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05-17-2008, 11:04 AM   #1
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Help w/ lens choice for Prom Photos

Yes, it is that time of year and this is my youngest daughter's Senior Prom. I'm not "Uncle Charlie" or anything, but I'd like to do better than the P&S we would use (well, my wife will use that, too).

So the 1st question is, given the choices below, if I could only choose one or two, which lens or lenses should I use to take memorable photos of my daughter and her date? He will wear the traditional black dinner jacket / white shirt and she has a rose dress.

The 2nd question is, I've only had the flash for a few days. When Using program line or green mode and all auto P-TTL flash settings it seems too powerful and washes out all the colors. I haven't used bounce flash at all - just straight on with no diffuser.

I have practiced some in Av and set an aperture that I thought was right (f/8 - f/11) indoors with daylight and the colors look better. What do you recommend I do for a late afternoon / early evening outdoor time window?

Used Multi-segment metering and ISO 400 for the practice shots.

Available equipment:

K10D | FA35/2 | FA50/1.4 | F35~70/3.5~4.5 | F70~210 f/4~5.6 |
Promaster 7500EDF (P-TTL Flash)

KX | K24/2.8 | K28/3.5 | K35/3.5 | K50/1.4 | S-M-C T50/1.4 | A35~105/3.5 | Vivitar S1 P/K A 105/2.5 Macro | Vivitar 285HV |

Many thanks in advacne for your suggestions!

05-17-2008, 11:14 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Yes, it is that time of year and this is my youngest daughter's Senior Prom. I'm not "Uncle Charlie" or anything, but I'd like to do better than the P&S we would use (well, my wife will use that, too).

So the 1st question is, given the choices below, if I could only choose one or two, which lens or lenses should I use to take memorable photos of my daughter and her date? He will wear the traditional black dinner jacket / white shirt and she has a rose dress.

The 2nd question is, I've only had the flash for a few days. When Using program line or green mode and all auto P-TTL flash settings it seems too powerful and washes out all the colors. I haven't used bounce flash at all - just straight on with no diffuser.

I have practiced some in Av and set an aperture that I thought was right (f/8 - f/11) indoors with daylight and the colors look better. What do you recommend I do for a late afternoon / early evening outdoor time window?

Used Multi-segment metering and ISO 400 for the practice shots.

Available equipment:

K10D | FA35/2 | FA50/1.4 | F35~70/3.5~4.5 | F70~210 f/4~5.6 |
Promaster 7500EDF (P-TTL Flash)

KX | K24/2.8 | K28/3.5 | K35/3.5 | K50/1.4 | S-M-C T50/1.4 | A35~105/3.5 | Vivitar S1 P/K A 105/2.5 Macro | Vivitar 285HV |

Many thanks in advacne for your suggestions!
When my daughter comes of the age, I will bring the Super takumar 150/4 and a flash. In my opinion that will make me able to take shots of her alone without that pesky sorry excuse of a up to no good bastard that is trying to steal her away from me. Plus she will once forget about him (and his dirty hands) and then it will be good its only nice pictures of her and not that annoying acnemachine that she went with.

Plus, with a tele you can take shots of other female parents and blame it on the focal length and that you forgot the other lenses, when the wife wonders why only the mothers fit into the pictures.
05-17-2008, 01:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zewrak Quote
When my daughter comes of the age, I will bring the Super takumar 150/4 and a flash. In my opinion that will make me able to take shots of her alone without that pesky sorry excuse of a up to no good bastard that is trying to steal her away from me. Plus she will once forget about him (and his dirty hands) and then it will be good its only nice pictures of her and not that annoying acnemachine that she went with.

Plus, with a tele you can take shots of other female parents and blame it on the focal length and that you forgot the other lenses, when the wife wonders why only the mothers fit into the pictures.
roflol
05-17-2008, 03:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zewrak Quote
When my daughter comes of the age, I will bring the Super takumar 150/4 and a flash. In my opinion that will make me able to take shots of her alone without that pesky sorry excuse of a up to no good bastard that is trying to steal her away from me. Plus she will once forget about him (and his dirty hands) and then it will be good its only nice pictures of her and not that annoying acnemachine that she went with.

Wait - are we talking about a Super Tak 150 or a shotgun?

If I were to take one lens it would be the A35~105/3.5, if more than one, also the FA50/1.4 for the moments with less light.

The best recommendation I have as far as lighting goes is to meter. If you don't have an external meter, just use the one inside the camera. Your settings will depend on available light and what you're focusing on and which metering setting you use. Also, when using manual lenses, don't forget to press that green button on top to have the camera meter based on your lens aperture.

Also - even if you have bright lenses, like the 50/1.4, expect a setting sun, long shadows, indirect light, and rapidly fading light. Take a tripod if possible and expect to shoot 60-90 and just about wide open aperture.

As far as flash goes - use the diffuser! It's a great thing as it softens the flash a lot. If that's still too much, try bouncing it of a white card. You can attach it to the flash with a rubber band or other retaining device - as you see in this photo I linked to from Photo.com.



Last edited by George Lama; 05-17-2008 at 03:11 PM.
05-17-2008, 03:44 PM   #5
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I think that you will want to make pictures of the couple (or at least, you daughter will), that claims for something like a 35mm or even wider. I dont know how powerfull your flash is and how high the ceilings/walls are in order to bounce the light. Considering that you have very fast glass (the 35 f2 and the 50 f1,4) I might take those 2 lenses just in case you dont get along well with the flash. Besides, if you want to isolate your daughter a narrow DOF is always advisable. You can also isolate your daughter with the flash if you dont mind to leave a dark background by using small apertures. I would also advice you to practice with the white/black suits and the mettering, it might be trickier that it looks. Also consider the kind of dress you daughter is using, you dont want to see some things throught when using a flash. I would also recommend you to practice with bouncing to avoid direct reflections on the suit. Since the 35 and 50 are fairly small, I would add also a longer lens/ zoom just in case you want close ups. Hope it helps
05-17-2008, 05:32 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for all the great advice - what an experience! Paparazzi Parents!!!

I used the 50 and the 35, with and without flash. Used the bounce card for the Indoor shots and that produced the best IQ of the lot (100+) - thanks for the quick DIY idea - I used the 3x5 card and rubber band and it was great for the indoor shots.

Chickened out on the 35~105 due to the parental feeding frenzy (25 couples gathering to take a party bus, and thus 50 parents - the shots of the parents mass-shooting are the funniest and all the kids want copies!!) and fear of missed focus. There was absolutely no way to herd all those cats into place for a tripod shot, and the subjects were uncooperative at our home.

Using the fast lenses was great - flash off for the wider group shots at f/5.6: flash on for the tight couple shots at f/11. One troubling thing was the shots with the 50 were distinctly softer then with the 35. I had always thought the FA50 was famous for sharpness (I've nly had it about a month). My K50 and M50 are astonishingly sharp. At first I thought my K10D was backfocusing until I came to the files using the 35 - they're much sharper right our of the camera.

From the perspective of the buyer this was a great success. What she wanted was Facebook snapshots, and that's what she got. The only carefully crafted image was the traditional hands pinning on the boutonier (however you spell that) and I blew out his shirt on that one (dang it).

My daughter pointed out I can't post images because these are other people's children and no model releases.

Guess I'll just have to stick to landscapes and flowers for now - People are REALLY hard. I have an even deeper respect for pro portrait photographers.

Many thanks all.

Last edited by monochrome; 05-17-2008 at 08:27 PM.
05-17-2008, 08:36 PM   #7
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She'd deck the guy if he came an inch too close <|;>)>---

QuoteOriginally posted by Zewrak Quote
When my daughter comes of the age, I will bring the Super takumar 150/4 and a flash. In my opinion that will make me able to take shots of her alone without that pesky sorry excuse of a up to no good bastard that is trying to steal her away from me. Plus she will once forget about him (and his dirty hands) and then it will be good its only nice pictures of her and not that annoying acnemachine that she went with.

Plus, with a tele you can take shots of other female parents and blame it on the focal length and that you forgot the other lenses, when the wife wonders why only the mothers fit into the pictures.
Nothing to worry about there - she'd deck the guy if he touched her, then his dad would deck him (friend), then I'd deck him just for good measure.

Poor kid - his parents had us over last weekend for dinner - at the appropriate time dad called him into the study (with me) and reminded him of all his gentlemanly duties and expectations of good behavior. He was so green you would played played with curves if he was a pef.

He actually pulled me aside tonight and assured me he would keep my daughter away from trouble.
05-18-2008, 08:28 AM   #8
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On the subject, I just took my son's Prom picture. I used the Tamron 28-75 and bounced my flash. Here is the boutonniere shot :



To be honest, I would prefer to take shots indoor since I can control the lighting with my flash. The meet is in the afternoon so the lighting outdoor is quite harsh and there is hardly any surface to bounce (no cumbersome umbrella setup) to reduce the harsh shadow. I did several group shots but strong back lighting wasn't quite pleasant. Couple pictures were easier, you can angle them about 45 degrees to the sun and you can take both the background and the kids with bright smile and open eyes.

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