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thrown in at the deep end, help

brrttpaul 6 234 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 4:33PM
Hi all, I have been roped into photographing a retirement do tomorrow night. I have told them that I have never done anything like this but they basically nuts lol. Anyway how would be the best way for me to approach this do I play safe an stick it on portrait mode? or do I go for it in manual. My camera is the d3100 and I would be using the kit lens. There is also a band there so would prob be doing coming through the door, presentaions, dancing etc. any help much appreciated I know they aint going to be the best but there you go

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ourdayphotos 6 229 Scotland
8 Nov 2012 5:16PM
If you're worried about the technical side of dark indoor shots etc & you're not experienced then just use the P Mode if your camera has that. There are countless pro wedding & events togs who only use this mode so they can focus on the composition rather than the camera settings, they also use high ISO of between 800-1600. I tried this style on my first wedding ages ago for the tricky dark shots & it worked quite well although I did have a flash which I bounced. I'm not familiar with that camera as I use Canon but I'm sure it will have P mode.

No doubt there will be those who disagree & will offer you different advice but this way you're playing it safe. I wouldn't consider manual for this kind of situation.

JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 5:27PM
For presentations, I always try and use flash - typically a separate flashgun pointed up at a ceiling if its not too high and its white.

I only use M mode where there is time to practice getting the setting right before the shot I need. I also then use M mode on the separate flash.
I also try and push myself to the front and understand the program and where people will come in from, i used to get lots of backs of heads before this.

Focusing in the darker areas can be hard and the flash may fire some focus assist flashes.

Don't use flash on the band, you'll lose the atmosphere of the shot and maybe blind them, you will need to get up close.
The noise on the higher ISO shots can be often removed in things like lightroom 4 etc.

Practice tonight at home.
Charge all you batteries as flash drains them quick.

Good luck
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 5:29PM
First, get your group shots, presentation etc, then just take shots of people enjoying themselves. Get them chating and having a laugh. Try and get tight up shots to get the expressions of peoples faces. They´ll be plenty of weather-beaten wrinklies there. If you have a speedlight, use it on auto, as you can then concentrate on the job at hand. Try some bounce flash as well.
Good luck
brrttpaul 6 234 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 6:39PM
Thx all for all your good advice. As I said Im thrown in at the deep end as I have never done this type of thing before. All my photos are mainly landscape and birds so this is a new thing alltogether. I will know most of the guests and they are a great bunch, absolutly nuts after a drink but great, and the woman who is retireing is a fantastic woman who has had a rough time the last few years. As for flash the only one I got is on the camera, I have never used P mode read about it a few times but never got round to using it. As long as I take a few good photos of the main woman herself I will be home and dry, just thought I would use this oppurtunity to have a bash and see how it goes. I will arrive early take a few empty shots to tweek the settings then hopefully some photos of guests arriving etc, would it be worth a punt taking some in portrait mode?
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
8 Nov 2012 6:42PM
I've got a D3100 and although I've never had to photograph a band or a do quite like this one, I've done dozens of celebrations in the hall at the school(s) where I work and school events at a couple of local churches.
I've used 'P' or programme predominantly in one school which had bright yellow walls and the meter just couldn't, erm, meter but using 'P' seemed to overcome the problem.
The hall in the other school is painted a neutral beige and on occasions, I've shot in there using 'M,' manual but I find 'P' does just as good a job with a lot less hassle.
For both of those, I've used ISO400 0r 800, depending upon the available light.
For shots in the churches, one is modern and well lit, so the school hall settings worked. The other is much more traditional and quite gloomy. In there I always use ISO800 and 'P.'
In each case, I use a hotshoe flash, I don't have a speedlight, mine's a great big thing that I bought at a car boot sale so my adjustments won't match yours but I usually tilt it at 45º and hope for the best.
A diffuser, I use a child's white sock, might also a good idea.
Hope this helps.

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
8 Nov 2012 6:48PM
The on-camera flash is OK albeit a bit feeble.
If you're shooting using 'P' indoors and the lighting's reasonable, you might get away with not using a flash at all.
If you do use it, try to get in fairly close.
brrttpaul 6 234 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 8:03PM
Hi all once again thx for the tips, I have just had a go on P mode and just cant figure it out what exactly it does lol
ourdayphotos 6 229 Scotland
8 Nov 2012 8:47PM
It pretty much does it all for you & you can use exp comp.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
8 Nov 2012 9:27PM
It's one step up from full auto.
It will allow you to use things like exposure comensation, I usually aim for about ½ a stop under and flash compensation and set the ISO yourself, assuming that you want to, (you can also set that to 'auto.' Not that I'd recommend it.)

I'd also recommend that you shoot using RAW. You can claw back a lot of detail lost in shadows etc. that would probably get lost shooting Jpegs.

Good luck!

RogBrown 11 3.1k 10 England
8 Nov 2012 9:31PM
Trust me. Just stick the thing on Auto & bang away. Don't worry about atmosphere & blah blah. All they want to see is pictures of themselves having a good time.
brrttpaul 6 234 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2012 11:03PM
right peeps thx for all the help you have been great TY
brrttpaul 6 234 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2012 7:54AM
Hi all, well just an update, done the function last night and glad thats over lol, hell of a lot harder than it looks. Anyway think it turned out ok ended up in manual for most of the night as it was pretty dim in there, I think I got away with it and took plenty of shots, also took some nice ones of the band and a mini elvis. Thanks again for all your help it genuinly was much appreciated.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
10 Nov 2012 12:15PM
Hi Paul,
Glad it worked out.
How about letting us see a couple of shots?
brrttpaul 6 234 United Kingdom
10 Nov 2012 1:28PM
Hi Jester I have put one up titled retirement party

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