Advice on how to capture these important events

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Boots-, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Boots- macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2009
    Hello, I'm an amature photographer shooting with a fujifilm s1500. I'm helping the schools yearbook by taking photos at winter carnival, which takes place next week. I would like to help out by taking pictures at the dances. It would be dark and there would be lights as usual. What are the best settings for this? Also there is a major floor hockey tournament. What are the best settings for this. The gym is usually bright for this. Please help out and recomend settings and tips. Thanks in advance!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Your not going to get great shots with that camera. Best advice would be to go to manual (if the camera has it), open the aperture as wide as it can go and take as many shots as you can. You might be lucky to get 1/10th of your shots in acceptable focus and blurriness, and another 1/10th of those suitable for publication.
  3. kallisti macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I would suggest doing some test shots at various ISO settings and see how high you can go before the noise becomes unacceptable. My guess is that it will be either ISO 400 or possibly 800. Higher ISO will let your shutter speed be faster, which will be important when handholding in dim light or when freezing action.

    You will also have to decide if you will be able to use flash for the dance pictures. The flash going off will tend to annoy people (bad). You will probably have a higher percentage of keepers if you use flash though (good). I'd suggest using the "slow sync" setting if your camera has it--this will allow more of the background to be exposed (and thus visible in the final photo).
  4. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2003
    I tend to disagree with this, this is not some POS Point and Shoot.

    OP: Your ISO goes to 6400!! Try it. See what the images look like. I'd probably sit in between at 1600-3200 if you can't get a fast enough shutter speed.

    Do this BEFORE YOU GO:

    Find a dark lit situation, in a large area, like a church or a library.

    Set your mode dial to "A" for aperture priority. Then push your ISO to 1600 and gradually increase the ISO.

    Your images should look grainy as the ISO increases. But Fuji, overstates their ratings. Their ISO 100=64.

    This is your "fail safe" option in low lighting. Grainy images aren't bad, just as long as they are in focus.

    Good luck!
  5. jackerin macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2008
    Well it has a "POS point and shoot"-sized sensor, according to the specs. As such, it won't be better at high ISOs than most other point and shoots.

    For me I have ISO 400 as my pain threshold on compact cameras. Though I would say go ahead and try, perhaps ISO 6400 will be suitable for OP's needs. But I would seriously advise him to also do test prints if it's something that's going to end up in the yearbook.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Seriously, The camera matters little. What matters the most, if you want good results is be sure this is NOT the first tie you've shot under those conditions. Practice shooting people in low light at home, in bars and outdoors and other similar situations. Make a goal to shoot batches of 100 images process them through your work flow, evaluate the results and the do anther 100 images. Repeat this cycle several times. Save the best 10 of each batch.

    Also between now and then you can study a little about exposure, shutter speeds and blur do to camera shake and subject motion. But the technical stauff is triveal, very easy to learn in a couple hours of reading. It's the otherpart of it you need to practice. Take 100 images, evaluate them and then do it again. Try for a couple cycles a week.
  7. killerrobot macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2007
    I certainly hope you plan on using a tripod, as hand-holding for portraits in low-light no matter that shutter speed or ISO will lead to disaster.
  8. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    My Pana LX3 at 60mm f/2.8 and ISO800 gets the job done pretty well down to about 1/15th with the stabilizer on as long as the subject knows she has to hold still. 1/50th or so is generally adequate for a static human unaware he's being photographed. I used to try to limit myself to ISO400 with this camera, but with the new colour noise engine in Lightroom 3, ISO800 cleans up nicely.
  9. hana macrumors regular

    May 23, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Practice, practice, practice....

    Is there a similar event that is going on that you can take pictures at prior to your actual event? ChrisA gives good advice.... find a similar setting and take some shots.

    Mentally walk through the event as a rehersal to get an idea of what kind of shots you'd need to get...are there different booths to get shots of? do you want shots of people playing the games? does the principal get on a stage and make announcements during the festival?

    You'll probably need to do some post processing.... start with what you have already (iPhoto, I assume) and look around for other tools that will help. For starters, perhaps Photoshop Elements or perhaps someone can suggest something bit more high powered that not that complex. (Photoshop and Lightroom have their place, but may be not where you want to devote your time to...)
  10. Boots- thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2009
    I dont have a similar event I can try, but I suppose I could experiment while I'm there, I have a big enough memory card to last a while. I use Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 to edit my photos, but I don't use it much. I think I may try lightroom, I think I will just try to make the best of the situation and bring my camera to school, and just take pictures and play around with settings and hope for the best. Thanks everyone who gave advice.
  11. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I'll suggest you setup an area with better lighting where you can invite people to come in and be photographed. We did this at my kid's middle school dance and it worked out very well. Some kids put up some themed backgrounds and they got a couple of nice benches. We put up some bright lights and hung some sheets or such to isolate this so the lights wouldn't bother other people.

    It worked out really well. The attendees all wanted to have their pictures taken to remember the event. We used a Polaroid camera on a tripod because the idea was to have them take photos home with them.

    In your case you would have the camera on the tripod so your focus and exposure and white balance would be preset and tested in advance. The people would come in, sit or otherwise pose, you shoot a picture or two or three and they move on. This way you can take hundreds of good pictures in one night.

    Make sure to have some spare CF cards. We had three or four people working at this and we were all busy. You might want a helper charging batteries or copying CF cards.

    If you don't rent lights I guess you could put up some simple 100W lights. Hang some translucent cloth in front of them (not too close, watch the heat) to diffuse the light. Or you could use some bright white poster board and face the lights toward the boards and away from the people. Three or four lights should do. Get a photography book to see how to position the lights.

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