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Author Topic: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent  (Read 3061 times)

phemark

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Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« on: June 14, 2012, 11:12:55 AM »
Hello,

Situation:

My company is throwing an event tomorrow evening (indoors, ~50-80 people). As one of my colleagues has been doing photography as a serious hobby for the past 20 years, he was going to do it, but, as you can guess, he had to cancel. And he recommended me instead.... (Because they wouldn't find a proper photographer on such a short notice, or probably don't want to pay him, i don't know...)

It wont be a world class event, but still, there will be speeches, awards etc. so some nice pictures will still need to be taken. And I am quite worried but excited to do this too:)
(And I have to do this, because as they told me, its either me, or no photographer - so I should feel no pressure at all:D)

The reason I don't feel fully confident, is not that I just got in into photography (got my Canon 60D just a couple of months ago, 5000+ photos so far). But most of all, that I don't have a fast lens or a flash.... All I've got is 15-85 and 5 pound diffuser on my built in flash...  (Sigma 30mm F1.4 was next in my wishlist, but a bit later on)

So my questions to you:
Having just Canon 60D and 15-85 with no flash, what is the best way to get some decent pictures indoors?
What pictures to take?
What not to miss?
What to look out for?
Can I use ISO 6400 or should I limit myself to max 3200?
Can I use inbuilt flash at all? does that diffuser help? (I've used it for my personal shots, and it does seem to soften shadows on the face a bit..)
Aperture priority or manual?


Thank you for all your help.
And even if event isn't huge as such, it is huge for me, and I want to do my best, because I've never photographed anything official yet


P.S. Kit: Canon 60D, 15-85, F3.5-5.6, flash diffuser which goes on top of the built in flash, 2 batteries, 40GB+ of SD cards. Going to shoot in RAW, then process in LR, just in case i mess up a lot:)

P.P.S. I know my camera and gear quite good, I'm just not sure how it will cope in low light situation - thats my biggest fear

P.P.P.S. I cannot use other person's gear, because its Nikon, and I wont have time to rent a new lens, 15-85 is all I've got... (and I'm not sure i would know how to use external flash to the fullest extent, if I rented it - never used it before)

P.P.P.P.S. But I am excited about this, as well:)

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Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« on: June 14, 2012, 11:12:55 AM »

Jettatore

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 11:34:37 AM »
If there is time to rent equipment might help some.  But you'll need to find a local rental shop as there isn't time to do mail order rental, obviously.  Otherwise see if you can borrow some equipment.  Failing all of that, perhapsyou will get some better advice shortly.

ChrisAnderson

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 01:50:35 PM »
I'd do everything i could (craigslist, local shops, etc)  to see if I could get my hands on a fast prime before the event. 
Something like the 50 f/1.4 or 28 f/1.8 would be good -  Even if the lighting is so poor that you're still forced to use higher ISOs, people will see the bokeh and be like "WOW THAT LOOKS AMAZING"

Use your built-in flash in conjunction with available light - slow down your shutter speed to around 1/6, check your white balance, and then adjust the flash power accordingly.   You can do that with your kit lens, but it's going to look a lot worse than a wider aperture prime.

Drizzt321

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 04:13:07 PM »
I'd recommend finding the local photo rental location and renting 1 or 2 additional lenses. Specifically if you're going to need to be back some distance for the speeches, you should look at the 24-70 or 24-105. That'll give you ~38-112/168mm, which would be pretty good for needing a wider angle to get multiple people, to short telephoto so you can be standing back 15-20 feet so you're not right in front.

Depending on the lighting you may need to go to ISO 3200, but if there's a podium/stage it's likely there will be decent lighting right on there. For other photos, you likely will need to use the flash, preferably a hotshoe flash (580 EXII or the new 600 EX), again you can rent. Bring extra AA batteries though! And try not to point the flash right at the people, angle it up at least partly.

I'd recommend full manual, unless there's plenty of light. Otherwise it'll set your shutter speed to extremely low. On the whole, try not to get too wide of an aperture. f/2.8 is probably the widest I would go, otherwise your DoF will get so small it'll be really hard for you to get the subject's face/eyes in focus correctly. If you shoot with flash, you can probably go up to f/4-5.6 to get more of the subject in focus as well.

Also, try to relax a bit! It'll be nerve racking for you, I'm sure, especially since there is so much pressure on you since you work at this company. Also, if you do rent equipment, have them pay for it. It's the least they can do.
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phemark

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 05:56:58 AM »
Thanks for the replies.

I read a lot about it, and decided to rent a 580 flash (gonna get it in an hour)

I never used it before, but read a bit, and i think im going to be using manual with settings something like this (will depend on the location/lighting once I see it):
~1/50-1/25, F5.6, iso 400-1600

together with ETTL and flash compensation if required. I think this will be easiest/give best results given my situation.

Any final recommendations?
And is it always best to point flash straight up, with flash card up, or should i point 45 degrees to the front, o the side maybe?

thanks!

LewisShermer

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 06:08:13 AM »
here's a tip:

work out the average lighting in the room with the iso (I am comfortable shooting at 1600 with my 60D) without the flash at f4 or round abouts depending on the lens. (a prime will go lower but a zoom probably wont. don't have the shutter speed any less than 1/60 unless you want to have some crazy light effects. then turn on your EX580, make sure it's set to ettl and it'll just sort the rest out for you. angle it up a bit but try and have a diffuser on it. don't rely on a zoom to get close ups though with a flash, you have to actually get up there to get the good shots
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tron

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 12:17:33 PM »
Also, try to relax a bit! It'll be nerve racking for you, I'm sure, especially since there is so much pressure on you since you work at this company. Also, if you do rent equipment, have them pay for it. It's the least they can do.

I agree 100%. Otherwise you may not even rent a flash! Your camera has one and you can combine it with high ISO!!!!  ;D  ;D (OK I am half-joking now but you get the point...)

In addition I would be calm. Anyway your pictures no matter what will be MUCH better than no pictures at all. If they were really interested they would hire a pro.

So try to have fun  :)


P.S Unfortunately if they do like your pictures they will ask again in the future ...

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 12:17:33 PM »

Rocky

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 12:37:24 PM »
Rent a 580EX II with a good diffuser and learn to use them quick. Your 15-85 will do fine with the flash for the even. Even you f1.4 lens, You will end up with very shallow depth of field.  For company event, you do want most of the people in focus, not just one (or even half) person in focus.You build in flash will cast a shadow (by the lens)on the shorter focal length. An the shorter focal length will be used mostly

RLPhoto

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 12:41:38 PM »
Hello,

Situation:

My company is throwing an event tomorrow evening (indoors, ~50-80 people). As one of my colleagues has been doing photography as a serious hobby for the past 20 years, he was going to do it, but, as you can guess, he had to cancel. And he recommended me instead.... (Because they wouldn't find a proper photographer on such a short notice, or probably don't want to pay him, i don't know...)

It wont be a world class event, but still, there will be speeches, awards etc. so some nice pictures will still need to be taken. And I am quite worried but excited to do this too:)
(And I have to do this, because as they told me, its either me, or no photographer - so I should feel no pressure at all:D)

The reason I don't feel fully confident, is not that I just got in into photography (got my Canon 60D just a couple of months ago, 5000+ photos so far). But most of all, that I don't have a fast lens or a flash.... All I've got is 15-85 and 5 pound diffuser on my built in flash...  (Sigma 30mm F1.4 was next in my wishlist, but a bit later on)

So my questions to you:
Having just Canon 60D and 15-85 with no flash, what is the best way to get some decent pictures indoors?
What pictures to take?
What not to miss?
What to look out for?
Can I use ISO 6400 or should I limit myself to max 3200?
Can I use inbuilt flash at all? does that diffuser help? (I've used it for my personal shots, and it does seem to soften shadows on the face a bit..)
Aperture priority or manual?


Thank you for all your help.
And even if event isn't huge as such, it is huge for me, and I want to do my best, because I've never photographed anything official yet


P.S. Kit: Canon 60D, 15-85, F3.5-5.6, flash diffuser which goes on top of the built in flash, 2 batteries, 40GB+ of SD cards. Going to shoot in RAW, then process in LR, just in case i mess up a lot:)

P.P.S. I know my camera and gear quite good, I'm just not sure how it will cope in low light situation - thats my biggest fear

P.P.P.S. I cannot use other person's gear, because its Nikon, and I wont have time to rent a new lens, 15-85 is all I've got... (and I'm not sure i would know how to use external flash to the fullest extent, if I rented it - never used it before)

P.P.P.P.S. But I am excited about this, as well:)

430 exII. Bounce the flash for posed photos with awards And any other posed photos. Make sure the ceiling is white and find a clean non distracting background.

50mm 1.8 or 1.4 if possible for speeches. It will get you far enough not to distract on your 60d but is fast enough to combine with high ISOs to get good shots. Affordable options too.

Use your zoom if there is enough light to prevent people shake (IE moving subjects) above 1/80th of a second is my usual shutter speed for people.

Thats it. You'll do just fine and if all else fails, drop into AV mode or even program if nessesary.

DArora

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2012, 12:53:47 PM »
Recently I needed to do the same. I was asked to shoot an industrial board meeting by my professor just a day before the event. Since I don't a camera I needed to borrow one from my school. All I got was Nikon D5000, 18-55, 55-250 and one basic external flash. Like yours, the event was indoor, I practiced a couple of shots before the event started and ended up using following settings:

RAW, Manual
ISO Auto (limit to 1600 max)
Aperture: max available with the lens zoom (f/3.5-5.6)
Shutter: 1/60 (90% of the time)
Flash: on, angled, bouncing off the roof
White balance: auto (corrected in LR later, if needed)

During presentations, I tried to covered the individuals with presentation background, podium and with audience etc. I was able to do OK with given time and equipment. Took about 500 shots and about 60 are totally usable and cover almost entire event, (Though I gave ~200 pictures to my professor and he was satisfied).

I would definitely advise you to get an external flash, angle it up a bit so that it is not harsh. Your 60D and 15-85 are much better than what I had. I am sure you will do good.

Hope this helps a bit.
PS: I am just an amateur photographer.  :P
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 01:18:06 PM by DArora »

DCM1024

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2012, 01:22:35 PM »
If you drop down from manual, I would go to shutter priority - at least 1/60, 1/125 would be better. Aperture priority will decrease your shutter speed below 1/60 in low light and you'll end up with blurry photos. ISO 1600 is max I use on my T2i, I push to 3200 on the 7D, have never used 60D. Definitely use flash with available light, ETTL will balance the exposure for you. Auto WB. Good luck! Don't forget to have fun!

Rocky

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2012, 06:29:43 PM »
If you drop down from manual, I would go to shutter priority - at least 1/60, 1/125 would be better. Aperture priority will decrease your shutter speed below 1/60 in low light and you'll end up with blurry photos. ISO 1600 is max I use on my T2i, I push to 3200 on the 7D, have never used 60D. Definitely use flash with available light, ETTL will balance the exposure for you. Auto WB. Good luck! Don't forget to have fun!
This set up will force the lens to be wide open most of the time. Not my choice.
I would suggest going into manual mode. ISO 800 (1600 if you can live with the noise)  , 1/250, f8  (f5.6 for subject more than 18 ft). If the flash have the Stoffen type of diffuser, aim the flash straight (as if there is no duffuser) to get the maximum light. Alway check the exposure  after couple test shorts.  This setting will be independent of the existing the lights in the room. The flash with diffuser is your light source. Have fun.

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2012, 09:11:02 AM »
I recently found out I am shooting an event this evening on behalf of my toughest client; my wife! I am not an event photographer to say the least.

I have a 5D3, 2x 580EXII's, 1x 270EXII, 24-105, 70200/F4/IS, 17-40, 85/1.8 and 135L. I just got a cheap flash bracket from B+H and thought I would try it out for this event with  a 580EXII and a Lumiquest SBIII (small softbox).

They are looking for podium pics and award plaque line 'em up and shoot 'em type stuff. I have never seen the room so I don't know about bounce possibilities, etc...

A could of questions:
- I plan to shoot manual to avoid shutter drag (min. 1/60) and roughly 5.6-7.1 to hold everyone sharp in the picture.
- What ISO would you be comfortable with in this situation?
- Is it practical to think I can use a second strobe via Canon IR wireless to light the whole room?

Any thoughts, pointers or comments would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Need help - advice for event photography, urgent
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2012, 09:11:02 AM »