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05-24-2011, 07:48 PM   #1
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Graduation photos

So my wife is graduating with her Masters degree tomorrow. I have no clue what kind of lighting I should expect. I know its indoors, so im assuming poor. I plan on taking the 70-200 2.8 mounted on my K20, and then the 17-50 2.8 for post grad pics. I just feel like the 70-200 is going to be WAY overkill. I am going to try to get there as early as possible, so we can get closer seats. But im betting we well still be quite a ways away. Im sure off camera flash would be an option (if close enough), but not sure if I will look like a total buffoon with the 70-200 and off camera flash sitting in the audience.
For those of you who have been to a College graduation recently, what should I expect? I went to a technical school, so ours consisted of handing out the diplomas after the last class and high school was too far back to remember.

Is the 70-200 overkill? Should I take the K-x rather than the K20?
Last minute thoughts and suggestions would be great

05-24-2011, 08:19 PM   #2
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That's not overkill

I am not sure what type of graduation you are attending, but this would not be overkill for any graduation I've ever been to. I would take whichever body gives you better quality at a mid to high range iso and plan on using every bit of the available aperature... Last Graduation I was at I was at 800 with 2.8 and still may have like to have a little faster shutter.
05-24-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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remotely triggered flash is overkill, bringing a 70-200 is not. I'd bring the K-x for cleaner high ISO, it's not like you'll be needing weather sealing indoors.
05-24-2011, 08:40 PM   #4
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Forget the flash.

Plan on ISO 1600 and 2.8 at 1/100 or 1/125. The attached was 1/160. That's about an EV of six which is typical stage lighting for a ceremony. 70-200 is okay. This was my 50-135 racked out to 135.

If its sunny outside afterwards and you can't get into shade, plan on flash for a little fill with the shorter lens. You'll want wide, there is never enough room and too many folks.

Shooting with a K20 at 1600, I use Imageonic Noiseware default settings and it works beautifully, at least for those of us still on CS3. K5 doesn't need it.


Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 06-06-2011 at 07:40 PM.
05-24-2011, 09:01 PM   #5
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FWIW, my standards for what constitutes "low light" are different form most people's. Graduations tend to be held in relatively large venues compared to the jazz clubs I often shoot in, and large venues are always lit much better, or else people in the back rows wouldn't be able to see. So I personally wouldn't bother with the 70-200/2.8 unless you know you'll have room to work with; you have every reason to be concerned about it being "overkill" if you're shooting from the seats. I would be fine with the Tamron 70-300 among your other lenses, although if you had a 135 or other medium telephoto prime, I'd want to have that available too.
05-24-2011, 10:36 PM   #6
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It's going to depend on where you are shooting from. I have done 3 graduations in the last year, two last May and one a week ago. A 70-200/2.8 is a lens I wished I had last week. I had a long enough lens but nowhere near fast enough. I got by but barely. Last May, I used an M135/3.5 for my youngest's graduation and it was perfect for the distance. That one was outdoors. You should be able to get by with the two lenses you mentioned. This is from a couple of weeks ago shot with a Sigma 70-300 at 108mm and f/6.7 (almost wide open) with a little help from a Metz 48. With a faster lens, I would have been able to ditch the flash (maybe).

Last edited by reeftool; 12-29-2016 at 04:44 PM.
05-24-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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Congrats to your wife.

K-x + 70-200 is a good idea for the ceremony, but above all that will help, get up as close as you can to the action - people will notice you holding up a bazooka to them, but this thing happens once. It's better to avoid camera shake and shoot in available light than to have to stuff around with recycle times of flashes to end up with one or no keepers. Meter the shot well before it happens, prefocus and fire continuously for the split second she's being presented with the award. That'd be my suggestion.

All the best for your wife's future career.
05-26-2011, 04:03 PM   #8
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To expand a bit on Ash's advice.....

Remember that everybody who gets their diploma before your wife is a chance to shoot, review, and adjust. Make good use of them.

05-26-2011, 04:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
To expand a bit on Ash's advice.....

Remember that everybody who gets their diploma before your wife is a chance to shoot, review, and adjust. Make good use of them.
LoL, my wife was the 4th out of 3,000. I didnt get much practice, but they came out decent i guess. Ill post up soon.
05-26-2011, 05:59 PM   #10
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When I made that post I was thinking, "Now watch his family name be Aaron and I'll end up looking like a chump."

Apparently I didn't miss it much.
05-26-2011, 06:08 PM   #11
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A good monopod would help a lot

good luck
05-26-2011, 06:30 PM   #12
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Here are a few pics. The indoors did not come out so well (Lighting was not my friend, between the house lights on/off/on/off/on the stage lights, the lighted drapes, and projectors, there were way to many variables.) I tried a few shots with the flash just for sh!ts and giggles, and surprisingly it lit up the stage from as far back as I was. The one picture (though horrible) i posted to show how far we were from the stage. That is at 70mm at the low end of the 70-200.
All and all, I guess they came out ok. Another learning experience.















05-26-2011, 06:33 PM   #13
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These are terrific photos, you did well
05-27-2011, 11:38 AM   #14
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Nice! But FWIW, I don't think that was your flash lighting up the stage in the one taken from a distance - if it were, you'd also see the people in front of you lit up. I think it's overexposed simply because the shutter speed is way to slow - 1/30" at ISO 1600 and f/2.8, when the rest of the pictures were already somewhat overexposed (in the red channel) at 1/180".
05-27-2011, 12:11 PM   #15
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Marc, maybe I misspoke, the picture at a distance was simply to show how far I was. I'll try to find one that shows the flash better. (it was so overpowered that most were horribly overexposed.)
I'll post one up later tonight
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