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Party photography (adults)

Dvaid 9 257 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2011 8:12AM
I'm photographing a party at the weekend. I usually use Av ( aperture priority) unless I'm shooting sports then its Tv ( shutter priority)ISO 100 or more depending on the light.

However a party is another style altogether.

I'm considering P or even Auto, with on-camera flash.

Advice from experienced party togs pls.

Thanks in advance.


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digicammad 15 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2011 8:50AM
There is no reason to go to P or Auto just because you are using a flash. Your flash should sync at speeds up to 1/250 (check in the manual for your model). Set it to something like 1/125 on shutter priority and take a couple of test shots to find the right exposure for the situation. Unless it is in an enormous room you shouldn't have any problems.

Make sure you have a decent diffuser on your flash and point the head up to the ceiling, or at least no more than 30 degrees away from the vertical, to soften the light and reduce shadows.

Alternatively, depending upon your camera, you could forget the flash and use high iso. As you talk about Tv and Av I assume you are not using Nikon, so I don't know if you have an auto-iso feature. If you do, use it and again stay in shutter priority.

Before you do the party it would be worth a few practice shots in similar lighting.

Hope this helps.

samfurlong 12 2.5k United Kingdom
25 Oct 2011 9:36AM
I like slow sync flash for these things. If it is indoors in a big room as many parties are then you'll either end up with pictures that look really flashed or correctly exposed foregrounds drifting off into blackness as the flash falls off.

Consider shooting at 800 - 1000 ish ISO and setting the exposure in manually on the camera to enable you to capture a bit of the background where the flash cannot reach - say something like 1/60th / 1/125th sec at f 2.8 or f4 and then having the flash on TTL , minus half a stop to a stop. This will ensure that the subject is correctly exposed, the colours are correct and any movement is frozen by the flash burst.

You'll obviously have to play with the settings a bit as no two situations are exactly the same but they will get you into the right ballpark.
sherring 10 46 13 United Kingdom
25 Oct 2011 9:39AM
Was shooting a wedding reception and was asked by a guest how I got my shots to look so good compaired to his.

I use a Nikon D300 and shoot in manual mode.

I set my ISO to 800, my shutter speed to 60th and use the widest apperture I can on a prime lens if possible (this will help to capture some of the available light and so add some atmosphere). I bounce the flash up to the ceiling or at a wall if available, never fire direct at the subject, which will reduce hard shadows.

Hope that helps, try it out around your house on evening.

samfurlong 12 2.5k United Kingdom
25 Oct 2011 9:41AM
Try a 'stofen omni bouce' diffuser. They cost 15 and I swear by them!
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
25 Oct 2011 11:11AM

Quote:Try a 'stofen omni bouce' diffuser. They cost 15 and I swear by them!

Looks like you just swore at them. Is "stofen" the new "f***en"?

Seriously, in response to the OP, I saw a collection of tremendous party shots taken by a guy who used a ring flash on-camera commanding a bounce flash slave on a camera grip. The combination of bounce main light and soft fill-in from the ring flash gave great lighting of "pseudo studio quality". I don't know if he was using slow synch but that is always a good idea unless you deliberately want to subdue the background.
cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
25 Oct 2011 11:27AM
Speedlight parked on hotshoe set at 45 degrees, Small pull out white card to push some catchlights ( pulled out half way ).

If speedlight does not have a white card built in, Make one from white cardboard, Then tape or rubber band to speedlight head.

ISO 200 f/5.6 sync accordingly.

Job done......!!!

The real deal is not to be in everyones faces, Try and be as annonymous as one can with a DSLR and attached search light blazing away, Lest people ( Specially when drunk ) will pose and act stupid everytime they see you pointing the camera at them, Not exactly candid, Or natural, Or very nice when viewed in a sober state.....Sad

Lens choice will be as important as any lighting options, Choose carefully....!!!

Good luck Smile
Osool 15 67 Scotland
2 Nov 2011 1:52PM
I find this thread very useful.

I was at a party and used the popup flash on my SLR for the first time, and was really dissapointed with my pictures - unevenly lit, overflashed and other horrid effects. I bought a "proper" flashgun for a second party a few weeks later, and found myself just as dissapointed, as the results were similar. I've noted all the suggestions here, and will try them out over the festive, party time, season.

I wonder if anyone would be so kind as to post samples of good party photos using these settings - I'd like to see what I should be aiming for.

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