Group shots done on f1.8? Bro, not a very good idea leh. If the light is not enough you still need flash. Even when the ambient light is enough, i still see photogs using flash.
TS, on the other hand, are you trying to limit your ISO? My advice is don't, push up the ISO to get a larger depth of field by narrowing down your aperture. With wider angle and further focusing distance, F/5 should be good enough for the 2 and half row of guests in a single table, even on a full frame
I've done it with 28-75 and 24mm on APS-C (about 35mm on FF), but it depends on space available and how you can get the guests to be arranged.
The thing that I found useful was to 'use your voice' and take control of the situation.
Another thing that helps would be how good the 'brothers' are in helping to get the next table ready for taking the table shot. (ask them to do it)
if you are the wedding photographer
ask the groom to arrow one of his buddies to be the "table arranger". Table Arranger will hence plead, cajole, demand or otherwise, to help the photographer squeeze everyone into the frame, and if necessary, provide the intermediary between stubborn but respected relatives and the professional photographer.
usually a loud voice and/or big size are useful. (this is probably off topic already)
The most common complain about table shot is not how sharp the shot or how much depth there is, but how bright the background is. This is unreasonable considering that some hotel managers refuse to up the brightness beyond 75% quoting that it kills the ambience blah blah blah. So i'd suggest using the lowest safe shutter speed (for me abt 1/50) and keep the ISO medium-high (eg. 1600), at the same time assuring your flash is well diffused via bounce (card or ceiling), also gel your flash if possible to prevent big colour difference between background and foreground... your flash is about 5000+ K but hotel usually 2500k.
Two cents worth:
- Zoom lens with 24mm (full frame, or equivalent crop) for minimal distortion and max flexibility.
- Flash to freeze the motion and to correct the colour balance.
- Switch to M mode and set shutter speed to 1/50s or faster to prevent hand shake blur.
- To control the flash exposure and the DOF, play around with your aperture (recommended f/5.6 and smaller) - you want everybody's faces to correctly exposed and in focus.
- To control the ambient light exposure, play around with your ISO and shutter speed (recommended min 1/50s as above) - you don't want a black background (very ugly and amateurish-looking)
- There is no one magic exposure number as it depends very much on amount of light and the set-up of the ballroom/restaurant.
- Be quick, be polite, be professional. Nobody likes to wait for the photographer to fumble with his camera settings when everybody else is ready. For that matter, don't pixel-peep because you don't want people to wait for you.
- Take 2-3 shots before moving on to the next table - people close their eyes at wrong time (like me :P) so having a few shots of the table increases the chance that everybody's eyes are on the camera.
- Shoot in RAW if you can so that you have maximum processing headroom.
Last edited by Ah Pao; 24th December 2012 at 12:53 AM.
Thank you all for your input!!! Really appreciated it
I think some of you folks misunderstood me, I am definitely using a flash. What I am referring to is the ambiance or background light. As Ah Pao had mentioned, taking a shot with the subjects properly exposed but with a completely black background is very ugly and amateurish looking. I usually barely properly expose the background with 1/30, f2.8 and ISO3200. Was hoping to bump up the shutter a little.
To do that, I either have to bump ISO to 6400 or 12800 or lower the aperture. Like catchlights had mentioned, table shots are afterall printed in 4R. Probably no one except fellow photographers will notice the difference between the softness of f1.4 and the no-so-soft f2.8 in a 4R photo. Hence, I'm not very certain if it's really needed to shoot at f5.6 and above for a 4R in times like these when amount of available light is so crucial.
Last edited by Mythmaker; 24th December 2012 at 08:48 AM.
I don't think it is about the image quality or sharpness, but rather, people who are out of focus at f/1.4. I am quite certain the at anything larger than f/2, there will be people who are significantly blur or off focus for them to complain.
And I can't be sure which ballrooms are that dark, but in general, I use ISO 4000 - 6400, f/4 - f/5.6, 1/30s - 1/60s, and exposure was fine.
And...i dont think you should be using F1.8..
Yes, the black cave effect could amatuerish, but the overzealous 'burning in the background' or 'shutter drag', is equally amaturish. You let too much ambient in and your colors will suck once again. IE: ISO6400 at 1/30, that is way too much ambient pollution.
And, many people are forum posters, seldom shooters. Large aperture do not just suffer from thin DOF, but also from corner weakness and vignetting. All small issues, but built together to mess up a simple photo. Put the wrong bitch at the corner and she will whine.
No working pro is going to spend time correcting these problems in post production. Simply get it right there and then. f/5.6 or f/8 at ISO1600, strong vibrant colors and definition, consistency everytime and leaves nothing to chance. What is so difficult?
your flash is the main light.
the flash white balance is about 5500k, hotel ballroom is ambient light 2800k-4500k, some may have funky light don't know what color is that,
letting too much ambient come into the photos is crazy if the WB your flash not close to the ambient,
you want to spend time correcting each individual photos is up to you.
and 1/30 is too slow, you can hand held is not the issue, but you get motion blur from the guests is the issue.
Many people can handhold 1/4 sec on a good day, hobbyist boost that all the way. Brace, breath slowly, blast a string and select one sharp image out of 15. But actual wedding day, is not such a day. 1/60 or 1/125 is the way. 80 tables, wedding couple patience also very short, especially when too many people trying to make the groom drunk. Agree many people are analyzing the work behind a screen, not real working photographers.
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my record, 120 tables, but don't really go around take table shots, cos the groom himself know is impossible and also don't want to go, just yi si yi si go a few tables thank the guests and take photos.
for more then 60 tables, you have to make two rounds, one is right after cake cutting, one is after the toast,
no matter what, you have to finish the table before the guest start leaving, and make sure no tables miss out, else later the family will have excuse not to pay you in full even it is not your fault.
if u confident, u can bring any equipment u like, no one will stop u. the problem is are u experienced enough to handle situations (esp people and lightings) and thus the camera settings?
dont be a hero like what others had advised.
For group photo, just use a wide zoom lens with a good flash and bump up the iso to 1600 - 3200, aperture f4 to 5.6, shutter speed 1/60.
Whether you use P, S, A, M, auto iso etc, I assume u know how to manage, though I prefer manual.
If there's too much incandescent light throughout, put on an orangy colour gel and do a custom white balance (provided you use flash throughout or fast in switching WB.)
The flash and diffuser used are important as well, I assume you know how to deal with them.
If you scared got distortion at the edges, then dont shoot until so tight.
Leave space to show some background.
You would be surprised that you sometimes may need to crop away unwanted elements (if you can't photoshop away.)
Hence, just your fx 35mm may not be appropriate for restaurant if you want a smooth shoot.
Events and weddings are fast pace and demanding, use simple solutions and dont make it so complicated.
You can be more creative perhaps when you are the second/backup photographer (like my wife who uses a D300 and only nikkor 105mm throughout).
Sorry to be blunt, but you have to learn how to do a proper job before trying to fly or impress if thats what you are thinking - i could likely be wrong.
End of the day, you dont miss shots, everyone looks sharp and bright enough, they happy u happy, period and case closed.
Last edited by sin77; 26th December 2012 at 10:13 AM.
Last edited by sin77; 26th December 2012 at 09:38 AM.
i normally tk picture with APS-C..canon 10 22..F6.3-7.1...with flash (580ex) for table shot.
FL range 17-22 (FF 27.2mm)..min FL that i normally use is 15mm...
i normally test on some "fun ppl" on the wedding..ask them to do testing..
table arrangement is a must, i normally ask the couple to help me for it.
*just my 2 cents*