Indoor Photgraphy of People Without Flash. Possible?

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I'm very new to photography and I've a dilemma which I hope experts here can help.

I have a Nikon Coolpix 775 point and click camera which allows me to control exposure (+-2) but not aperture nor shutter nor ISO sensitivity.

I was at a restaurant dinner celebration yesterday and tried to take some photos of people. But with Flash, the picture turned out just the subject is bright but the background is pitch dark. So I turn off Flash and try again. However, this time the whole picture colour looks really nice (foreground/background is bright), but the subjects are blur.

I know the reason why the above situation arises. It's because with the Flash, the shutter speed is very fast. So even when subjects move, there's no blurring, although I don't quite like the white foreground vs dark background effect. Without Flash, somehow my camera automatically slows down the shutter to let in more light, thereby when the subjects move or when my hand shake, the picture becomes blur. This is the dilemma.

I know that if I were filming a stationary subject, with a tripod, the flashless photo will turn out perfect. Nonetheless, this was not the case in the dinner yesterday, where the subjects I want to take are constantly moving (as I don't like taking people when they pose, I like them natural).

Does any expert here know how to solve my dilemma?


ClubSNAP Admin
Staff member
Jan 16, 2002
Get a better digital camera that allows you to manually set ISO settings.

With ISO800 or ISO1600, you might get acceptable results provided you are not too bothered with grain/noise.

A higher-end digital camera or an SLR camera (either film or digital) will give you the best results if:-
1. You use reasonably high ISO film/settings.
2. Use a slow-speed flash setting with fill-flash to illuminate the foreground, while exposing for the ambient light/background. However, even with this technique, if the shutter speed falls below a certain level, your moving subjects will come out as a blur.

Of course, there will be factors beyond which even a high-end camera won't be able to help like taking shots in pitch darkness and expecting them to be well-exposed, but if you are talking about situations where the ambient light is sufficiently strong, then the above techniques might do you well.

Any other experts with tips, tricks or techniques?


Senior Member
Jan 17, 2002
1. Use higher ISO (I think your camera can only go to 200, and it's auto, so this is not an option).

2. Use wide angle rather than zoom (in other words, zoom out, don't zoom in). This usually increases the aperture, which allows you to go to slightly higher shutter speeds. It also decreases (but not eliminates) the effect of camera shake.

3. Brace the camera against something so that you decrease camera shake. Or use a tripod.

4. Ask your subjects to hold still. Obviously this works only for posed shots, not candids.

5. Increase the ambient lighting. Obviously this can be done if you are in someone's home, but not a restaurant.

6. Your camera has "slow-sync" flash - use it. This uses the flash to light up the subject in the foreground, while holding the shutter open longer to allow the rest of the ambient light to come in as well. This is actually probably your best option. Here is an example of a picture taken with slow-sync flash, very late in the evening (the sky was almost dark):

We fed him anyway....


New Member
Apr 10, 2002
I also have this kind of problem. but when i set my cam to "slow-sync" it gives me shutter speed at 1/2 which really will cause blur pics. So what I did was put to Shutter priority 1/10-15 and on "slow-sync" which gives me better result than 1/2 and not much difference in lighting. But will still be difficult in most of the candids shots. ;)



Hi....thanks for all the replies....

I know the Nikon 775 is not very good in the manual settings side....but does it really mean I have no other way to take a flashless indoor candid photo of humans other than to get a better camera???

Can I like use a black tape to cover the flash when I take in normal auto mode? But then the photo might be dark due to my ISO setting rite? Cannot set that somemore...

How about adjust exposure? Or will that cause the shutter speed to be slower? I still don't under stand this Exposure thingy....does it combine the controls of aperture and shutter speed?

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