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Photography QnA: Indoor/Low-Light Photography

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Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Indoor/Low-Light Photography

Want to discuss low light photography candlelight scenes? How about indoor photography exposure settings? Any questions about low-light photography are welcome here.

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Photography Question 
Tia J. 

member since: 9/25/2005
  21 .  Orange People
My Canon Powershot Pro 1 takes beautiful outdoor pictures, and the Canon i9900 printer prints equally well. But since I've started shooting inside, I've found that my photos are orange. I'm even using studio lighting and muslim backgrounds. What do I need to do to improve the quality of my studio photos? Thanks!

10/30/2005 6:46:58 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  It sounds like the white balance setting is off. Set it for either auto or incandescent for indoor use.

10/30/2005 8:29:19 PM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2005
  Pete is right. You need to change your white balance when you go indoors.

10/30/2005 9:29:11 PM

anonymous A. 

member since: 9/19/2005
  Canon's high-end digital cameras seem to have a problem with auto white balance under incandescent light; yours sounds like an extreme case, but the general advice is not to rely on AWB but set the white balance for tungsten yourself.

11/1/2005 4:55:36 AM

Tony L. Avery

member since: 8/4/2005
  Whi5te balnce is very important. Try using auto when you're not sure even with your flash. It shopuld give you good results.

11/1/2005 2:00:51 PM

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Photography Question 
Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member
margiehurwichphotography.com

member since: 6/16/2005
  22 .  How to Shoot Candles
I am trying to take some shots of a lit candle. However, when I look at the final outcome, there is a halo around the flame. What can I do to ensure that I don't get the halo? Faster shutter speed?

10/14/2005 10:33:03 AM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Margie, I don't think the shutter speed will affect the halo you describe. I believe (and others may correct me) that the halo is related to the high contrast of the dark surroundings and the bright flame and the lens itself. Perhaps the atmospheric humidity causes a microscopic amount of coating on the lens which makes the halo appear (think of driving at night when the windshield is foggy, before the defroster kicks in - oncoming headlights have that same halo effect).
Perhaps increasing the distance from the camera to the candle would help - step back and take the shot and then enlarge the image to get the final print identical with the ones you've got. Failing that, maybe getting into a very dry environment, to eliminate humidity around the flame and on the lens as much as possible.

10/14/2005 2:37:37 PM

Jill Lenkowski

member since: 6/1/2005
  Margie, If you have a lighting kit you can angle them to a white ceiling meter those lights and then meter the candles. Use the f-stop of the lighting kit and the shutter speed from the candles (it will be small), turn the lights off (have them in sync), set your camera and take the picture. This will allow you to "burn" the candle light in.
Best Wishes,
Jill

10/18/2005 6:16:25 AM

  It could also be possible that you have a filter attached to the front of your lens which is causing a flare, thus your 'halo'.

10/18/2005 12:48:05 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Candle flames flicker, and they aren't very bright for taking pictures, so moving light sources with a long exposure added to it's an omni directional light, it's bound to leave some kind of halo. A bare bulb in a lamb makes a little bit of a halo too. Do what the first guy said.

10/18/2005 3:15:31 PM

  Only if the lamb has been recently sheared....otherwise probably couldn't see the light thru the wool....:-)

10/18/2005 3:59:11 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  A lamb ain't wooly in all places.

10/18/2005 4:04:44 PM

Banny C. Catolico

member since: 12/17/2004
  i think Gregory has a point there. I shot a lot of this kind of photo but I din't get across this problem. may on your camera setting (specially digital camera auto programs).

10/18/2005 5:50:21 PM

Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member
margiehurwichphotography.com

member since: 6/16/2005
  Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. I am going to try all of these suggestions, just to see what works best. I'll keep you posted what works.

10/19/2005 7:47:35 AM

Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member
margiehurwichphotography.com

member since: 6/16/2005
  OK...been a while since I asked this question...but I have been playing with all of these suggestions for some time. The final test was when I got a more telephoto lens. I was able to step back from the candle, thus reducing the halo effect. Thanks to everyone.

12/16/2005 7:27:41 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Nice gallery Margie. :)


Pete

12/16/2005 5:26:27 PM

Margie Hurwich
BetterPhoto Member
margiehurwichphotography.com

member since: 6/16/2005
  Thanks, Pete!

12/17/2005 10:03:38 AM

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Photography Question 
Linda L. Clark
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/3/2005
  23 .  Tips on Taking a Band's Picture Inside
I am going to photograph a 6-piece band that will be playing for a high school reunion. It will be inside - probably low light (?)... except obviously for lights on the band's faces. Should I angle the flash? Shoot direct flash? Any tips? Thanks. They want to use these pictures for their Web site.

10/7/2005 12:37:30 PM

Jenny Pate-Hyndman
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/19/2005
  I'm also very interested in hearing any ideas on this as well.

Thanks in advance!

10/8/2005 8:56:36 AM

Diane Dupuis-Kallos
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2003
  If there's any chance you can get there early before the event starts and have them pose in position with extra lighting, that would be best. If not, then bring a tripod, stake out a good spot, and try with flash and without.

10/8/2005 9:06:38 AM

Linda L. Clark
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/3/2005
  That's a good idea. I think I will get there early and try to get a shot of the band when they are dressed ... but before the crowd gets there.

10/8/2005 9:09:45 AM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  From experience, I have found Band members always get there a bit late ... and they are often nervous (edgy) as they are about to perform (which is understandable). Good luck with getting some pics before the event!
I personally would move in as close as possible, highlighting one band member at a time, with the others in the background (if they move, so what ... it can add drama to ambient light.
Forget the flash for overall use, but it can be used effectively close in (as above). Meter off the background and fill in with your flash.
You may have more of a chance getting pics as the night wears on (after playing).

10/11/2005 7:42:03 AM

Linda L. Clark
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/3/2005
  The photo shoot went well! I bounced the flash most of the time. I also had my flash power cut back 1/3-2/3. I used my telephoto lens to get a lot of close up shots of the individual band members. You are right about taking the group pic later in the evening. I waited until after the 2nd set ... and they were much more relaxed and that helped me to get a really good group photo. I used ISO 200 ... shot on Auto ... bounced flash ... and had great results! (D70 Nikon)

10/11/2005 10:17:16 AM

David M
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/4/2005
  show us some pics...

10/11/2005 10:28:46 AM

Linda L. Clark
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/3/2005
  I will do that as soon as I can...at work now. :)

10/11/2005 10:58:05 AM


BetterPhoto Member
  Include the instruments. See my gallery.. One good photo of a bassist for a local band.

10/11/2005 2:31:43 PM

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Photography Question 
S Moore

member since: 9/28/2005
  24 .  Shooting Behind Glass at an Aquarium
I will be going to Shedd Aquarium next month and I would like to know how to shoot pictures behind glass. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

9/28/2005 5:40:03 PM

Stephanie M. Stevens

member since: 4/20/2005
  I have gotten my best aquarium pictures when I had the camera lens pressed right onto the glass. This helps stabilize the camera, and keeps the flash reflection from showing up in the image. You may not be allowed to use a flash in the aquarium, so make sure you know the rules before you blind the animals. :) Good luck!

9/28/2005 8:21:41 PM

Stephanie M. Stevens

member since: 4/20/2005
  P.S.: You may want to use manual focus. Auto likes to focus on the glass instead of what's behind it.

9/28/2005 8:23:55 PM

  Stephanie is right. Stay very close to the glass. If you have a "night mode" on your camera, use that. It works very well most of the time.

9/29/2005 4:43:11 AM

Kip T. Berger
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/20/2002
  Might also try using yor circular polarizer during the shoot to lessen reflections.

9/29/2005 6:09:15 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Use a lens hood (especially a rubber one) to get up to the glass and block reflections. A dark card or jacket can also be used to lessen reflections. A polarizer can also work, but the aquarium lights are not very bright and the loss of an additional 2 stops to the polarizer will give very long shutter speeds.

From the Shedd Aquarium Web site:
Can I take pictures? Yes, but for the animals' safety and comfort, please turn off your flash everywhere but in the Oceanarium and restaurant areas. No tripods are allowed either.

9/29/2005 6:41:05 AM

  Turn your flash off first; it's pretty much useless with this type of photography. The rubber hood is a good thing. Use a higher ISO to achieve a faster shutter speed and a near wide-open aperture and don't pick on the fast movers unless you want a special-effects image:-)Good luck!

9/30/2005 5:57:21 PM

Joseph Dlhopolsky

member since: 1/28/2005
  Try to take your shots with the lens as perpendicular to the glass or acrylic as you can. The greater the angle, the more likely you will have refractory effects, apparent as soft rainbow edges and overall softness. If you're using a flash, 90 degrees will make it likely that you get flashback. Get up close to the glass to minimize this or increase the angle. It's a tradeoff. Also, look for a spot that is not smudged by lollypop encrusted hands.

10/4/2005 1:40:45 PM

eric brown

member since: 5/1/2004
  after reading all the great answer's i'd like to add try to shoot the slow moving fish as close to the glass as possible. some times the very basic's make a good shot great. i've found the farther from the glass the fish are the more blurring from thier movment I get good luck

10/7/2005 9:31:28 AM

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Photography Question 
Barrett D. Clark

member since: 6/12/2005
  25 .  Shooting Action Pictures Indoors
I would love your recommendation as to taking action photos indoors with poor lighting. I'm using a Canon 20D for reference. In full auto, a flash gets lost at distance, and the images look dark and unattractive. Using available light results in blurs. Even using the action setting, with low light slows the shutter speed to create a blur. Can't quite figure out the solution. Thanks in advance for the help.

6/12/2005 3:15:57 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2004
  I don't have the Canon 20D but have a Minolta Maxxum 7D and have found that to shoot indoors (for me meaning basketball or volleyball) that I had to get an accessory flash. This helped tremendously, and I got some great photos as a result! Another option would be to invest in a lens that will accommodate a wider aperture, but I'm thinking that getting that with a zoom at all you are looking at some $$. What are you setting ISO on? I have to put mine on at least 800 and most of the time 1600 to get the best results! Doing this and with my flash and a 75-300 f5.6 lens got me results I was pleased with!

6/12/2005 4:30:55 PM

Barrett D. Clark

member since: 6/12/2005
  Michelle, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question. I've been taking outdoor photos for some time, but still an amateur in every sense. I was using (in a gym also) an ef 100-400L 4.5-5.6. Perhaps a faster aperture and a flash are the answer. I'm trying to photograph individuals, so the zoom is preferred. What type of lens do you use in that situation? Thanks again.

6/12/2005 4:51:55 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2004
  Hi Barrett ... If you get an accessory flash, your 100-400 lens should work for you fine! I used a sigma 75-300 lens and when I was sitting in the stands it usually had to be on 300 ... sometimes I would stand on the floor and could go down to 100mm ... at the 300mm range my aperture would only go to 5.6 but that seemed to work. The only advantage to a faster aperture would be to try to avoid having to use flash but you may find you still have to have one and the on camera one regardless will most likely not be strong enough! My flash was around $100, which is much cheaper than a lens will probably be! Good Luck!

6/12/2005 5:18:27 PM

Barrett D. Clark

member since: 6/12/2005
  Michelle, Thanks so much.

Best Wishes

Barrett

6/12/2005 5:32:49 PM

Barrett D. Clark

member since: 6/12/2005
  Michelle, just looked at your pictures, great work, I love the spray plane. Thanks for the help. I'm just starting, but love doing this.

6/12/2005 5:45:01 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2004
  Thanks Barrett! That's what makes these sites so nice because the access to information is so accessible and people are usually very willing to help if they are able! Good luck with your photo adventures!

6/12/2005 8:01:24 PM

Jeff Wignall

member since: 11/8/2003
  Hi Barrett,
I just happened to catch your question, and I have a couple of quick suggestions. I agree with Michelle that a fairly strong flash is a good idea (as is boosting the ISO to around 800); just raising the ISO will also greatly increase the distance capability of the flash. You might also look at a neat accessory from L.L. Rue called the "Project-a-flash" that uses a fresnel lens that fits over your flash to boost light by as much as three stops. It only sells for about $35 (http://www.rue.com/teleflash.html), and it's probably a worthwhile thing to try if you've got a good long lens and a good flash. The thing is, it really only works well with lenses of 300mm or longer (otherwise, it vignettes the image a bit). Check it out. I don't care for flash much, and I sometimes would rather use REALLY long exposures (a half second or longer) and just let the motion create an interesting blur, but if sharpness and good exposure are important, that flash accessory might help. Jeff

6/12/2005 8:48:18 PM

Jeff Wignall

member since: 11/8/2003
  Some grammar! "....if you've GOT a good long lens and a good flash." There, that sounds better :)

6/12/2005 8:50:34 PM

Barrett D. Clark

member since: 6/12/2005
  Jeff, thanks for the input. I was torn, because the available light and motion of the extremities made some really neat shots, but often the features such as a face blurred as well. Thanks again

6/13/2005 5:47:50 AM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2004
  Don't forget also Barrett. . that sometimes "breaking the rules" will often times give you some creative images. . . and since you have digital you aren't wasting film so just experiment and see what you can do . . . I myself sometimes forget that aspect of things. . .

6/13/2005 6:13:23 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Barrett:
In your original post you state: "... In full auto, a flash gets lost at distance, and the images look dark and unattractive. Using available light results in blurs. Even using the action setting, with low light slows the shutter speed to create a blur. ..."
Are you using green box and the icon exposure modes only (i.e. the "Basic" modes)? In these modes, you are limited by the camera automatically setting ISO between 100 and 400. If you shoot instead in the "Creative" modes of P, Av, Tv, and M, you can manually set the ISO higher, to 800, 1600, or 3200. Setting higher ISO will allow you to use faster shutter speeds to stop action in the available light. With a flash the higher ISO settings keep the background from going dark and extends the flash range.
The Basic modes also limit you to Auto White Balance, which may or may not give you optimal white balance with the gym lighting. In Creative modes, you can select the white balance using one of the presets, taking a reading to set a custom white balance, or (if you can determine it) set it directly to the K color temperature of the lights.

6/13/2005 7:34:06 AM

RICK Summers

member since: 2/19/2005
 
 
 
Barrett:
I encounter this situation frequently as I have shot thousands of frames of my daughters who are USA Gymnasts. Flash is forbidden in gymnastics competitions and so I have had to fall back on fast lenses and higher ISO settings. I also use the 20D and have had success with 1600 and 3200 ISO's and as others have noted using the Creative Modes. I regularly use a 28-135 2.8-4.5 and 70-200 2.8 IS depending on distance and shot requirements (i.e. a group shot or an individual)combined with higher ISO I have no problem with blur as I can shoot between 1/125 and 1/500 and these ladies can really move fast. I also would recommend you always use a tripod even when using an image stabilized lense(set it for vertical stabilization for panning).
Good Luck

6/14/2005 12:36:58 PM

RICK Summers

member since: 2/19/2005
 
 
 
Barrett:
I encounter this situation frequently as I have shot thousands of frames of my daughters who are USA Gymnasts. Flash is forbidden in gymnastics competitions and so I have had to fall back on fast lenses and higher ISO settings. I also use the 20D and have had success with 1600 and 3200 ISO's and as others have noted using the Creative Modes. I regularly use a 28-135 2.8-4.5 and 70-200 2.8 IS depending on distance and shot requirements (i.e. a group shot or an individual)combined with higher ISO I have no problem with blur as I can shoot between 1/125 and 1/500 and these ladies can really move fast. I also would recommend you always use a tripod even when using an image stabilized lense(set it for vertical stabilization for panning).
Good Luck

6/14/2005 12:43:39 PM

Lavoisier A. R.
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/17/2005
  Well as god as the advice metion above may be. I think going with a F2.8 70-200 and a 300mm lens is the best being you are looking to do this for a living. More so if you are looking to blow up these pics to poster size or more.
Good LucK

6/14/2005 5:18:19 PM

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Photography Question 
Bode 

member since: 5/27/2005
  26 .  Photographing People in a Club
 
I'm shooting in a club for a magazine. I need to capture the natural light and color of the club, but I need the 20 people in the bar sharp and no grain. What do you think the best way is to do this. Shooting this weekend . Thank you very very much.

5/27/2005 1:10:45 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  Welcome Bode,
You didn't say what kind of camera you had, type of lens or lenses. Do you have a light meter? Have you taken any test shots? Bright natural light or low natural light? Today's Sunday, so it's probably too late. Don't forget, drink after the shoot.
sam

5/29/2005 11:27:42 AM

Bode 

member since: 5/27/2005
 
 
 
Hey Sam, thank you for answering. Not too late. I'm shooting 8 clubs. The ones I shot already are just sitting-still shots of people drinking. They are pretty good. Yes, I have a meter and 2 pro foto light kits and also 3 tungsten heads. I'm shooting with a D1x Nikon. I have several lenses. The club is dark, and I want to get people dancing and capture the light on the dance floor. But I need sharpness and little grain.

5/29/2005 12:29:51 PM

Bode 

member since: 5/27/2005
 
 
 
Hey Sam, thank you for answering. Not to late. I'm shooting 8 clubs. The ones I shot already are just sitting still shots of peope drinking. They are pretty good. Yes I have a meter and 2 pro foto light kits and also 3 tungston heads. I'm shooting with a D1x Nikon.I have several lens.The club is dark and I want to get people dancing and capture the light on the dance floor. But I need sharp and little grain.

5/29/2005 12:31:06 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  You will probably need flash to freeze dance moves in a dimly-lit club setting ... and flash used normally will probably dominate and overpower the light on the dance floor you're trying to capture. A combination of a slower shutter speed in conjunction with the flash will record ambient light AND freeze the dance moves. Don't go slower than 1/30 second, though, or the ghosting of the action of the dancers might be too noticeable.

5/29/2005 1:43:41 PM

uche oji

member since: 7/23/2002
  I'm Uche Oji from London. I've actually taken cramped-location-dimly-lit club shots with live Dance DJs on my digital SLR with great results. Firstly, you've got digital so afford to experiment with shutter speeds and check results. Secondly, focus manually unless your autofocus works quickly in dark locations. I shoot at ISO 400 and f8-f10 (to ensure sharpness if focus is slightly off) between 1/30 to second: the long exposures show the strobe lights in action. Try f8 at 1/8, handheld. Fit a flash to your hotshoe, hold still when you take shots. Or you can meter off the lights, and use flash to fill in the people. It's your call. Good Luck.
To see my examples email uche_oji@hotmail.com

6/2/2005 11:02:12 AM

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Photography Question 
Amanda R. Milam

member since: 5/10/2005
  27 .  Concert Photography
I'm going to a Kenny Chesney concert in July. I am in the 8th row and have a Canon Rebel 2000 SLR film camera. What brand and speed of film will be good to take pictures with? I will be using a Canon 75-300mm lens with the camera, any suggestions on how to make my pictures better will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

5/26/2005 2:02:12 PM

Brandon Currey

member since: 4/15/2005
  You're going to have to be sneaky with getting the camera and that size lens in. Putting it in your purse won't work. You may have to hide it on you. It will be tough. If you are able to get it in, it is still going to be tough to not get caught with it during the concert.
Kenny puts on a great show. Have fun!

5/26/2005 7:28:37 PM

Mandi Benoit
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2005
  I say the same as Brandon ... you may want to check with the concert venue beforehand, because chances are you won't be able to bring it in. I had the same dilemma a few weeks ago when I went to see 3 Doors Down. I called ahead of time and they said "no cameras". One of my friends didn't listen and she brought hers. She had to walk all the way back to the car, and it was a general admission concert so needless to say she ended up with not-so-great seats. HOWEVER, if you have a good camera phone they can't stop that ... hehe lol :)
Kenny ROCKS. you'll have a great time ;)

5/27/2005 5:16:20 AM

Amanda R. Milam

member since: 5/10/2005
  Well, I thought the same thing, that they may not let me bring a camera. While I was looking on Ticketmaster.com, Some of his shows stated " No video recorders, and no professional cameras". The venue that I'm going to only said "No video cameras" so maybe I won't have a problem. The only thing I was worried about was the flash. I emailed the venue yesterday, but have not got a response yet. I told them what kind of camera I had and asked if there would be a problem with using a flash. OK, now let me ask this: If they say that I can bring the camera, but can't use the flash what do I need to do in order for my pictures to turn out good? Thanks for the information.

5/27/2005 3:54:43 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  Try to fenaggle a back-stage pass! :)
All kidding aside, it's doubtful you will get past the gate with your camera with any "name" performer such as ol' Kenny, but if they do let you in with it, it's wise to be prepared for the worst possible lighting scenarios.
A film of at least 800 ISO (or even 1600) would insure that you would have some flexibility if the lighting gets real dim.
You will likely experience color shifts due to the lights they use, so negative film might be better to use than slide film. (Negative film is easier to correct during the printing process.) Black and white film is another option, and will negate any need for correction.
From the 8th row, your lens should yield great frame coverage.
P.S. Don't forget to enjoy the show!

5/27/2005 4:43:56 PM

Amanda R. Milam

member since: 5/10/2005
  Thanks for all the information. If I'm able to get my camera in (I'm taking my boyfriend's Canon A95, just in case), do you think that Fuji 800 speed film will give an OK picture? I also bought a Canon 420EX flash, although I don't know if I'll be able to use it or not, but does anyone know if that should be powerful enough from the 8th row? Even if I don't get to use it at the concert, I needed the flash for a wedding that I'll be taking pictures at in July so I needed the flash anyways.

5/29/2005 2:43:05 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Amanda,
Good luck in getting the camera in. It's not likely they'll allow it. If I were photographing a concert from that distance, I'd be using Fuji Press 1600 (there is a consumer version of it, but finding it is another matter). Sounds like you've got the consumer version of Press 800, which might work. I wouldn't risk it going into it with ambient light levels completely unknown. Concert lighting is quite variable. Fuji Press 800 and 1600 are quite forgiving of man-made lighting even though they're daylight films (labs usually don't have too much trouble color balancing the prints).
Forget the flash. In a concert venue, there are no walls or ceiling to contain the light (compared to inside your home), and it dissipates rapidly with distance. While the flash you have is fairly respectable, I doubt it has enough horsepower to light up the stage from the distance you'll be. Even if it did have enough steam, the light from it would completely overrun ambient stage lighting and your photographs would bear no resemblance to what you remember seeing there (nor would they be quite as dramatic). It would also be a dead giveaway to security that you're using a camera.
- John Lind

5/29/2005 11:35:36 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Amanda, see http://photo.net/learn/concerts/mirarchi/concer_i. A very good and thorough tutorial on concert photography.

5/31/2005 7:40:09 AM

David Oppenheimer

member since: 6/26/2005
  hi, i've had best results using Provia 400 speed slide film if its really dark set the camera's iso manually to 800, then tell the developer you shot the 400 speed film at 800 and they will make correction during developing, this is based on professional advice and experience, also to get the camera in , ware it over your back and drape a coat over it, keep strap short to be above waist line, choose a line where they seem to be less interested in searching, ( you may also try to construct some form of laminent which can help you get away with alot) check out my concert photography site www.performanceimpressions.com

Dave

6/26/2005 10:29:26 PM

David Oppenheimer

member since: 6/26/2005
  hide camera till you get to your seat then bust out a lamenint, few will want to come close to actually read it, shoot with confidence, look like you belong there with it,

check out my site
www.performanceimpressions.com

6/26/2005 10:33:09 PM

Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/26/2004
  Just a thought, you can make your own press pass. Don't claim to work for anyone you don't work for, be honest. I do a lot of freelance work, however I don't work for one specific publication. I simply made a pass that stated that I am a freelance photographer and made sure to put a head shot type photo on it. You can have it badge laminated at one of the larger "Office" stores and get the neck lanyard or a badge clip usually for under $2.00. People tend to take you more seriously and are a little more willing to help if you look and act professional.

I recently contacted the head of marketing at a large ampitheater to find out the proper protocol for obtaining a press pass at a concert, which by the way gets you to the front of the stage for usually the first 2-3 songs and then you must sit in a paid seat or move from that area. It is preferred that you work for a publication, and contact them as far in advance as possible. I was told at least a week and a half. Sound confident and act professional. Contact your local newspaper and offer to shoot the concert for them for free. The concert article listed by Jon Close is an incredible article and has so much information to get you on your way.

Most of all, if you do get in, act as professional as possible. Flash is not usually used and is considered as being inconsiderate of the performer. As mentioned above it really doesn't do much good under concert conditions. I know it will be hard, but remember to act as if you are there on assignment and not as a starstruck fan. It may be the deciding factor between you gaining credibility and future access or not.

Good luck, I hope it goes well for you.

Liza

6/27/2005 6:08:12 AM

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Photography Question 
Lori Knight

member since: 5/21/2005
  28 .  Wedding Photography in a Low-Light Church
I am going to be shooting my brother's wedding in a low-light church. I am not the best with a flash, but would love to get some really great intimate pictures. Any ideas???

5/21/2005 6:20:27 AM

Doug  Elliott
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/18/2004
  First, what is your budget? You could get permission from the church to change the lamps in all the lights to ones of higher wattage. You can use hot lights to bring up the overall luminous of the church. Alternatively, you can use a tripod and shoot long exposures. I normally photograph most of the wedding party before the wedding ceremony. Therefore, I have everyone at the church two and one half hours before the ceremony. I am at the church one half hour before anyone else shows. I am setting up my flash equipment and working from light meter readings from a Sekonic 558. I have my assistant fire the flash and take meter readings, so I know that when the bride comes down the isle, at five rows from me I need to have my camera set at 60sec and f/5.6.
If you can, go to the church a week before the wedding and practice. When the big day comes, you will be ready.
Good luck and keep shooting.

5/21/2005 7:21:43 PM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  Doug's advice is good but rather complicated.
Rather than going through all that, first find out if your church has any restrictions. If so, and if you talk to the priest a few days ahead of time, he might be willing to relax some of these restrictions just for you, allowing you to use flash or stand where photographers normally aren't allowed. Use 800 film, use auto or TTL flash, and set the flash exposure for a 1/2 extra stop for better exposure. Set the camera at f/5.6 at 1/30 sec. (I use 1/30 instead of 1/60 because that brings out the background better so that it doesn't look like you're photographing inside a black hole; just make sure that the ambient exposure is at least 2-3 stops under that, or you'll get ghosting in your flash images. If that's the case, switch to 400 film, and use the 800 for available-light shots.)
Two lenses that I always use in churches to help with getting those intimate pictures, in addition to my standard zoom, are an 85mm f/1.8, and a 70-200mm zoom f/3.5-4.5. The first one I use wide open with ambient light, and the second one I use with flash, and I'm able to get real close. (To all of you photographers who own a 70-200 f/2.8, I am not strong enough to lug one of those around, let alone lift it up to my face, but the one I have is great.)
Yes, use that tripod. Go up to the balcony and photograph both with a telephoto and wide-angle lenses. Go back down, stand in the back, put your camera on the ground on one of those little table-top tripods, tilt it up, and you'll get a wonderful shot that everyone I've done this for loves.
When you're up close, make sure you're ready for any intimate moments between the couple, such as any conversation between the two, laughter, smiles, etc.
Now, back to film (or digital setting). In another camera try a roll of black & white 3200-speed film for available light shots (made by Ilford or Kodak). Black & white is more intimate than color, and most of my brides ask for it. You can also use 400-speed with flash; the grain is better.
Doug, I don't know if it will be possible for Lori to get to the church 2-1/2 hours before the ceremony. There might be another wedding going on, but won't the bride want photos first at her house with her parents and bridesmaids? After that, I get to the church 1/2 hour early to photograph the groom and his attendants before the ceremony, and I do all the altar photos (with bridal party and parents) after the ceremony.
Lori, you didn't mention whether you are a wedding photographer or not. If you are, that's fine; you know what to do. But if you aren't I strongly feel that something as important as a wedding should be left to the professionals.

5/24/2005 2:41:28 PM

Norbert Maile

member since: 7/28/2004
  Try using some of the high speed films. They are much better now than ever, and for color an 800 would work well. If you are going to make an enlargement over 8x10 drop to a 400 film. Try also black and white 3200 film but shoot and develope it at 1600. The results will amaze you. Shot at 3200 will give you nice grainy and sensual close ups.Check out the book, " The Art of Wedding Photography" by Bambi Cantrell. It is full of info. Remember, figure out how many rolls of film you will need,, and double it! Good shooting.

5/24/2005 9:57:47 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Lori,
Not sure from your question whether you are shooting film or digital. Never the less, shooting weddings in a church is not all that complicated. I shoot all digital these days and generally switch between ISO 100 and ISO 400. Use ISO 100 when shooting with flash and use ISO 400 for the ceremony shots wihtout flash. In order to capture the beautiful ambient light of the church, you will need to shoot the posed shots and ceremony shots with your camera on a tripod at a fairly slow shutter speed (e.g. 1/4 to 1/15 Sec). I carefully time my ceremony shots to minimize blur due to movement. Remember that any candid shots and action shots, such as the Processional and Recessional shots need to be shot at 1/60 Sec in order to freeze motion without blur. I hope this info helps and pray that your wedding photography experience is a good one!

God Bless,
Greg

5/25/2005 9:41:34 AM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  I still say that there's nothing wrong with 1/30 sec for the recessional & processional - the flash stops the movement, and you get more ambient light in your background.
I don't use 100 in the church, not even for the altar portraits. I use 400 for the whole thing, and yes, I still use a tripod for posed and some ceremony shots, even if I use flash. These days 400 is so good (with the professional films) that there really is no difference between that and the 160 speed films.

5/25/2005 11:02:58 AM

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Photography Question 
Richard M. 

member since: 4/23/2005
  29 .  Interior Photography Without Flash
I am embarking on photographing interiors and exteriors of historic properties - homes, churches, etc. What is the best equipment to capture the most optimal pictures/ I'm hoping for the quality that one would see in a coffee-table-type book. Most people I've encountered do NOT allow flash equipment inside the structures. How to capture the best photo without flash, and what type of equipment is needed?

4/23/2005 9:44:57 PM

Chris J. Browne

member since: 3/11/2005
  You are trying to light a set without lighting the set. Granted, you only want one image instead of 24 images per second, but the principle remains ... you must light it. Natural light is beautiful, but it needs help when trying to squish it down to film. Contrast range is your killer here. Simply put, the world contains more contrast than film or digital mediums. You need to modify the light to match the film or digital medium: namely reduce contrast.
I would check out how motion picture production crews light a set ... it will give you oogles of ideas for lighting the image. Flashes are less distructive than hot lights ... for still photography.
Good luck.

4/24/2005 7:26:53 AM

Richard M. 

member since: 4/23/2005
  Thank you very much for responding. I will definitely take your suggestion and continue working on the task.

4/24/2005 9:05:39 AM

Kerry L. Walker

member since: 12/21/2004
  You will need film that is balanced to the light that is available to you, most likely tungsten (or daylight film and a filter to compensate for the type of lighting), a good tripod, and a cable release (or use the self-timer). This is assuming you will not be able to use flash or other additional types of lighting. Available light is often hard to work with but can give you some dramatic shots.

4/24/2005 11:26:38 AM

  Richard,
Many photographers looking to do a coffee-table book and/or that type of project shoot with 4x5 view cameras for a couple reasons: the superior quality of 4" x 5" film, and the ability to correct for perpective. When shooting a big project like this, you cannot have crooked doors and windows ... the images need to be square. This does not solve the lighting issues regarding contrast within the scene. If you can't use strobe, maybe you can use hot lights and shoot at dusk. You can get various setups that have swings and tilts or even a Perspective Control lens so you can shoot digitally. But the PC lenses often become useless with cameras that have small sensors, because they are no longer wide-angle enough. You can also correct these same perspectives in Photoshop, and it works well, but may not appear as true as an image taken on 4x5. If you cannot use lights of any kind, you could also try to increase the dynamic range of the digital image by shooting for the highlight and again for the shadow and combining in Photoshop.

Is your project for these historic sites and you have permission? Or is this a personal project? I wonder, because if it was for, say, the County Historic Society, they should let you in with lights. However, if this is your own project, a lot of these places don't allow flash because they don't want photographers shooting pictures and selling them. They want control over that. Graceland is a perfect example. They control every photo and video footage as to how and where it can be used. Your project sounds challenging ... have fun!

4/24/2005 11:39:29 AM

William Koplitz

member since: 2/28/2004
  You will need a tripod. I wouldn't bother with film, but use a digital back on a view camera, you will need perspective control, you will need to make multiple exposures and layer and adjust them in Photoshop. The best way to make the room look the way you want it to is to paint with the light.

4/26/2005 5:28:39 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  BP.com should put a large banner at the top of the form where people enter questions. It should read, "If asking ANY questions about equipment, please let us know your BUDGET."

Do you already have a camera and are looking for advice on lenses & accessories, or are you starting from ground zero? If this is a personal project, how much do you want to spend? If this is a new career, how much do you want to invest upfront?

There's almost always a solution if your budget is unlimited. For example, a digital back on a view camera would work very well for this application, if you have several thousand dollars to spend.

4/26/2005 7:10:49 AM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  Here are simple instructions. All the lights should be on. Meter your interior light. For churches an average reading is somewhere around 1 sec. at f/8 for 400 speed film, but it varies. You must add a full stop with interior tungsten lighting; it needs extra exposure to record the colors better. Use a light blue filter on your lens. I use an 82B, and it helps a lot. (Add 2/3rds exposure if metering manually to compensate for this filter.) If shooting with slide film you might want to use the 80-series filters. (Ignore the filter info if you are using tungsten-balanced film.) Set your camera on a tripod. Use a cable release, with mirror lock-up if you have it. Watch your verticals and horizontals; they must be perfect. And shoot. That's it.
For homes, same thing, except be aware of any lamps and make sure they throwing light where you want it.
If you can see the outdoors through a window that will be visible in the photograph, see if you can make the interior exposure match the outdoor exposure. (Ha, difficult to do unless you can use flash, but keep it in mind for very professional-looking photos.)

4/27/2005 12:36:11 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  You will need to pack an 80A filter for under tougsten lights and there is another one for floresent. Its best to do this on camera and "not" with software. If they don't allow flash photograpy they probobly wont allow tripods either. I have found places like that. NO TRIPODS. So you will have to learn to hold er straght. Use 400 asa film to keep your speed up. Remember you loose a stop or two with the filter. The sunlight streaming though the windows will provide some stunning effects. You might have to come back a couple of times, at differnt times of the day to check that one out. Sounds like a fun project.

4/27/2005 4:02:44 AM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  Well, I don't know about handholding 400-speed film inside a church, unless you use an f/2 aperture or something like that. I once had trouble handholding 3200-speed film in a dark church for a wedding! (No kidding.) I would recommend 800-speed film (Portra or Fuji NPZ; the others aren't as good for that coffee-table-book-look). Scott - the reason I use an 82A or B filter instead of 80A is because of the 2 stops lost with the 80A, and my lab corrects the remainder (for film), plus sometimes there is some outdoor light filtering in as well. I do agree, though, that 80A is the proper one for tungsten lighting.
If you aren't allowed to bring a tripod, I'd recommend bringing a tiny one - a tabletop. That way you can rest it on the floor and angle the camera up a bit (a nice effect I use for weddings); you can probably rest it on a pew or something, or even on your chest.
Make sure you also have a wide-angle lens (19-35mm or so); you'll want to use it at least half the time. In addition to your wide-angle shots, don't forget to zero in on some details, like a statue, candle, whatever.

4/27/2005 4:09:32 PM

Richard M. 

member since: 4/23/2005
  I truly appreciate the time everyone has taken to assist me. Your answers and suggestions are very valuable. Thank you for your time so much.

4/29/2005 9:29:10 AM

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Photography Question 
leah 

member since: 9/8/2003
  30 .  Lighting in Photography: Tungsten and Strobe
I am unsure how to combine tungsten lights and strobe light, and also how you would meter for them.

4/16/2005 4:05:00 AM

  Leah,
It all depends on what you are trying to do. Are the tungsten lights lamps on an end table next to the couch where you are shooting a family portrait? Or are they ceiling lights in a big room?

The thing to remember here is the tungsten can be viewed as "ambient" lights and are best controlled by the shutter speed, and your strobes are best controlled by the f/stop.

Basically, you do your set-up, and let's say you are shooting a portrait. So start with a fast shutter speed and work on getting your exposure for the strobes correct, changing your f/stop until you see a good exposure on your subject from the strobe. I am assuming you are shooting digital and can view the results on the LCD.

Once your strobe exposure looks good, start changing your shutter speed by making it longer, 1/60 to say 1/8, maybe as long as 1 second, or until the tungsten lit part of the scene looks like you want it.

Hope that answers it for you.

4/16/2005 7:56:44 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member
cammphoto.com

member since: 7/17/2003
  To add another point to Charlie's response: Be prepared for some amber color shifts, as ambient (tungsten) light illuminates portions of the scene not dominated by the strobes.

4/16/2005 3:17:51 PM

Karen E. Michaels
karenemichaels.com

member since: 8/24/2004
  You can counteract the amber color shifts by using a polarized filter

4/17/2005 11:00:15 AM

William Koplitz

member since: 2/28/2004
  The best solution is to balance the flash output to the tungsten lights. You need a warm (brownish/orange filter) on your flash to bring it close to the balance of the room lights. This is easy with digital because you can instantly see the results of adding filters to you flash. The other option is to change the tungsten lights to a more daylight balance and leave your flash unfiltered. Daylight balanced tungsten lights are expensive because of small amount of time they will burn at a daylight balance.

4/19/2005 5:51:07 AM

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