~*~Photography Tips for my niece 1 year old Birthday Party~*~


geneboi

New Member
Jan 21, 2011
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#1
Hi All,

I have only started DSLR photography for the past 4 months for casual photo-taking. I have been doing intense reading-up on many many stuff both online and forums and feel that I am ready to shoot in manual mode. This is my first photography event in which I am shooting in manual mode and will certainly appreciate any form of advice.

Camera: Canon 550D
Lens: 18-55mm Kit Lens
Tripod: Fancier 662A
Accessories:
- Remote Shutter Release
- No flash (I just ordered Yongnuo YN645 via Ebay)
- 60cm light tent with 2x 200W light bulb with stand (More for my product photography)

Occassion: Niece 1 year old Birthday
Location: Orchid Country Club playroom (little Ozone)
Lighting Condition: Indoor

Questions:
- Should I bring along my tripod? If yes, when should i make use of it? I will be photographing kids and babies and cannot afford slow shutter speed. Does this makes the tripod useless? (Since I assume tripod is mainly only used for long shutter speed for stability)

- Any recommended camera settings for aperture, shutter and ISO? (I understand it depends on the lighting condition. Based on my camera capabilities, is there any general tips?)

- Did I missed out anything?

Thanks everyone for your reply.

Cheers!

Regards,
Eugene
 

Edwin Francis

Senior Member
Mar 24, 2006
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#2
Forget the tripod.

Not to be condescending, but if you're still asking what settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO), you're probably not ready to shoot manual yet. I would suggest you get a flash and work in P mode, with an ISO setting of 400 - 800 (1600 if you're okay with a little grain). Kids move fast, and by the time you've adjusted your settings, the moment is gone. The good thing is that I've found the flash metering of newer Canon bodies (iFCL metering) more dependable than older models. Bounce flash/diffuser for nicer lighting.

BTW, I'm sure you know this, but "intense reading-up" will not improve your photography abilities all by itself. Practice, practice and more practice will :)
 

TheoDR

New Member
Oct 19, 2006
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#4
Sharing my noob views..

- Get down to her eye level to shoot. Try not to shoot down on her.

- Since kids are always moving, you can try setting your 550D to Tv mode (shutter priority) with a fast shutter speed. I'm guessing at least 1/200 sec. You'll probably need your flash here.

- If you're using one focus point, have it on the eye(s) of your subject, so that the eyes are always in focus. The rest can be somewhat out of focus. People will look at the eyes first in a photo of people or animals.

- As Edwin Francis has mentioned, not necessary to bring tripod.

Hope this helps, correct me if I'm wrong though! :p Good luck with your shoot! :D
 

fmeeran

New Member
Nov 5, 2010
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Clementi, Singapore
#5
Here's my 2 cents.

Was photographing a friend's kid birthday party a couple of days back. Observations from that.

Flash is very important. Most indoor lighting is uneven and too dim. I suggest bouncing the flash, if not you can use diffuser. You can rent one or borrow from friends if you don't own one. Use TTL flash control. Manual flash control while it can be more precise takes time to master.

Consider buying or renting a 55mm prime for the portrait shots. Switch to the prime whenever you are sure you wouldn't require the wide end. The IQ and shallow DOF will make for much nicer portraits.

All the best.
 

Replica

New Member
Dec 2, 2009
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#6
from my experience of capturing my niece and nephew, tripod can stay at home. you definitely need a flash as you will be setting a fast shutter speed to capture the moments. if flash is not available, you may bump up your ISO. good to go early and try a few shots to get your setting right. consider renting a good lens like 17-55/prime or a flash ?

enjoyz
 

Alan Chan

New Member
Dec 13, 2009
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Singapore, Singapore, Singapor
#7
kids will be everywhere, and not sitting still.

my suggestions:
1) use AI Servo
2) bounce flash if ceiling less then 2m and white color
3) use f/4 to f/5.6, you will never get a chance to focus on the eyes
4) use Av mode with ISO 400-800 so that its usually fast enough
 

SmOcKxY

New Member
Aug 16, 2010
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#8
Here are my suggestions..not a pro but a casual shooter..but I have shot alot of indoor gatherings and such so maybe can give a little imputs..

1) You definitely need a flash! If you wanna shoot in Manual mode..using a flash will help you alot in figuring out ISO and Aperture and shutter speed (that is if you already know the co-relation between the 3)
2) In a confined space..try using wider lens..though the 18-55 will be good enuff but aperture can't go wide enuff to take more creamy(bokeh) shots on portrait shoots
3) Generally use f5.6 to even f8 because you can never still the kids enuff to have all of them looking sharp..this is where flash comes in again as it can still the subject with a faster shutter speed.
4) Depending on lighting available..this are my usual settings on manual mode with flash..ISO100 f1.8/f5.6/f8(from single person to 3-4 persons to a big group shot) shutter 1/100 or 1/125..Flash mode on ETTL..if ceiling too high then use bounce card..

More experience or professional photographers can correct me if i'm wrong on any of the above points..in that way I can also learn! :)
 

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SmOcKxY

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Aug 16, 2010
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#9
Oh..and you can forget about the tripod unless you wanna take a whole big group shot with you inside and in that case you also need a wireless shutter release..
 

ed9119

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Mar 11, 2002
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#10
if failure is not an option then go the quick and dirty method..... just set to P mode..... set to a high ISO (200 outdoors and 800 indoors) , AWB, multi-matrix or center-weighted metering and leave the flash on (with a diffuser attached) and you're all ready to go .... you just focus on compositions..... NEXT time then experiment and get more creative and more control .... kids and adults get impatient quickly (while u fool around and fumble with the settings)

i suggest do the above and get all the 'money' shots safely executed first .......THEN go experiment with other settings etc etc

p/s one habit i notice about newbie first time shooters at events is this ...... they usually just unconsiously stick to the wide end of their zoom ..... remember to use various focal lengths in your zoom to get a good variety and mix of images

p/s if you REALLY must use M mode.... remember your best friends are

1. the histogram on your screen
2. the exposure compensation dial buttons
3. and your AEL button

.... use them well
 

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geneboi

New Member
Jan 21, 2011
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#12
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your comments and advices. My niece birthday was over since last Sunday and below are several feedback on the shots that I taken:

Outdoor shots with good lighting
- Due to good lighting, I am able to reduce my ISO to about 800 (I cant reduce it too low as I need a fast shutter speed for the little devils running around)
- I set my aperture to around f8 for most shots (M mode)
- I meter my subject and set my shutter speed according to the light meter in my DSLR to ensure proper exposure. (meter to 0, and check histogram after shooting)
- Most of my shots are sharp and generally no problem

Indoor shots with poor lighting
- Now I know the importance of flash (external) as I need to pump my ISO up to at least 1600/3200 to get a decently fast shutter speed
- Most of my shots are too grainy to my liking (I attribute this to the high ISO)

Post-Production
- All shots shot in Jpeg as I still have not really learned advanced PP
- I use mircrosoft office picture manager to crop and edit the brightness and contrast for all shots
- I do not intend to print out any pictures

Conclusion
- I need a external flash (Already purchased yongnuo 465 ETTL flash via Ebay for only SG$80+)
- I need a faster lens (Just purchased 50mm f1.8 II) [I believe that if I used this lens for my indoor shoot, the results will be much better as the difference between f1.8 and f4.5 is significant and this will allow me to lower the ISO while shooting indoors)

I will post some pictures when I am home so that you guys can better understand what I mean.

Thanks again everyone!
 

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geneboi

New Member
Jan 21, 2011
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#13
Can I side track a question on metering for M mode?

If I were to shoot someone outdoors with good lighting, should I meter my subject or the ambient? Does the application change with indoors and poor lighting?
 

geneboi

New Member
Jan 21, 2011
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#17
i use flash on my babies since birth, confirmed with doctor that its ok.
But why would you want to have a direct flash when u can bounce the flash? everything that I have been reading suggests on bounce flash instead of direct
 

wantunn

Senior Member
Apr 10, 2002
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#18
Outdoor shots with good lighting
- Due to good lighting, I am able to reduce my ISO to about 800 (I cant reduce it too low as I need a fast shutter speed for the little devils running around)
- I set my aperture to around f8 for most shots (M mode)
- I meter my subject and set my shutter speed according to the light meter in my DSLR to ensure proper exposure. (meter to 0, and check histogram after shooting)
- Most of my shots are sharp and generally no problem
Since you're still using the camera to meter, couldn't you have left it in AV mode with ISO and aperture fixed? In that case you would only need to have decided metering modes. :think:
 

geneboi

New Member
Jan 21, 2011
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#19

wantunn

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Apr 10, 2002
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#20
It's my first time shooting in manual mode and I am learning it from the guide below:

http://www.slrphotographyguide.com/camera/settings/fully-manual.shtml

Am I doing anything wrong here?
AV Mode: Set aperture - ISO - exposure mode - let the camera set shutter speed - snap photo.
What you did: Set ISO - aperture - use camera meter to determine shutter speed - manually set shutter speed - snap photo.

So you haven't done anything wrong, just unnecessarily complex since you've just chosen to do the shutter speed setting manually but still based off the same metering.

BTW, the metering to 0 part is just the exposure compensation. In AV mode, you can set that to +/- 2 (or 3?) too and of course 0 as well.
 

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