I just shot an event. With a single camera, and a 24-70 lens only. Bouncing my flash, of course, as in this image of incredibly-beautiful-as-well-as-incredibly-intelligent Tatiana:
If you have a camera and a flash, you will have plenty of opportunity this season to do this kind of shooting as well and to get it right. Christmas, Hannukah, New Years’ Day: whatever your favourite celebration is: make great pictures.
I’ll get you started. My settings were:
- Camera in manual exposure mode; flash on TTL.
- The Willems 400-40-4 rule: but modified to use 800 ISO instead of 400, at the usual 1/40th second at f/4.
- White Balance on Flash, with slight adjustment in post every time I bounced off a brown ceiling instead of a white wall. (Brown is just dark yellow, so move the White Balance slider to “Blue” (cold) when adjusting these.)
- Flash aimed behind me, straight or at an angle.
To keep in mind, a few notes:
- Focus carefully, and yes, in the dark that is difficult and slow. Life’s tough.
- Move people to where there is a nice background and you can bounce off a white wall.
- In darker rooms, or where the ceiling and wall are higher or less reflective, go to 800 ISO – or higher when you need to! Better to do it in the camera than to underexpose and push in post.
- Use the Rule of Thirds.
- Think about your light direction. In every shot.
- Change flash batteries before they run out, not after they do.
- 35mm is a great focal length for people shots (24mm if you are using a crop camera).
More about all this later this month. I took around 300 pictures – fewer than usual because I was a little more selective. We evolve as photographers, and I go up and down in regard to the number of images I make. I like to get them right, rather than fire away randomly.
A couple more samples. Couples in posed shots are great:
Movers and shakers, celebrities, politicians like Mike Harris are used to being photographed:
You can ask people to do things (like “Go on – kiss your wife!”):
Shooting events is fun; people will listen to your suggestions and do what you ask; and if your technique is good, your clients (or family!) will love your shots. Go have some fun this December!
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