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Thread: need help for low light conditions

  1. #1

    Default need help for low light conditions

    hey people! i dont know where to put this but since im a newbie i guess this is the right place

    alright, i may or may not offend fellow CSers (please pardon me), but here's my situation. i need to take pictures for my church's weekly youth service. but when the guys and girls are praising and worshipping they are constantly jumping and moving around. so in order to catch a freezing action i need a high shutter speed, right? but the thing is that the lighting is dim during praise and worship, i need to have a large aperture in order to let more light in, right? but my smallest f/value is only 2.8, so when i take a picture it is still under exposed. so i've tried switching on my flash, but the pictures just dont look good with flash, sometimes the foreground becomes too bright while the background becomes dark. i dont wish to make the picture too noisy too. btw im using fujifilm s6500fd.

    so if you have any tips, comments or suggestions, please let me know. thank you!

  2. #2
    Member/Tangshooter Redsun's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    i dun think you have much of a choice
    i've shot in a church before too and i know how low light it can be
    If you want a higher shutter speed,you'll have to bump up the ISO
    after that maybe you can run it through neat image,noise ninja etc

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    you can use flash to freeze the movement.

    if the ceiling is not too high, use ceiling bounce (using a hotshoe flash) by this, you can light up bigger area evenly, of course, direct flash also able to work.

    the ambient light should be one to two stops lower then flash, so you should able freeze the movement and background is not too dark, sometime a little ghosting is giving more impact on the photos.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    thanks for the quick response. i'll try upping the ISO to 800. i dont really fancy anything above that but if i have to, i will. im trying to avoid using flash AMAP, but my camera doesnt support hotshoe which is quite a bummer to be honest. and i didnt get what you meant by 'the ambient light should be one to two stops lower then flash'. mind explaining?

  5. #5
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    if the ambient is f2.8, 1/15, you set your at f2.8, 1/30~1/60 and use flash
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  6. #6

    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    The background is dark when you use flash is because your flash is not powerful enough to reach the background area and your camera exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) are for exposure to the foreground (flashed) and are not enough to catch the ambient light at the back.

    Depending on how low the light condition is, you may want to try a combination of :

    1) Do not zoom (This will enable you to use F/2.8 and also allow the most light to come through the camera). Use your legs to move nearer or farther away to compose your shots. This will however affect the perspective in the picture.

    2) Use aperture priority and set your camera to Slow sync flash with the largest aperture (i.e. F/2.8). By using slow sync flash mode, the camera will set a shutter speed slow enough to catch the ambient light in the background and at the same time try to freeze the subject in the foreground with the flash .

    3) If the shutter speed is slower than 1/8 in (2) above, push up your ISO to get a faster shutter speed. Try ISO 400 and ISO 800 and see what shutter speed you can get.

    4) In conjuncton with the above, try to adjust the flash power in the menu to get the right balance between flash light and ambient light. Play with different flash settings and see the effects. Adjusting the flash power will mostly affected the illumination of the foreground (i.e. things which the flash can reach) and may be able to avoid the situation where the foreground is over-exposed and/or the background is dark.

    5) Instead of using slow sync flash mode with aperture priority, if you really want a faster shutter speed, you may also try using manual exposure mode with forced flash mode. Try a faster shutter speed (1 or 2 stops) at ISO 400 or ISO 800 with manual exposure at F/2.8. For e.g. if the shutter speed in (2) was 1/15, then you may try 1/30 or 1/60 or even 1/80.
    [your ambient light captured will be less than in (2) but it's still much better in catching ambient light than using forced flash with auto exposure at F/2.8, 1/40(default speed in low light situation) at ISO 100].
    Again, adjust the flash power to strike the right balance between foreground flash light and background ambient light.

    6) Be mindful that the closer you are to your subjects, the more motion blur for any movement and also the more difference in the light flashed onto them and the background ambient light. If the foreground is over-exposed while the background (which the flash cannot reach or just reach very weakly) seems acceptably exposed, then you may need to lower down your flash power.

    =====

    For a balance between flash and ambient light, you need to understand that your camera settings need to be enough for capturing the ambient light where the flash cannot reach or reaches weakly. At the same time, the flash must not be too strong to cause over-exposure of the foreground for the distance you shooting from.

    You need to experiment to see which setting is appropriate for your light condition.

    If necessary, try ISO 1600 as a last resort.
    Last edited by Clockunder; 5th November 2007 at 01:17 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    without flash, need @ least f/1.8 and bump up the iso to 3200 if need.

    dun zoom can improve taking photos in low light.

    if you cant handhold the cam or want to prevent cam shake, use a monopod or tripod.

    i actually tot of requesting to up the lighting level which can help.

  8. #8
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    you can use flash to freeze the movement.

    if the ceiling is not too high, use ceiling bounce (using a hotshoe flash) by this, you can light up bigger area evenly, of course, direct flash also able to work.

    the ambient light should be one to two stops lower then flash, so you should able freeze the movement and background is not too dark, sometime a little ghosting is giving more impact on the photos.
    agree the need to use flash. i recommend the TS to use his instinct on when to use flash. Use it when you know the people are getting excited.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by scouse23 View Post
    so if you have any tips, comments or suggestions, please let me know. thank you!
    You just have to compromise and make the best out of the situation. If some people are slightly blurred due to their motion, it doesn't necessarily spoil the picture - it could even add to the atmosphere.

    Personally, I would stay away from using flash in a church (or another kind of temple), in particular during a service. At least where I come from, it would be considered very insensitive if not rude to disturb the spiritual mood with harsh flashlight. It would be even frowned upon if the photographer didn't do his/her best to stay as invisible as possible.

  10. #10

    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    At least where I come from, it would be considered very insensitive if not rude to disturb the spiritual mood with harsh flashlight. It would be even frowned upon if the photographer didn't do his/her best to stay as invisible as possible.
    indeed. that's what i am worried about when using flash.

    thanks for the useful points. it's a lot to absorb but i'll experiment with them slowly and see how things go.

  11. #11
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by scouse23 View Post
    indeed. that's what i am worried about when using flash.

    thanks for the useful points. it's a lot to absorb but i'll experiment with them slowly and see how things go.
    yup, it is gd to experience it out as well. See the effects for yourself. =)

  12. #12

    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    You do not have much choice

    You need
    - Fast AF camera like DSLR
    - Fast lens like f2.8
    - range from 28 to 200mm
    - IS for longer focal length
    - High ISO
    - Flash for fill in

    To use digital camera like fujifilm s6500fd for such event, it is not easy. I have tried my F30 on such occasion and encounter problem to focus lock on moving people. Worst case is use flash direct in a short distance.

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    Last edited by megaweb; 6th November 2007 at 11:06 AM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    i remember taking photos in low light situation without flash n using a compact cam was really Mission Impossible..

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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by xunjas View Post
    i remember taking photos in low light situation without flash n using a compact cam was really Mission Impossible..
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  15. #15
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by GilbertGoh View Post
    night safri

  16. #16

    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Eh don't mind me asking...

    But isn't it kinda intruding to shoot with flash on during services?

    I've shot services before and I don't think it's very nice to flash at others in the middle of worship... Haha...

  17. #17
    Senior Member xunjas's Avatar
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    Default Re: need help for low light conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by sugary88 View Post
    Eh don't mind me asking...

    But isn't it kinda intruding to shoot with flash on during services?

    I've shot services before and I don't think it's very nice to flash at others in the middle of worship... Haha...
    quite disturbing for some ppl.. they cant concentrate with the lights flashing.. i would rather coordinate to brighten up the lighting and i bump up the iso and use bigger aperture. =)

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