The Gost of Parties Past

A persistent question I hear: “what about the unsharpness that occurs when you shoot using your famous recommend 400-40-4 rule“?

As said before. Yes – you may get some unsharpness, especially in the shape of ghosting, like in this shot – look at the hand:

Fair enough. BUT….

  1. Motion blur occurs mainly in the “background” area, where the flash is not lighting your subject. Else it is just a little “ghosting”.
  2. It’s only when there’s movement, really;
  3. Key point: it is still better than a badly lit image!
  4. And especially – it depends on your lens too. Wider is better.

The shot above was 1/40th second (or course) at a recent event shoot with the 70-200mm IS lens. When I use a wide lens, this hardly happens – see here the 35mm (on a full frame camera, so this would be a 24mm lens on  a crop sensor camera):

Santa Kiss (Photo: Michael Willems)

So do not hesistae – you can shoot at slow shutter speeds.

Images taken at f/4, 1/40th second, 800 ISO – it was darker than usual, so an increase to 800 ISO was warranted to keep the background bright enough. This also gave my flash more durability and power.

2 thoughts on “The Gost of Parties Past

  1. I love the results I get with your indoor flash “rule”, but my problem with 1/40-f/4-ISO400 is the short depth of field I occasionally run into using my 24-105/5DMk2 combination with flash. If I shoot a couple, for example, and they are not in the same plane (distance from the lens), sometimes one of them is not in focus. So, if I wanted to use f/5.6 (or even f/8), could I either raise the ISO (say to 800) and/or increase flash compensation (to +1 or +2) and get similar results as the 40-4-400 combination?


    • Not flash compensation. That wil not work. But going to ISO 800 and f/5.6 would indeed work. But keep in mind: if you use a wide angle, like 35mm, the depth of field at f/4 is enough. Which is why my 35mm prime lens is the ideal lens for these events. Also: when shooting couple, you can make them be in the same plane by moving yourself. Or by asking one of them to move.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *