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Thread: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

  1. #1
    Member XavierShoot's Avatar
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    Default Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    going for a friend birthday celebration at east coast bbq pit, so expecting a low light environment. Any tips on the settings flashes? i want to avoid bright people and dark background.

    i read up a bit, this is what i found, izzit applicable?

    "If the background is very dark, then there's no way but to increase the ISO to about 1600 or higher, keeping the same aperture. Basically you need higher sensitivity to capture the very low light levels in the background. But this means higher noise. To combat it, you can use fill flash. Make sure you're at least 3-5m from the subject otherwise the flash will too powerful and you're going to get a very bright overexposed face and ugly hotspots all over..."

    So i was thinking:
    tripod mount
    standing 3-5m away from the group
    Set external flash to the second curtain.
    opening the shutter to 1 sec to capture the background light.
    iso1600 (using canon450D, expecting noise)
    At f3.5.

    will i get a brighter background with nicely expose faces? thanks for reading my long story
    Canon 60D | And Legs as Lens to cover every single focal length i ever needs.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    I suggest just doing the following:

    1. Read up on "fill flash".
    2. Try a search. This is a very common topic here on CS.
    3. Do not shoot at f/3.5 - your DOF will be very thin and you'll have some faces that are out of focus.
    Alpha

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    1 sec is a bit slow imo as it will be more prone to motion blur. 1/10 - 1/30 or faster @ f4-5.6 (depends on how big and how they are line up) & high iso should be able to achieve what you've stated. Good luck!

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    don't go too low shutter speed until everything blur blur, since it is outdoor and at night, no matter what the background will be very dark.
    shoot with direct flash, since there is nothing for you to bounce, and try not to get too close to your subjects, so the light falls off won't be so drastic (understand what is The Inverse Square Law)
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  5. #5
    Member XavierShoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by jjynwa View Post
    1 sec is a bit slow imo as it will be more prone to motion blur. 1/10 - 1/30 or faster @ f4-5.6 (depends on how big and how they are line up) & high iso should be able to achieve what you've stated. Good luck!
    alright thanks! shall try it out. thanks a million.

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    don't go too low shutter speed until everything blur blur, since it is outdoor and at night, no matter what the background will be very dark.
    shoot with direct flash, since there is nothing for you to bounce, and try not to get too close to your subjects, so the light falls off won't be so drastic (understand what is The Inverse Square Law)
    so its direct flash. reading up on inverse square rule now~ thanks catchlights! u really know lights well. Shi Fu!
    Canon 60D | And Legs as Lens to cover every single focal length i ever needs.

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    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    if your night portrait is in the city, then there would be a nice background to try and capture.

    But at east coast the background would be black or very close to it anyway... even if you up the exposure, I don't think you'd be getting much more.
    Just concentrate on getting the exposure to be nicely balanced so that you don't have that "deer caught in the headlights" look.
    I find that people CAN keep quite still for about 1-2s if they are prepared.
    f/3.5 (basically shooting wide open) should be ok, if you keep sufficient distance between camera and subjects.
    Exploring! :)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    hope this help u to have an idea of how the pic will look like , taken at east coast too

    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4017/...07faf9d3_z.jpg
    taken at iso 1250
    f 4/ exposure 1s
    direct flash, set to rear curtain sync


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  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    use the lamp posts to provide illumination.
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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by XavierShoot View Post
    its direct flash. reading up on inverse square rule now~ thanks catchlights! u really know lights well. Shi Fu!
    Catchlights definitely knows his stuff well. He is a professional with more than 20 years experience. So remember who to call when looking to get professional portraits taken
    Last edited by daredevil123; 15th October 2010 at 06:51 AM.

  10. #10
    Member XavierShoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Catchlights definitely knows his stuff well. He is a professional with more than 20 years experience. So remember who to call when looking to get professional portraits taken
    yea, his pictures are so beautifully taken.

    Quote Originally Posted by akerue View Post
    hope this help u to have an idea of how the pic will look like , taken at east coast too

    taken at iso 1250
    f 4/ exposure 1s
    direct flash, set to rear curtain sync


    cheers mate
    thats wat i thinking too, rear curtain flash with lamp post =)! looks good to me =)
    Canon 60D | And Legs as Lens to cover every single focal length i ever needs.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by XavierShoot View Post
    thats wat i thinking too, rear curtain flash with lamp post =)! looks good to me =)
    Hi I would like to ask some things to clarify my doubts on night flash in similar situations

    Firstly, how rear curtain works is to take the exposure of the human faces without flash first, then fire the delayed flash later on to get the background lighted up as well right? This is how to achieve both properly exposed subjects and background as posted by akerue?

    Is direct flash=fill flash and also the "default" flash which is just the lightning symbol without anything else? This is the mode which often causes the "deer in headlights" look with pitch dark background right?

    Secondly, what is meant by using the lamp post for illumination? What if there's no lamppost (or other respective light sources) around?

  12. #12
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by rubberbands View Post
    Hi I would like to ask some things to clarify my doubts on night flash in similar situations

    Firstly, how rear curtain works is to take the exposure of the human faces without flash first, then fire the delayed flash later on to get the background lighted up as well right? This is how to achieve both properly exposed subjects and background as posted by akerue?

    Is direct flash=fill flash and also the "default" flash which is just the lightning symbol without anything else? This is the mode which often causes the "deer in headlights" look with pitch dark background right?

    Secondly, what is meant by using the lamp post for illumination? What if there's no lamppost (or other respective light sources) around?

    1) If you set the flash to 'Rear', the camera then tries to meter for the ambient light and use the flash as fill-in. At night, this would very likely cause a rather long exposure. Long enough to require a tripod (best) or something to stabilise the camera for maybe between 0.5-2s.
    'Rear' means the illumination (from the flash) comes at the end of the exposure.
    'Slow' means the illumination comes at the beginning of the exposure.

    2) No lamp-post, bring outdoor strobe lor....
    Exploring! :)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by ZerocoolAstra View Post
    1) If you set the flash to 'Rear', the camera then tries to meter for the ambient light and use the flash as fill-in. At night, this would very likely cause a rather long exposure. Long enough to require a tripod (best) or something to stabilise the camera for maybe between 0.5-2s.
    'Rear' means the illumination (from the flash) comes at the end of the exposure.
    'Slow' means the illumination comes at the beginning of the exposure.

    2) No lamp-post, bring outdoor strobe lor....
    Hi thanks for your advice, so to sum up if one has tripod, just use rear curtain and expect a 0.5-2.0 exposure, What if one doesnt have trpod, is it stlil possible to take something like what akerue posted?

  14. #14
    Senior Member ZerocoolAstra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    Quote Originally Posted by rubberbands View Post
    Hi thanks for your advice, so to sum up if one has tripod, just use rear curtain and expect a 0.5-2.0 exposure, What if one doesnt have trpod, is it stlil possible to take something like what akerue posted?
    as I said (why do I have to keep repeating?), with a long exposure (probably anything longer than 1/15s), you need something to stabilize the camera. Tripod is most ideal. Without it, you need some other method (eg place on table/rock).
    Exploring! :)

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice for night outdoor group picture taking

    as ZCA mentioned, if no tripod, place the cam on solid flat surface will do, as for my shot it was place on the bbq pit stoned table ......
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