell at places like Wallymart and target, etc.

Using a diffuser? Sure. Always a nice touch to help minimize shadows behind people and preferably mount your flash on some type of bracket to help prevent red eye (from the flash...rather red eye from beverages served). I use a Vivitar 285HV with a Lumiquest diffuser mounted on a Stroboframe flash bracket. It works quite well.

Also, if the ceiling is reasonable, 8-9 feet and bright white or even off white, you can bounce your strobe off the ceiling to diffuse and soften the light.

I don't know anything about your camera, but some autofocus rigs have difficulty working in very very low light. But you can always ask the restaurant manager to turn the lights up a bit, say 25% so that you can get some photographs and hopefully, add a touch of fill light in the background behind people so your shots won't look like you were shooting into an abyss.
Most people don't notice the lighting level after the first half hour or so anyway. ;>)

Remember take extra fresh batteries for your flash and probably your camera. And...enjoy the party.
Mark


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3/30/2006 4:49:47 PM

 
Marquee Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2004
  Mark, thanks for responding. Though it is a retirement party there will be a band so while we are no L.A. Lakers ;-) many of the guest are no where near retiring... I usually use Fuji Superia films and I do have Fuji 160, I just thought that would be too slow. If I can't get the lights turned up do you think I should go with 200 speed film?

I do have a bracket and the small Sto-fen diffuser. I don't think I'll be able to bounce off the ceiling, I thing the room we'll be in has wood beams in the ceiling. As far as getting the lights turned up... guess I have to use manual focus if they won't change the light setting. Thanks for mentioning that I would have never thought to request the lighting change.


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3/30/2006 6:57:30 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  I'd go with the 160 ISO, even at dimmer lighting settings because your flash should carry you. Shoot with the Sto-fen, it should work fine. Forget about the ceiling bounce, and INSIST that the manager turn up the volume on the lights. Afterall, they're providing a series of services to you, not the other way around. Just tell the manager if the pictures don't come out because he didn't want to spend the dough on the electricity, no one you know will ever have another party at his joint again. (heh heh heh).

I'd go with manual focus anyway to make sure the camera was shooting what I wanted it to shoot. ;>)

Sounds like you're ready to rock and roll. Have fun.
Mark


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3/30/2006 7:24:51 PM

 
Marquee Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/17/2004
  Mark, Thanks for sharing your wisdom!! Party's tonight - I'll update when I get the prints.

Marquee


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4/1/2006 1:39:11 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Thanks Marquee. I'll look forward to hearing how we did. And, my pleasure. Any time.
M/


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4/2/2006 5:41:35 PM

 
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