Hi all, I need some advice. This is the question:
23 of june my 6 year old daughter dances in a ballet festival. You can imagine 15 girls running around with pink tutus and me triying to make some wonderful shots with my brand new Canon eos 1100.
The problem is I have no idea of photography. I want to learn, I've read a book that explains about shutters and apertures and so on, but it still sounds like chinese to me.
So what will happen is that when the theater lights go off I will crawl down the aisle trying not to bang the camera, take 128 photos (more or less) and when I get home discover that I've got 128 pink abstract wallpapers for windows (interesting but not what I want).
Could you give some advice on what settings should I use? Please? And if you know of some book that could help me too, something for begginers...
Post your photos here to ask for help on improvements.
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
As a wedding and event photographer, I do this sort of thing all the time, and yes...if you just 'wing-it' you may end up with very cute pink abstract wallpaper shots...LOL
Your model Canon should have a "sports" setting on the top control dial (denoted by a little icon that looks like a running person). This setting tells the camera that you want to "freeze" the action. Since you are a beginner, I would recommend that setting rather than give you a detailed lesson on shooting manual mode. You will also want to up you ISO speed quite high to compensate for the lower lighting conditions once the main lights dim. Likely you will be shooting somewhere around ISO 1600+ and that should allow you to keep your shutter speeds high enough to get sharper photos.
The draw back to shooting at higher ISO's is the digital noise that creeps into the images, but, in these circumstances, a noisy shot is better than no shot at all...you can remove some of the noise in post-production.
Timing your shots will also help in low light situations. By this I mean the dancers will not always be moving and going at full speed, they will have pauses and hold poses....time your shots accordingly to get the subject as still as possible. That will help prevent subject blur. (unless you want a bit of motion blur in some shots, which can also be a rewarding image at times).
You will want to use the fastest f/stop that your lens is capable of, say f/4 or less...if you have a cheap, fast lens such as the Canon 50mm f/1.8 ( available for under 125 USD new on Amazon.com) I recommend shooting that on about f/2.5-3. It can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8-Ca ... 837&sr=1-1 That's if you can get close enough to the stage to shoot 50mm which is actually closer to 70mm on a C-sized sensor (but, that's a different lesson...LOL) if not, your kit tele-photo will do just fine, especially if it stabilized.
Set your camera to "Burst" mode for the shutter release (going into sports mode should already do this, but, double check) then you can rapidly fire shots, more images to chose from = more possible keepers. change you metering to spot or center-weighted ave...take it off matrix metering (check you manual for how to do this. It will meter more accurately the subject towards the center of the viewfinder rather than taking into account the darker areas of the stage and result in better exposures for your subject.
And lastly...to quote the "Hitch hikers Guide"....DON"T PANIC...relax and have fun too! It's your daughter special day, don't get so wrapped up in taking perfect photos that you forget to enjoy the event with her! Unless it's a paid client session, the world won't end if you blow a few shots...it happens. No matter what, have a great time and remember that you will come away having learned something new about photography in the end.
As far as a beginners book recommendation...the "Digital Photography Book" series from author Scott Kelby is my first choice for beginners. The books are not expensive, he has a wonderfully humorous writing style that keeps you interest and the books are simple and to the point, no unnecessary BS, very easy to follow and understand. they can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Photograp ... 716&sr=8-1
Have Fun, Good Luck and Happy Shooting...
Hi James, thanks for your advice.
I did thought about the "sport" option, but the other day I made some photos to my sister (she's a dancer too) and they had so much noise that she looked like she had some strange disease. The iso went up to 3200.
The lenses I've got are 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and 75-300mm f/4-5.6 (whatever that means) They came with the camera, a special offer.
I will chek the manual for the settings you've said.
I will enjoy the show and take a couple of shots. Anyway, there will be a profesional photographer that will sell us, proud parents, beautiful photos of our kids for only 6€. And he has to eat too...!!
About the books, it is curious that last week I ordered Scott Kelby's books in a bookshop! I have read about them on the web and they seem "easy" to read and understand.
So thanks again for answering me!
You can also limit the ISO to 1600 in the menu options...even that might be pushing the limits of your models capabilities...some models handle noise better at high ISO than others. Also, turn on your option for "high iso noise reduction" in the camera...this may also help.
An alternate option should you decide to try it is to set your camera in AV mode and set both the f/stop and ISO yourself. Judging by your lenses, you should probably set the f/stop to f/4-4.5 and set the ISO to 800-1250. You would then press the shutter button half-way to take a reading in the light conditions you will be shooting and see how far over/under exposed you are. Your shutter-speed will jump around a bit as the lights change, but you will get more consistent BG (back grounds) and limit the ISO noise by doing so.
Being that I can't see the light you will be shooting in, it's just best-guess for me right now, based on my experience shooting dancers ( I just did my niece's recital last weekend). hopefully, with those settings, you will be able to keep your shutter speeds between 1/60th-1/125th which would be just fine for that kind of situation, especially with timing the shots for the pauses and slower movements.
Again, thanks for the answer! I will study the manual, the camera and your options the next days!!
Very Good...you are welcome...
Post a couple of shots in this thread after your photo shoot so we can see how well you did!
Well, here are some of my shots!! (My daughter is the one in the front, or in the middle)
They are just how I made them, no photoshop. I've only made them smaller for submit them here.
The first and second photos were made with the lens EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6. I set the camera to AV, f/4 and ISO 800. They look pretty good to me but I thought that maybe she would like to have some photos where her friends had a head!
So for the next dance I changed the lens for the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 one. But I don't know why, I couldn't set the f/ lower than 5.6 and the photos looked blurred. I could only think of setting the ISO to 1600. That's why the third one looks different.
Anyway, I'm really proud of my shots and I think I'm starting to understand a little bit how it works!!
Thank you so much!!
Way to GO!!! Very well done...
The reason some of the images turned out blurry at f/stops below 5.6 is called "depth of field"...the smaller the f/stop, the shallower you 'plane-of-focus'...
A few things affect this, the f/stop for one, the distance to your subject for another, the size of the camera sensor, and the build of the lens itself.
so...that being said, f/3.5 = shallow depth of field and like f/11-16 nearly everything in sharp focus.
With a lower f/stop, you really need to watch where the camera chooses to focus in AF mode because the shallow DOF leaves little room for error.
BUT....enough lessons for now...congratulations on a well done photo session, you did very well!
(and what a cutie too! You must be proud...)
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
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