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Lighting a big room for birthday party

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
15 Oct 2010 10:08AM
Hi guys

Hope you can help. Not posted much on here so hope that doesn't count against me! But, I am shooting a surprise 70th birthday party tomorrow evening, in a large village hall with a high ceiling and I have only been told this, so don't really know what the room is like until I get there, unfortunately. This can only be the case too as, although I would have loved to have done a reccy on the place to size it up, I am not able to get there and its quite some distance away.

Anyway, there will be likely to around 50 people and the person organising it has said that they want a small number of formals, but mainly they love my candid and wedding stuff, so they want me to "capture" the people and the day. The formals are Ok with me, I can do that, not a problem. But, the large room may present a problem to me as this is something I have little experience of. I have searched a few places for info and got some ideas, but was wondering what anyone else could come up with....

I have three Yongnuo flashes, all remotely triggered, three stands and a Gorrillapod, a Canon 7D with a 50mm f1.8 and a 24-105 f4 L lens to be working with. I have modifiers, three umbrellas, one reflective, two shoot through, a small 40cm soft box and an 80cm reflective softbox.

I can't give more details than that unfortunately as I don't know anything else. I was originally going to park three bare flashes on the stands, stick them in the corners, bounce them off the ceiling and meter that way, but have been told that this would lead to quite flat lighting, so I have also had ideas from others regarding sticking flash on the camera, dragging the shutter, having cross lighting through the umbrellas etc etc.....its quite confusing.

All I want is nice, dramatic, but pleasing light for the client, something with a bit of dynamism, but nothing too flash or too bland.

If anyone has ANY ideas, then I more than happy for the advice and it would be gratefully recieved.



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DT01 9 69
17 Oct 2010 4:29PM
Hi John,

I was part way through a reply post then realised that I am a day late, so no help at all! Hope it went well!!


johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2010 5:00PM
Lol! No worries Drew. I didn't expect much of a response so close to the time anyway but thanks for letting me know. It went ok, could have been better but think I have good shots the client will be happy with. Will still be happy to hear your advice anyway for future reference if you can be bothered to re-write it all again lol! Will understand if you aren't Wink
DT01 9 69
17 Oct 2010 5:45PM
Sure John....What I would have suggested is to some degree, dependent on the low light capability of your camera. I don't know about Canon as I'm a Nikon user, however, if the 7D has decent low light capability, go down the high ISO route and shoot wide open. Good for a bit of drama! I've done a bit of low light stuff in theatres (ballet) with the D700 and shoot at ISO1600 500/sec f2.8 and get some decent results.

Also, if you have to use on camera flash, try slower shutter speeds and rear curtain sync, so you get a good blend of the ambient light and flash.

If the light levels are constant, try to find some parameters that work and experiment a little within them so at least you know you're not going to stray too far into the unknown when it's important to get some good shots.

Hope that makes sense!!

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