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Thread: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

  1. #1

    Default Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Hi

    I'm a novice.. have just bought my first DSLR and have been shooting and learning.

    I would like to seek some advice on how to shoot in a room where the lighting is all spot halogen lights. i.e. the lights are bright, harsh and orangey. The apartment I live in is completely lighted with these lights. I keep getting shadows on faces and food on the table also look very bright, so food photos look unappealing. Any suggestions?

    Also, today I tried shooting in a dimly lighted KTV room. I used AV mode, f2.8 and tried various ISO levels, up to ISO3200 and my shots were all blurry. I got better shots with my PnS camera at ISO3200! Did I do something wrong here? In the end, I had taken all shots with built in flash on (with a gary fong flash diffuser). I would have preferred not to use flash light. Any tips?

    Last question - today I got my friends to literally pose for 3 shots.. i.e. again and again as the exposure wasn't right and I kept snapping, go one notch higher, snap.. not happy.. go one notch higher.. snap again. Anyone has tips on how to judge what exposure settings to set before shooting? Coz I can't tell in the view finder. Or is it really a trial and error thing until I have a good eye for lighting?

    THANKS heaps in advance.

    - Bea

  2. #2

    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by beagal View Post
    Hi

    I'm a novice.. have just bought my first DSLR and have been shooting and learning.

    I would like to seek some advice on how to shoot in a room where the lighting is all spot halogen lights. i.e. the lights are bright, harsh and orangey. The apartment I live in is completely lighted with these lights. I keep getting shadows on faces and food on the table also look very bright, so food photos look unappealing. Any suggestions?

    Also, today I tried shooting in a dimly lighted KTV room. I used AV mode, f2.8 and tried various ISO levels, up to ISO3200 and my shots were all blurry. I got better shots with my PnS camera at ISO3200! Did I do something wrong here? In the end, I had taken all shots with built in flash on (with a gary fong flash diffuser). I would have preferred not to use flash light. Any tips?

    Last question - today I got my friends to literally pose for 3 shots.. i.e. again and again as the exposure wasn't right and I kept snapping, go one notch higher, snap.. not happy.. go one notch higher.. snap again. Anyone has tips on how to judge what exposure settings to set before shooting? Coz I can't tell in the view finder. Or is it really a trial and error thing until I have a good eye for lighting?

    THANKS heaps in advance.

    - Bea
    1. fix white balance manually.

    2. read up on shutter speed.

    3. may need a lightmeter but if too expensive, can always take in raw and correct the exposure later.
    You wont see me much less remember me but i am the guy who makes you look good.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reportage View Post
    1. fix white balance manually.

    2. read up on shutter speed.

    3. may need a lightmeter but if too expensive, can always take in raw and correct the exposure later.
    Thanks for replying.

    1. Fix white balance manually - I've already done that. That merely ensures the photos are not too yellow cast. The problem I face is the photos taken still have scary shadows on faces and food still looks overexposed and bright, with lots of shadows too.

    2. Shutter speed - are you recommending I use a slower shutter? I did that. My hands are not able to stay steady for slow shutters, the photos turned out even more blurred. I can't use a tripod in a situation like KTV session. Am I going to be stuck with flash for dim rooms?

    3. I am correcting the photos with Photoshop now and I find it troublesome. That's why I wanted to seek tips on improving the actual shots I take.

    Thanks for your patience! Cheers!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Hi Beag,

    Very honestly, pick up a good book on understanding LIGHT from the public library. The one by Michael Freeman is EXCELLENT in my opinion, and more inmportantly, easy to understand.

    Once you've done that, get intimately familiar with your camera, settings and strengths/weaknesses. Most major DSLR models have in-depth reviews on the net as well as discussion forums on said model/system.

    You could fool around with settings all your life and never really understand what's going on - kinda like being on a permanent tech crutch.

    Or you could start from the one single, most crucial element in photography - learning about LIGHT, and find your way out of tight spots while making technology work for you more effectively.

    Along the way, just remember, soon, you will start creating great shots!

    CHEERS!

    p.s. Apologies, this wasn't supposed to sound preachy in any way, but seriously, I know of too many photographers who don't really want to know about light. That's kinda like saying I love cooking and want to create really nice dishes, but I'm not interested in understanding ingredients or cooking techniques.

  5. #5
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    it is the light that is casting the shadows, so unless you do something to modify that light or change the light source altogether
    the shadows will still be there, read the bool recommended above for a deeper understanding

  6. #6

    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Regarding the poor low light performance, what I did to get the most out of my bad-in-low-light D40 was to up the exposure compensation to 5 in manual mode and then drop shutter speed so i don't shake/ the movements don't blur. It seemed to work fine for me in doing low-light theatre shots with a D40 and kit 55-200 VR at f5.6

    The down side is that you can't use P or S/A priority modes when in EV+5 cos they will be overexposed.

    Adding to ortega, for the shadows and poor lighting for food, use fill-in flash. If the diffuser is not strong enough, drop the flashEV to -2 or -3.

  7. #7
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    situation one: contrasty tungsten lighting, you need to balance up the highlight and shadow areas, plus fix the white balance.

    to balance up the highlight and shadow areas.....

    for Nikon users can shoot it with D lighting mode, can help a little,
    if you are good in photoshop you can do a lot of layer mask with curve correction
    you can use additional light set up like your built flash to balance up the contrast,
    you can add some additional house lights to give overall balance of lighting,
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  8. #8
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    situation two,

    camera need lights to record images, too much or too little will have difficulty producing good image. for situation here has is too little light, if you don't add supplement light, there is not much thing that camera can do without comprising quality.

    if don't want to use flash, you can either use a tripod, or add additional lighting fixture to the KTV room.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  9. #9
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    situation three,

    you did not mention how is the set up like.. or post a photo of the shot, have no idea of what do you mean can't get correct exposure.

    so is it like subject correct exposed but background too dark or too bright?

    or background looks good but subject either too dark or too bright?

    or using P or auto mode but still can't nail the exposure?

    have not learn telepathy yet, without much info or see the photo, can't provide suggestion or solution here.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by aprilmoon92 View Post
    Regarding the poor low light performance, what I did to get the most out of my bad-in-low-light D40 was to up the exposure compensation to 5 in manual mode and then drop shutter speed so i don't shake/ the movements don't blur. It seemed to work fine for me in doing low-light theatre shots with a D40 and kit 55-200 VR at f5.6

    The down side is that you can't use P or S/A priority modes when in EV+5 cos they will be overexposed.

    Adding to ortega, for the shadows and poor lighting for food, use fill-in flash. If the diffuser is not strong enough, drop the flashEV to -2 or -3.
    increasing the exposure compensation value in M mode does nothing to increase the actual exposure value, except shift the '0' point in the scale on the exposure meter.
    try it:
    Set to whatever shutter speed and aperture in M mode.
    Take a photo
    Increase the EV without changing anything
    Take a photo
    Increase the EV again
    Take a photo
    Increase the EV again
    Take a photo

    Now you have 4 photos with EXACTLY the same exposure value, except the meter is reading more and more underexposed with each subsequent shot.


    What the TS is facing in situation 1 is bright but harsh lighting. So your photographs will capture this. You need fill-lighting, but it needs to be colour-corrected to closely match the colour of the room lighting. Suggestions include flash with gels, or somehow trying to diffuse the room lighting or reflect some of it as fill.
    Exploring! :)

  11. #11
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Seeking advice on how to shoot in certain environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by beagal

    Also, today I tried shooting in a dimly lighted KTV room. I used AV mode, f2.8 and tried various ISO levels, up to ISO3200 and my shots were all blurry. I got better shots with my PnS camera at ISO3200! Did I do something wrong here? In the end, I had taken all shots with built in flash on (with a gary fong flash diffuser). I would have preferred not to use flash light. Any tips?

    THANKS heaps in advance.

    - Bea
    What was your shutter speed at f/2.8 and ISO 3200?
    Able to post a photo for us to take a look?
    Exploring! :)

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