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03-24-2017, 11:13 AM   #1
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Tips for shooting 1 year old's birthday party

So, I'm going to attempt to get some nice shots of my nephew's first birthday. Any advice/tips on what I should bring, or how I should shoot? It's going to be indoor/outdoor -- with the cake/present parts indoors.

Weather says mostly sunny for the day, and they have a fairly well lit house with high ceilings, white walls all around, and lots of windows, so there should be a fair amount of natural light. Given that information, what advice do you guys have for me?

(I use a K-30, and will probably use my smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED, or my SMC-M 28mm f3.5 prime for wide shots. I also have my manual Pentax-M 50mm f1.7)

03-24-2017, 12:33 PM - 1 Like   #2
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What else have you got in the way of lenses, particularly zooms that start in the 18mm range?

From my own armamentarium, if I were shooting a child's birthday, I'd be very tempted to take my 18-135 or even my 18-250, an external flash, and make sure every battery I had for everything I was taking was fully charged and on my person. You will not have time for lens changes if you want to capture the fun, spontaneous stuff that kids are capable of delivering, and you would be well advised not to use a manual focus lens (especially not with green-button metering) unless you are REALLY sure and fast with it.

Shoot fast, shoot candid, shoot LOTS, and then sort it out later.

Get down to his (and any other little guests') level as much as you can. With fully automated lenses, don't be afraid to use program mode so you can concentrate on composition. If you're worried about depth of field, consider going into Av mode for those lenses you take that have it (especially zooms) and set it/forget it to f/6.3 or f/8 so it can be maintained & there are no surprises when you zoom in or out.

Make sure to use fill-flash outdoors (another good reason not to take an M lens unless you're comfortable with manual flash); you never know when you just HAVE to shoot into the glare to get that perfect picture, and fill may be all that saves you. Nor should you be afraid to keep your ISO relatively high under certain circumstances (i.e. not rock-bottom); if you don't have an external flash, it will extend the range of the onboard unit and may also help with power drainage (because it doesn't have to fire at full power; consider turning flash EV compensation down on the fly if you've got time for a few test exposures here and there).

Just the first few thoughts that come into my head.
03-24-2017, 12:47 PM   #3
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As a father of three kids, I would say that Pathdoc nails it pretty well. I would underscore that you should not underestimate how fast things goes during these events. Usually not much time to swap lenses or fiddle with manual focus or exposure.

But, even more importantly, don't forget to take some time to enjoy the party and eat a piece of cake!
03-24-2017, 01:22 PM   #4
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Yeah, a long zoom that's fuzzy all over and not very good at grabbing light, or a manual focus prime that gives a field width about the same as 43mm on full frame doesn't sound like the hot ticket. I would seriously try to find an 18-55 kit lens before either of those.

03-24-2017, 02:31 PM   #5
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50mm

I seem to remember a 50 MM lens being the perfect length for kids that size. The 40 was wide enough to get the background, and the 28 will make the kids too small.
03-24-2017, 02:39 PM   #6
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A manual focus 50mm prime will be fine for things like the smashing of the cake and opening presents. Those are fairly stationary things. For anything else you're going to want a wide to tele AF zoom. A normal to tele zoom will do too (28-80/28-105 etc)
03-24-2017, 03:33 PM   #7
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With your lens options, I'd use the 28mm, turn on face detect AF if available in Live View, and get up close and personal with the little buggers.

Oh, and just in case...Dear NSA, we are talking about shooting PHOTOGRAPHS with a CAMERA.
03-24-2017, 03:54 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores;3954852I:
I'd use the 28mm, turn on face detect AF if available in Live View, and get up close and personal with the little buggers.
Sounds like a great line to put into a zombies vs. tanks movie!

03-24-2017, 04:08 PM   #9
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Zoom both indoors & out - indoors 18- 55mm and Outdoors 18- at least 100mm - Use back focus and turn off shutter release focus - Center focal point - low multi frames and I use a flash indoors Internal & 360 FGZ II WR and sometimes Outdoors (fill flash). It helps to stop the action and gets rid of the deep shadows your dealing with very soft skin tones.
Take lots of shots and use the trash can latter.

Last edited by honey bo bo; 10-25-2017 at 08:10 AM.
03-24-2017, 04:24 PM   #10
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For my daughters 2 year party I found my 17-50 was the best for indoors along with a cactus flash mounted on the hot show to bounce it off the ceiling and walls.
03-24-2017, 04:33 PM   #11
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1) Acquire a better lens - for example a second-hand DA70 limited
2) Put emphasis on candids and diversity - it is useless to take 50 pics of a child with the same facial expression each time he smiles. Candids from a safe distance with a telephoto (70 lim should provide plenty of distance outside) imho is the best approach for children and also adults.
3) Don't forget to take some posed pics of the family in different combos, when things quiet down - for this an off-camera flash would be very advisable - cheapo light stand, cheapo shoot-through umbrella, cheapo manual flash with optical slave.
03-24-2017, 07:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Yeah, a long zoom that's fuzzy all over and not very good at grabbing light, or a manual focus prime that gives a field width about the same as 43mm on full frame doesn't sound like the hot ticket. I would seriously try to find an 18-55 kit lens before either of those.
That's not an option.
03-24-2017, 08:18 PM   #13
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I guess I'd grab the 28, stop well down, and fly hyperfocal. Good luck!
03-31-2017, 08:21 PM - 3 Likes   #14
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Well, here's one of the better shots from the party...What do you guys think?

Last edited by Vicioustuna2012; 11-29-2017 at 08:49 PM.
04-01-2017, 02:54 AM   #15
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Awesome. Captured the mood perfectly. I can't think of anything which says "I just turned one" better.
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