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Thread: Taking photos in Pubs and Discos

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    Default Taking photos in Pubs and Discos

    I happen to be in the position whereby I need to take photos of events in pubs and discos once in a while. Would appreciate it if any of you have any tips and tricks to offer.

    I'm especially interested in flash techniques in such places. How to capture the ambient lighting and stuff like that.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    No flash should be used if you want to capture ambient lighting. You really would need a Digital SLR for this case because it offers high ISO levels.

    Even my old canon G3 was severely limited in poor lighting because it only offered up to ISO 400.

    A flash would result in the subject being flushed out with white light, which in this case would not be the point since you are trying to capture the ambient lighting.

    So yeah, its either a digital SLR or nothing

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by FLiNcHY
    No flash should be used if you want to capture ambient lighting. You really would need a Digital SLR for this case because it offers high ISO levels.

    Even my old canon G3 was severely limited in poor lighting because it only offered up to ISO 400.

    A flash would result in the subject being flushed out with white light, which in this case would not be the point since you are trying to capture the ambient lighting.

    So yeah, its either a digital SLR or nothing
    digital SLR or high speed film.... like ISO 1600 film......
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilmerlin
    I happen to be in the position whereby I need to take photos of events in pubs and discos once in a while. Would appreciate it if any of you have any tips and tricks to offer.

    I'm especially interested in flash techniques in such places. How to capture the ambient lighting and stuff like that.

    Thanks!
    i agree with the comments on don't use flash. But, hey guys, he specifically asked for flash technique.

    Bring a flash with a tilt/swivel head, but turn it off.

    You don't need an SLR/dSLR, but you'd probably need the features below, some which are only found in SLR systems:

    1. Fast lens. Shoot at f2.0 or wider if you're not going to use flash. If you're using a fast prime wide open, make sure the image quality is acceptable to you. If not, stop down 1/3 or 1/2 stop.

    2. Fast film/sensor. 800, 1600 or 3200..

    3. Manual focus. Even the very top end AF systems have trouble in really dim conditions - 'dim', meaning where the human eye can barely make out details. It'll be faster to manual focus sometimes. If your system has fulltime manual focussing, practice it at home first. (Don't load film.) Do 'focus-bracketing' when it's really dim, ie aim nearer a bit, shoot, focus a little further, shoot, then a little further, shoot, etc. Hopefully one of them come out right-on.

    4. Manual mode. The camera's metering will go crazy with combination of dim areas and bright lights. Meter once, and stick to it. i used something like f1.6, 1/15 @ ISO3200 for campfire lit shots. BTW, don't go slower than 1/15 for human subjects - you'd get movement blur. A dSLR helps a lot here - you can get continuous feedback.

    5. Use wider lenses. They enable better handholding. A 35mm or a 50mm would be fine. If using a zoom, don't zoom in, unless you're very sure you can handhold and shoot an 'acceptable' shot with that shutter speed. Is better to underexpose or handshake the shot? Your call. i'd choose underexposure.

    6. Using the flash in such a place will typically annoy people and give you blacked-out backgrounds. Use it only for must-get shots, eg one or two shots of the performer on stage. Bounce it off the ceiling. Use the flash also for posed group shots - and remember to switch your mode to Av or P.

    What's your gear, and do you have an upgrade budget?
    Last edited by ST1100; 9th October 2003 at 11:56 AM.

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    I think ST1100 gave a very good details on flash technique in disco. My 2cents contribution is that you can also try to cover your flash head with color gel/plastic (you can get very cheap at Popular bookshop) and then shoot in manual flash to create the kind of ambient effect you like. (actually it is more appropriate to call it artificial ambient light.)

    Try these color - amber yellow, dark orange, light blue.

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    Try shooting with low shutter speed (1/4 and below) with 2nd curtain flash sync. You can capture the disco lights as well as light up the subject and it can end up quite interesting. Above all, if you're shooting with DLSR, during post-processing if you're shooting with flash, the smoke will light up. You'll have to increase shadows and decrease midtones to compensate for your flash lighting up all the smoke.
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  7. #7

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    Meter the scene, set shutter speed to -1EV of what is metered and shoot with 2nd curtain flash.

    This will allow a nice balance of flash with ambient lighting.

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    Thanks for the tips guys. Appreciated, will try them out the next time i get the chance.

    My gear? Its the CP 5700 with a Sunpak PZ5000AF flash unit. I'm hoping to work this unit out before I upgrade (Don't think i'm ready for a DSLR yet)

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    i used to shootz in pUbs like EnbaR, Illusions.....
    i still use flash!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilmerlin
    Thanks for the tips guys. Appreciated, will try them out the next time i get the chance.

    My gear? Its the CP 5700 with a Sunpak PZ5000AF flash unit. I'm hoping to work this unit out before I upgrade (Don't think i'm ready for a DSLR yet)
    jesus... good luck to u... i took many disco events with the 5700 and the focusing was horrendous... basically i was shooting blindly because u can't see **** through the EVF... n no AF assist with/without external flash din help at all... i suggest u upgrade asap... which was what i did...
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    There was a post once in DPreview forums which detailed the method of changing the CP5700 into a camera with a fixed focus lens. I used that once during a shoot at a disco and it worked pretty well. No need to hunt for focus, just snap and it'll be focus. But it works only at maximum wide angle and at one particular aperture (quite big if I remeber correctly)

    I'm still looking for it on the forums and will post once I find it.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evilmerlin
    There was a post once in DPreview forums which detailed the method of changing the CP5700 into a camera with a fixed focus lens. I used that once during a shoot at a disco and it worked pretty well. No need to hunt for focus, just snap and it'll be focus. But it works only at maximum wide angle and at one particular aperture (quite big if I remeber correctly)

    I'm still looking for it on the forums and will post once I find it.

    Google + "hyperfocal" + "5700" came up with this:

    http://www.geocities.com/digitalphot...Hyperfocal.htm

    Or you can search the Nikon forums for "hyperfocal":

    http://search.dpreview.com/forums/se...cal&forum=1007
    Last edited by StreetShooter; 10th October 2003 at 08:49 PM.

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    Thats what I'm looking for!

    Now just need to know how many clicks of the dial to set for the manual fous.

    Thanks!

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