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05-09-2009, 05:52 AM   #1
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Best way to shoot "party pics"?

So I took my camera to a gathering of friends for the first time last night and I would love some tips on how to shoot candid (sans tripod) images of people in iffy/dark lighting lighting. If I turned the shutter speed up, everything was very dark...but in any other mode the shutter speed was too slow for me to get a clear image.

Any hints/tips would be greatly appreciated... Thanks!

05-09-2009, 06:29 AM   #2
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Chris did a very good Youtube instruction video some time ago.
Have a look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NEmufNi70w&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5WEwsVvku8&feature=related

Have fun!

- Bert
05-09-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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If you use flash, get one that you can bounce off the ceiling. If you prefer to shoot without flash, turn ISO up as high as you can stand, open the aperture as wide as you can (at least, while maintaining adequate DOF - I find getting much wider than f/2.8 to be more frustrating than it's worth in most cases). Use M mode and set shutter speed to say, 1/20" or 1/30". Some picture Pictures will be underexposed, but you can address that in PP. Yes, pictures may be a bit noisy, and yes, they won't be as sharp as if you had more light.

You don't say what lens you are using, but you really one that has a maximum aperture of at least f/2.8. Otherwise, pictures at 1/20" or 1/30" will be so dark that they really can't be salvaged well.
05-09-2009, 10:37 AM   #4
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Great info! Thanks folks...

05-09-2009, 01:05 PM   #5
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If you plan to take more of this kind of photo's, investing in an external flash is recommended. Only then can you take high-quality, noise-free photo's with proper colours in dark situations.
05-10-2009, 07:20 AM   #6
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I usually put the camera in M, set the shutter speed to 1/20, aperture to F2.8, ISO 400/800 and set the flash to -2EV (preferably bounce, but built-in will do).

This will let you use as much natural light as possible and use the flash to just fill as much as necessary.

Here are some examples: Picasa Web Albums - Beau - partypics
(not the greatest pictures but I think the lighting is ok, especially compared to the usual P&S party pics)

cheers,
Beau
05-10-2009, 08:07 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by bymy141 Quote
Chris did a very good Youtube instruction video some time ago.
Have a look at: YouTube - K10D: Bar/Nightclub photography tips PART 1 and YouTube - K10D: Bar/Nightclub photography tips PART 2

Have fun!

- Bert
Bert - thanks for that link and thanks to Codiac2600 for that very useful video.
05-10-2009, 08:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Beau Quote
I usually put the camera in M, set the shutter speed to 1/20, aperture to F2.8, ISO 400/800 and set the flash to -2EV (preferably bounce, but built-in will do).

This will let you use as much natural light as possible and use the flash to just fill as much as necessary.
I just wanted to highlight the wisdom of this kind of approach. I usually prefer shooting without flash mostly because I prefer being more discreet, but I don't kid myself that my pictures are "better" than ones taken using the above approach. The advantages of using flash as described are:

- you get to use a lower ISO than you would without flash, yielding less noise
- you get direct light on a subject that might have otherwise been completely in shadow, creating more interesting lighting patterns
- since flash duration is short, you'll still freeze motion, but the combination of slow shutter speed and high-ish ISO lets the ambient light do its thing
- dialing in negative flash compensation ensures the cameras doesn't illuminate the scene so fully using the flash that ambient light is swamped

I could see needing the tweak the specifics, but this basic approach is very sound, I think.

05-12-2009, 02:46 PM   #9
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More food for thought...even if you are using flash, you'll probably want some negative comp because you're not trying to turn night into day...you're shooting a darkish room so it should probably remain somewhat darkish in your pictures. Somewhat likely that if it's that dark you'll have some trouble focusing as well, so fast glass isn't necessarily the answer either as you'll struggle with depth-of-field.

Don't be shy about using higher ISO. Noise will look much worse at pixel level but with some post-processing and probably more importantly reduction in size for web/e-mail viewing it won't be as bad. Much more important to get adequate shutter speed & depth-of-field.

Your K200D is excellent at ISO 800 and passible at IS0 1600 IF you don't underexpose. As soon as you try to boost exposure (brighten image) during post-processing the IQ will quickly deteriorate from noise.
05-12-2009, 03:54 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by AndrewG NY Quote
Your K200D is excellent at ISO 800 and passible at IS0 1600 IF you don't underexpose. As soon as you try to boost exposure (brighten image) during post-processing the IQ will quickly deteriorate from noise.
While all this is true, I just wanted to observe that it is also all relative. Sure, push-processed ISO 1600 images (underexposed and then brightened) are noisier than images no underexposed, but to no greater degree than ISO 1600 is noisier than ISO 800 (or ISO 3200 noisier than ISO 1600 on cameras that support ISO 3200 directly). It's not like performance just drops off a cliff the moment you underexpose. With an f/2.8 lens, there is often no choice but to underexpose at ISO 1600 and push process, and the image will be noisier than if there were more light so you didn't need to underexpose, but it's still true that between NR and the normal noise-hiding that happens when we size images for web display or relatively small prints, the results can still be quite usable.

Here's one from Friday night, ISO 1600 and pushed 0.75 EV (making it around ISO 2500, I guess):



It's nothing you want to see at 100% or printed 12x18", but still worth having taken. I actually took some with fill flash (something I rarely do) that night also, using a similar technique as Beau described above. But I didn't have my external flash unit that I could have bounced, so it was direct with the pop-up, and I can't say I like the results better than the above. My $30 Sunpak auto flash would have worked just fine; I really should start taking it with me more for events like this.
05-12-2009, 05:37 PM   #11
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You guys are overflowing with Pentaxian knowledge! I'll play around and let you know how it comes out...
05-15-2009, 10:37 AM   #12
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its nothing odd, i have done a few, concentrate more on lights and color, there are many helping articles online
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