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Thread: Taking photos in restaurants

  1. #1
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    Default Taking photos in restaurants

    Hi guys n gers,

    i've been taking photos of myself and friends when having meals in restaurants.
    what sort of setting should i use if i'm not planning to use flash n just slower ( longer) exposure to capture the ambience/mood and food?

    my problems so far are long exposure resulting in over yellowish cast on photos, blury photos as i;m still learning to hold for about 1/3 seconds and blury people as they move during that long exposure.

    my usual setup is as follows;
    1. nikon d70s
    2. 28-100 nikkon 3.5 to 4.6g (rough guess here)
    3. florescent filter ( to reduce the yellow glow)

    i'm planning to get either a 50mm prime ( say f1.8? )
    would the prime help capture sharper photos with ease? or would i be better off with just using the flash n risk pissing everyone off in the restaurant?

    cheers

  2. #2
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    Default Re: taking photos in restaurants

    I typically use a prime when shooting in a restaurant (I do quite a few restaurant shots for my blog), for both the food and people shots. Usually turn up the iso to between 800 - 1250 which I find gives me a good balance between grain and light sensitivity on my 1D. For handheld shots, I try not to shoot below 1/30, and a little faster for people shots. Those settings are usually achievable in most restaurants, even the real poorly lit ones. Post processing in PS will also yield better results.

    As for WB setting, shooting in RAW will allow you to adjust color temperature to acceptable levels in the post processing phase. I don't usually bother with setting the proper WB at the time of the shoot, and prefer to leave the camera in Auto WB.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: taking photos in restaurants

    hi Terence,
    tat was a really fast reply.
    judging from your past experience and guessing you r from the canon camp,
    wat sort of difference would i get if i were to buy the cheaper (but higher f-stop say f 1.8 )prime ?

    would i be able to compensate for that extra 0.4 f-stop by increasing the iso n exposure time?

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    Default Re: taking photos in restaurants

    I don't think the max f-stop is the issue here. I try not to shoot wide open as you need some DOF to keep the food shots looking sensible. My main point I'm trying to make is that you should use whatever settings to ensure you can make a proper exposure no slower than 1/30. Even if it's underexposed some, it's still correctable to a certain extent in the post processing phase... you can get away with quite a bit shooting digital.

    You're right, I don't have much experience with Nikon glass as I'm mainly a Canon user. I daresay an investment in some of the mid to higher end primes will yield great results. I have used the cheap AF-D 35/2 and like it quite a bit. Quite a bargain for a $300+ lens and it looks pretty good wide open and even better when stopped down. I would much prefer that over the 50/1.8.

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    Default Re: taking photos in restaurants

    hmm...i sort of get a clearer picture now.
    looks like a trip to the parts shops should fix my photography needs for the time being.

    need to get my paws on the primes understand how they work out for me.
    thanks terence.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: taking photos in restaurants

    hmm... since you're shooting digital, you could lose the florescent filter. Not sure if it cuts light, but the point about shooting digital is that you can do a white balance... shooting raw as mentioned would give you better control in post.

  7. #7

    Default Re: taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by alexj View Post
    hmm... since you're shooting digital, you could lose the florescent filter. Not sure if it cuts light, but the point about shooting digital is that you can do a white balance... shooting raw as mentioned would give you better control in post.
    That's where is problem is. If you have a mix of lights and your flashlight is giving you another output, its going to be very messy to WB.

    The best is to cover the flash with florescent filter, set the WB to florescent and shoot.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    thanks for the tips guys.

    so it would seem to lose the florescent filter if i wasnt using the flash n use the florescent filter n florescent wb when using flash.

    now i start to appreciate the work behind getting a good picture

  9. #9

    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    I got chased out before in an attempt to shoot in a restaurant...
    I am NOT a PROfessional photographer and photography is NOT my hobby

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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    erm...how many pics did u take before that happened?
    guess the flash or shutter sound can be irritating and may lead to unpleasant shoo shoo by the management

  11. #11

    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    true on the flash part, dun use it, my best advise is to turn your iso to the highest manageable, try your handhold techniques to as slow a shutterspeed as possible and close as much aperture as you can.

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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    guess tat means no booze while shooting keke

    sometimes, just a normal PnS could deliver much more than its bigger brothers. sigh

  13. #13

    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by duntellu View Post
    guess tat means no booze while shooting keke

    sometimes, just a normal PnS could deliver much more than its bigger brothers. sigh
    i feel for your case a good point and shoot digicam with usage high iso may be better.

    great depth of field for your food shots and shooting friends in dimlight places where food may overtake photography.

    F30 comes into mind, iso1600, no flash, do not disturb other dinners

    small, handy, your friends may feel more at ease.

    no mirror bounce, you can bring a mini tripod and shoot on the table.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain View Post
    F30 comes into mind, iso1600, no flash, do not disturb other dinners
    like this ?
    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by megaweb View Post
    like this ?
    WOW...very nice and sharp pics.
    yummy looking crab too...
    would this F30 be able to replicate similar results for say candle light dinner?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by duntellu View Post
    would this F30 be able to replicate similar results for say candle light dinner?
    candle light dinner ? sound very low lighting and suggest u use a mini table tripod :P
    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by Youhong View Post
    I got chased out before in an attempt to shoot in a restaurant...
    Same, once at Mac Donald's, once at Burger Kings and once at a restaurant in 4 star hotel ...

    Funny thing is tat they allow ppl to take group photographs.

    Double standard
    陳綺貞 2010 [夏季練習曲] 巡迴演唱會 Cheer Concert 13 Nov 2010 MAX Pavilion@Singapore Expo

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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Another double standard that I notice is that if you use PnS, you have more leeway with flash. Normally I would use a higher ISO (perhaps 800), a smaller aperture for more sharper image (5.6 ++), and slow-sync flash (maybe shutter or 1/10 or slower). And I just point and click all the way. This is to assume that the quality I'm after are just for keepsakes of something to remember of.. then the setting is just to capture as much levity, mood and whatever impromptu happening. The size of the camera also makes it easier compared to SLR.

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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by duntellu View Post
    WOW...very nice and sharp pics.
    yummy looking crab too...
    would this F30 be able to replicate similar results for say candle light dinner?

    I'm using F11 and I am a happy user as well... for candle light dinner with no flash... it really depends on any other ambiance light. The candle alone has not enough light. If you manage to get a perfect candle exposure, the rest will be dark, if the rest (i.e. your face) is properly exposed, the candle will be over-exposed. Even if you stick your face close to the candle, it is not enough to illuminate your entire face unless the wicker is as big as a bonfire. So unless the ambiance light floods the rest of the frame, get your exposure on your main subject, unless your subject IS the candles. Anyway.. I would assume F30, which evolved from F11, is as capable as any other camera or even more.

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    Default Re: Taking photos in restaurants

    Quote Originally Posted by dawgbyte77 View Post
    I'm using F11 and I am a happy user as well... for candle light dinner with no flash... it really depends on any other ambiance light. The candle alone has not enough light. If you manage to get a perfect candle exposure, the rest will be dark, if the rest (i.e. your face) is properly exposed, the candle will be over-exposed. Even if you stick your face close to the candle, it is not enough to illuminate your entire face unless the wicker is as big as a bonfire. So unless the ambiance light floods the rest of the frame, get your exposure on your main subject, unless your subject IS the candles. Anyway.. I would assume F30, which evolved from F11, is as capable as any other camera or even more.
    yup..you assume correctly. candles not the subject.
    been trying to capture some candid shots of me and my friends when dinnng out.
    so far the results are not really pleasing....
    either under exposed or subject causing slight motion blur. looks like a sharp n fast prime could be the possible answer to capture those moments without flash n in low light situations.

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