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Thread: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

  1. #1

    Default well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    been yr+ using my cam, day shot have no issue now..
    but still, coming to night portrait and challenging situation with a grp of 4 subjects.. totally demoralized. I know the standards, use a flash, use a tripod, use wide open aperture, use high ISO.

    hoping someone can grant me some godly tips.
    some details of the scenario..
    1) 4 ladies (friends)
    2) under extreme dim light corners, barely light up the surrounding

    the above are the standard issues of night shot, without a tripod or which is not possible. Yes, I know such situation is bad, real bad.

    but how can I keep the shots as clean as possible which I find my D90 anything beyond ISO400 is gone case, worst to worst, I at most set to ISO800 to extreme @ 800.

    1) Not possible to hit @ F2.8 for grp as DoF too shallow, so I up my aperture to F3.5-4 on my tammy.

    2) Sb600, with head pointing 45 or upwards with a diffuser or a white paper. Not 90 degree front as the light is too harsh or background totally underexpose.. if shutter too long, blurred shot. I know flash can freeze the motion, but the quality of the result just dun favor me.

    basically most of my shots for solo is 2.8 with SB600 and ISO up at 500. barely fared well but noisy. for group shot, F3.5-4 with similar setting, but trying very best to hold steady as shutter turned slower.

    Any tips on how to point the flash? Hope I do not get a reply .. asking me to get SB900.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Bro... try the following:

    • Switch to Manual
    • Raise your ISO to 800 or higher
    • Set Aperture F2.8
    • Set Shutter speed 1/20 (assuming you are shooting at 30mm or shorter)
    • Shoot straight with your wide-angle panel
    • Ask the 4 parties to stay in a straight plane.
    • Shoot burst

  3. #3
    Member dingaroo's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Manual Mode.
    Open your aperture as wide as possible.
    Meter and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.
    Flash is a definite.
    To ensure you capture surrounding too, adjust the Flash Exposure Compensation downwards.

    HTH.

    Cheers!
    A picture a day keeps the blues away!

  4. #4

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    but how can I keep the shots as clean as possible which I find my D90 anything beyond ISO400 is gone case, worst to worst, I at most set to ISO800 to extreme @ 800.
    Stop pixel-peeping. When reduced it's not visible, and there is software like noiseninja for a reason.
    Alpha

  5. #5

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    i've done ISO 1600 on D5000 and printed up to 12" X 8"...noise very minimal

    using the D700, all the time I shoot group of 5 or 6 in a ballroom, at ISO 3200, f1.4 and no flash...minimal noise as well and wonderful DOF

    Perhaps its time to start trusting you equipments

  6. #6
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    What I'd suggest is that you use the flash head on direct and reduce the flash ev to about -1.0 to -2.0

    Next up, try a ISO setting of about 800 with a manual control of f2.8 with a shutter speed of about 1/15 to 1/30 (depending on how well you can hand hold with low shutter speeds) This reduced shutter speed will allow you to expose the BG relatively well and the flash will help to illuminate the subjects and bring them close to the exposure levels of the BG.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    mY my.. my mistake.. i used AP.. way too dependent on AP mode recently..


    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Bro... try the following:

    • Switch to Manual
    • Raise your ISO to 800 or higher
    • Set Aperture F2.8
    • Set Shutter speed 1/20 (assuming you are shooting at 30mm or shorter)
    • Shoot straight with your wide-angle panel
    • Ask the 4 parties to stay in a straight plane.
    • Shoot burst
    i guess 1/10 is my extreme max for stability.. ok, gotta try.. thanks for the full coverage tips
    But my stand is that, typically I cannot get too many shots on the 4 ladies in a straight line.. gotta compromise bit here and there..

    Quote Originally Posted by dingaroo View Post
    Manual Mode.
    Open your aperture as wide as possible.
    Meter and adjust the shutter speed accordingly.
    Flash is a definite.
    To ensure you capture surrounding too, adjust the Flash Exposure Compensation downwards.

    HTH.

    Cheers!
    as mentioned, F2.8 I'm ok, but shallow DoF, so i try to close bit more to ard F3.2-4 to get more details. totally not good in flash, my self-confession. Totally forget abt Flash ev.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashkae View Post
    Stop pixel-peeping. When reduced it's not visible, and there is software like noiseninja for a reason.
    Ok thanks Rashkae for the tips... last attempt using noiseninja, I find the software made the subject skin-tone, way too fake.. can you point out what is the setting optimum? appreciate that..


    Quote Originally Posted by Lumiere View Post
    i've done ISO 1600 on D5000 and printed up to 12" X 8"...noise very minimal

    using the D700, all the time I shoot group of 5 or 6 in a ballroom, at ISO 3200, f1.4 and no flash...minimal noise as well and wonderful DOF

    Perhaps its time to start trusting you equipments
    Thanks. true but no $$$ for FX and i believed even with DX things are still workable.

    But F1.4, aren't ur DoF too shallow to get everyone into detail? Else if u stand further back, your subject gonna be small..



    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    What I'd suggest is that you use the flash head on direct and reduce the flash ev to about -1.0 to -2.0

    Next up, try a ISO setting of about 800 with a manual control of f2.8 with a shutter speed of about 1/15 to 1/30 (depending on how well you can hand hold with low shutter speeds) This reduced shutter speed will allow you to expose the BG relatively well and the flash will help to illuminate the subjects and bring them close to the exposure levels of the BG.
    thanks for the tips, ya I guess I gotta try more on flash ev..
    kudo to all for the above. greatly appreciated.

  8. #8

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    ya, 1 more thing btw.. though I shot entirely all in RAW, i had my WB set to auto..
    seems like my shots mostly are all in bit of yellowish tone.

    when viewed in LR2, good that LR2 auto tune my subjects skintone to more natural..
    I was thinking, what WB is typically used in such situation? i doubt sunlight since no sun, no flash as the color tends to be incorrect too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    i guess 1/10 is my extreme max for stability.. ok, gotta try.. thanks for the full coverage tips
    But my stand is that, typically I cannot get too many shots on the 4 ladies in a straight line.. gotta compromise bit here and there..
    In that case try a light modifier like the WT like LS that can spread your flash output wide. If possible try to get the ladies' head as closer to each other, else you have to set to F4 and drag your shutter. For low shutter speed, try to control your breathing & shoot in burst. Chances are there would be some shots that are not affect by hand movement.

    Practice make prefect, shoot more learn more.

  10. #10

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    LS=lightsphere
    WT=?

    ya. left my LS at home.. jus equipped with a omnibounce and last min resort using a blank white paper tied with rubber band..

  11. #11

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    LS=lightsphere
    WT=?

    ya. left my LS at home.. jus equipped with a omnibounce and last min resort using a blank white paper tied with rubber band..
    WT=>whale tail
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    ya. left my LS at home.. jus equipped with a omnibounce and last min resort using a blank white paper tied with rubber band..

    Size & material of your white paper makes a difference, you can refer to this for more info: http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/

    I am sure you would do much better compared to your first...

  13. #13
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    I am not sure what's your background/ambient for exposure..for me, for restaurant-cafe/street lamp lit kinda lighting, ISO 800 and above + shutter speed 1/10 or slower is decent. I find 1/6 or 1/8 gives better balance but have to hold your cam real firm. On your VR if there is..(I don't have..)otherwise, rear flash helps with blurring too.. if you use flash, tripod is not really necessary but still good to have. Flash compensation is usually helpful.
    ...:::..::.Nikon.::.:::..
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  14. #14

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Read through the original post over and over again, I did not really understand the problem. I only understoodd that night shots are bad. I'm guessing that the the shots are underexposed. To get a proper exposed shot, the shutter speed is slow and experience alot of camera shakes... I hope my understanding is correct.

    This lead me to some questions. Is the shot taken outdoors or indoors?

    If outdoors, pointing the flash 45 deg would not be helpful. A bounce card may be useful. Alternatively, pointing directly at the subject via diffuser could work. But this will causes the subject to be well lit and background dark. This leads me to another question, is the background important? If not, then just don't bother. Getting background lit in the outdoor is almost impossible with just a flash. An alternative is to do a slow sync to freeze motion the subject. For this, a tripod may be a good idea.

    For indoor, with nearby walls and ceiling, bouncing of them would be good. If too far, then again bounce card will be good.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chilicrab1 View Post
    just thought of it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anson View Post
    Size & material of your white paper makes a difference, you can refer to this for more info: http://www.abetterbouncecard.com/

    I am sure you would do much better compared to your first...
    nah, this is a last min emergency resort.. will still preferred to LS


    Quote Originally Posted by ovaltinemilo View Post
    I am not sure what's your background/ambient for exposure..for me, for restaurant-cafe/street lamp lit kinda lighting, ISO 800 and above + shutter speed 1/10 or slower is decent. I find 1/6 or 1/8 gives better balance but have to hold your cam real firm. On your VR if there is..(I don't have..)otherwise, rear flash helps with blurring too.. if you use flash, tripod is not really necessary but still good to have. Flash compensation is usually helpful.

    yup, I'm using rear sync under shutter of 1/10-1/20 @ ISO from 500-800/1000
    i guess mine setup just wasnt right, flash ev forgotten.. not totally blurry shots, but noisy.

    have to do wat rashkae mentioned abt noiseninja + resize down in order to maintain the *near sharpness*

    thanks btw

  16. #16

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    its noisy because its not properly exposed. push the iso up to 1600 and maintain the same shutter speed.

  17. #17

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by sherchoo View Post
    Read through the original post over and over again, I did not really understand the problem. I only understoodd that night shots are bad. I'm guessing that the the shots are underexposed. To get a proper exposed shot, the shutter speed is slow and experience alot of camera shakes... I hope my understanding is correct.
    nope.. my exposure are alright.. just that my subjects' tone are kinda wash out by the speedlight which i forget abt my flash ev.

    This lead me to some questions. Is the shot taken outdoors or indoors?
    outdoor bro.

    If outdoors, pointing the flash 45 deg would not be helpful. A bounce card may be useful. Alternatively, pointing directly at the subject via diffuser could work. But this will causes the subject to be well lit and background dark. This leads me to another question, is the background important? If not, then just don't bother. Getting background lit in the outdoor is almost impossible with just a flash. An alternative is to do a slow sync to freeze motion the subject. For this, a tripod may be a good idea.
    For indoor, with nearby walls and ceiling, bouncing of them would be good. If too far, then again bounce card will be good.
    yes outdoor, nothing to bounce from, but with the omnibounce, instead of direct, i shoot 45 degree up, the light spread by the diffuser make it just right, but perhaps for my flash ev, some shot with subjects lineup make the front most person face washed out.

  18. #18

    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    guys.. anyway i guess eventually my above situation will be a potential scenario for any newbies taking night portrait without a tripod.

    thanks again for those who commented. ur help/tips greatly appreciated.

    not tt i do not trust D90's ISO but sometimes they work sometime they just destroyed the image.
    but as advises from Scott Kelby/Joe Mcnally, noisy pics are still better than blurry shots.

    more practices on flash ev..

  19. #19
    Senior Member Anson's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    I'm using rear sync under shutter of 1/10-1/20 @ ISO from 500-800/1000
    i guess mine setup just wasnt right, flash ev forgotten.. not totally blurry shots, but noisy.
    Even though rear sync get more "background light", you are subjected yourself to more chances of subject ghosting.


    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    as advises from Scott Kelby/Joe Mcnally, noisy pics are still better than blurry shots.
    Agreed
    Last edited by Anson; 9th July 2010 at 11:26 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: well how do u do outdoor night portraits?

    Quote Originally Posted by akagi07 View Post
    guys.. anyway i guess eventually my above situation will be a potential scenario for any newbies taking night portrait without a tripod.

    thanks again for those who commented. ur help/tips greatly appreciated.

    not tt i do not trust D90's ISO but sometimes they work sometime they just destroyed the image.
    but as advises from Scott Kelby/Joe Mcnally, noisy pics are still better than blurry shots.

    more practices on flash ev..
    TS, if possible, can try to post 1 or 2 pic and see if the noise is really bad? Coz I would still be satisfied with a D70 at ISO1250(desperate times). Probably different threshold
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