Author Topic: Photographing live events  (Read 3107 times)

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Offline dynax dingbat

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Photographing live events
« on: September 17, 2010, 09:47:20 PM »
I have been 'volunteered' to take some shots at a very important event. (I didn't know that the word NO had been expunged from the dictionary!)
It will require some informal groups of between 2 and 12 people, some award presentation shots, and so forth. I am not sure how close I can get for the latter if I have to do it in real time.

The last time I did this I nearly gave up photography because I could not get into the venue before the event and I ended up with an angled ceiling about 20 feet up. So no bounce flash! I tried a diffuser but the results were little better than direct flash. Doesn't a flash gun take a long time to recharge!

Also I could not get my A700 to focus properly where there were two people in the frame (3~4 foot apart at distance 15~20 feet), depth of field was not good anyway but it kept focussing for the middle. I tried spot focus - hold - take, too!

Where it did work photos were messed up by the pop up display boards that have company logos on as they suddenly became like mirrors!  I can't post an example because of some privacy issues re the subjects.

But the nightmare has returned!

Since that event I have acquired a 28-75mm Tamron f2.8 which I think I shall use and /or a Minolta 24mm f2.8 if it arrives in time.
I have an HVL-42AM flash gun, Stofen diffuser, and off-camera cable & flash bracket.

Suggestions for settings please.
Thanks
Graham

Offline Marked

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Re: Photographing live events
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 04:16:26 AM »
Hi Graham,

I'm not that experienced with difficult flash situations but I've used a "volunteer" to hold my flash off camera to avoid reflections and harsh shadow, its good if you can practice so your assistant knows exactly what you want and you know what your going to get, is it the same venue? if so at least you know what conditions to expect.

Good luck, Mark

Offline steve

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Re: Photographing live events
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2010, 12:02:21 PM »
Hi
 Think about making a white card to put on the back of your flash gun if you are a long way away. Diffuser should be fine if u can get close enough. I like to use the dro advanced +3 setting for interior work as it lightens the shadows nicely and makes it look more natural. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  Regards Steve

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Offline dynax dingbat

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Re: Photographing live events
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 09:20:43 AM »
Thanks for all the replies - I am flying solo so no assistance I'm afraid. Nor can I pre-visit the venue!
I think I am going to use a manual / shutter priority exposing for the background - maybe minus 1 stop (400ASA to get depth of field?).
The venue is an old english church converted to an arts centre which may now have a new ceiling to give an upper floor - however I think that ceiling bounce will not be viable. So I shall allow the flash to do fill in either using my Stofen diffuser or a small bounce card I have.
I am also going to use DRO +3 so I have a fighting chance of balancing the light in camera rather than loads of work in P'shop Elements.
Now I am not sure whether to use red eye avoidance or not because it delays the moment when the shutter fires - photos of people with their eyes closed is not a good look. It is one of my specialities together with people who have their mouth full of food!!
What else might I do?
Graham

Offline Clive

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Re: Photographing live events
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 03:17:29 PM »
I've done these are they are indeed difficult because of the complete lack of control over backgrounds and ambient lighting sources: incandescent and fluorescent in the same hall. Your new flash will be great.

"I could not get my A700 to focus properly where there were two people in the frame (3~4 foot apart at distance 15~20 feet),"  You can use the "local focus area" .. see page 50 of the manual..here.

With your new flash and a diffuser you should be fine.

Good luck

Clive
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Offline Desmo

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Re: Photographing live events
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2010, 10:21:12 AM »
I've done a lot of these events.
It's not a wedding and they are usually not after art shots.

What they generally want is well lit people with good expressions and a simple background.
Shoot on auto everything with a direct diffuser to avoid colour casts and let the camera do the work (this is one of those occassions when it works). Have the flash set for 'fill' and have the ambient exposure set about half to 1 stop brighter than the flash for more natural effects but also make sure the shutter speed is fast enough to prevent motion blur (about the same as the focal length of the lens as a rule)

Concentrate on getting rid of distracting backgrounds as much as possible and try to time your shots for the best facial expressions. Smile all the time yourself because that will help them smile as well.

Move around a bit to get a few different angles.

Most importantly; turn up early and grab a guinea pig to test the exposure before the event actually starts.

With the diffuser you'll probably not get too much red eye but if you do; don't worry, it only takes a few seconds per picture to edit it out nowdays.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2010, 10:23:35 AM by Desmo »