First Club Photography session. Critique please.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ryan1524, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Ryan1524 macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #1
    Hi everyone. This is my first time covering a club event. My friends are pretty awesome DJs from McMaster University, and we're trying to bring the culture down to a smaller town, Hamilton.

    I'd appreciate any critique. Don't mind to be gentle, or I'll never learn.

    Flickr Link

    Alex
    [​IMG]

    Jarod
    [​IMG]

    Andrew
    [​IMG]

    If you're in Hamilton, check out the Facebook group (mEDM), and come and say Hi.

    Thanks
    ~ryan
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    The first two have the best lighting (which still isn't great- probably not your fault due to the assumedly poor lighting in the venue as well as using the flash) but the third looks a little flat and overly warm. I like the cropping of the second one the most, to me the position of the subject's head on the right- and upper-most third of the frame is a little distracting.
     
  3. sl1200mk2 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    #3
    Personally, I don't like the lighting. It really doesn't set a mood or vibe, it's just sort of over powering. I would have tried something much different with the flash or darkened and done a lot of selective burning to tone things down and try to give it more of a club vibe.

    Don't get me wrong... they aren't 'bad'. I realize conditions are terrible and being in a smaller town you probably don't have a club with high end lighting. I just think they lost a mood and feeling you could have possibly captured rather than just that much brightness and detail.

    EDIT: Having looked at your flickr page, IMHO you have some far better shots than the ones presented here. Maybe I'm unsure of what you were after with the ones presented in particular, but your creative shots with DSC_3529 thru DSC_3533 for me tell a better story and set a mood. I think somewhere between these and the clarity / detail of what's above is the sweet spot.

    Hope this helps -

    Wayne
     
  4. Ryan1524 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #4
    Thanks guys.

    Yeah, considering the club lighting, the only way to get a clear shot of people is with the flash. Anything slower would be too dim, or blurry. Or is there a technique I'm missing here? I presented those three cause those are the three DJs hosting the event. So it was a bit of a shameless plug on my part for them. hah.

    I did take some more creative shots cause those are the fun ones for me. But I also needed to take shots of the people there. :)
     
  5. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #5
    The lighting is really mediocre at best. The bottom line is you simply must buy your own lighting equipment and learn to use if effectively in these situations if your ever going to get shots that are anything above mediocre. Thats just the harsh truth of the situation. If you cant afford to buy your own kit then you should think about renting if you have a rental place by you. I used to rent all the time.

    Personally I use a Hensel Porty w ringflash for shoots like this along with 3-4 canon speedlight's that you can use wirelessly wherever you want. That is the kind of system I would say you should either look into buying or renting when you want to do these kinds of shoots. I have absolutely fallen in love with the Hensel Porty system. I used to use a Norman 200 and 400 but the Hensel and all the accessories available is vastly superior imo.
     
  6. Ryan1524 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #6
    I currently have an SB-600, which can be commanded remotely from my D70s. So you have a ring flash mounted and the other remotes are triggered simultaneously or individually? If so, how? Pocket wizard?
     
  7. CTYankee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    #7
    Ditto the comments about the lighting. Too 'on camera flash' like. Try bouncing off a wall or other surface. Even a person with a white shirt will work.
     
  8. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #8
    What lens were you using? You're Flickr photos seem to have the EXIF data stripped so I can't tell.

    Even if you had ideal lighting for those shots I still wouldn't be a big fan as they just don't convey the DJ theme at all, they are missing that clubby vibe and to gain that I think you would be better off with just using ambient lighting with no flash and use a fast lens like the Nikkor 50/1.8 to compensate.
     
  9. dophineh macrumors member

    dophineh

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #9
    always make sure the eyes are in focus for portraits.
     
  10. Ryan1524 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #10
    I'm not sure why the EXIF are stripped. If you look at my other photos on Flickr, they all have data. I think it's this temporary Lightroom I'm using. My MacBook Pro is being repaired, so I setup a temporary workstation with my old Powerbook. I didn't change anything from default much, just the sizes and Mogrify tools for Borders.

    If anybody know how to fix this without reinstalling LR2, that'd be great.

    As for the flash being too on-camera, it IS an SB-600 mounted on the camera, but I guess the sto-fen I have on it is doing too good of a job redirecting some of the light forward. The weird thing is, NONE of these pics have the head of the flash pointed towards the subjects. They're always pointing towards the nearest wall or the ceiling. I considered ditching the diffuser, but the walls in this club were all purplish blue or pink. That's be really awkward to fix later. haha.

    I was using 35mm f2 on most of the pics. Some which are very wide-angle were done with a 11-16mm f2.8. I dropped the flash on some of the more fun shots. I'd love to drop the flash completely and use ambient light, but my D70s has nasty noise once I go past ISO800. And I'd rather the portraits not be blurry. Any suggestions on effective hand-holding in dark scenes?

    About the focus, yeah, I know, gotta work on that. Sometimes it's hard to get it zeroed quickly in a club environment. :(
     
  11. NuclearBiscuit macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    #11
    The following passage is from Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. It is one of the fundamental texts for thinking about photography and its broader philosophical problems. What you'll find is that all this nonsense about lighting really has nothing to do with whether or not you've done something remarkable with your camera. True, commercial photographers have their standards, but these are subjective and answerable to a specific market. The result is usually a mirthless, generic image that lacks the air Barthes talks about. Most of the people who comment on these forums are not artists. They have an inflated idea of what it means to wield gadgets, and they don't commit any time to studying the history of their medium or how to responsibly comment on photographs beyond superficial, technical details. Take, for example, Julia Margaret Cameron's photographs from the 1860s. She purposefully put her subject out of focus to achieve an impressionistic effect. From my subjective point of view, I like how you're trying to get the cool these guys are exuding. You don't anything more than a good eye and an aperture. A good eye can't be bought. This debate has been going on since the Victorians, but it's important to keep things in perspective.



    "The air (I use this word, lacking anything better, for the expression of truth) is a kind of intractable supplement of identity, what is given as an act of grace, stripped of any ‘importance’: the air expresses the subject, insofar as that subject assigns itself no importance. In this veracious photograph, the being I love, whom I have loved, is not separated from itself: at last it coincides. And, mysteriously, this coincidence is a kind of metamorphosis. All the photographs of my mother which I was looking through were a little like so many masks; at the last, suddenly the mask vanished: there remained a soul, ageless but not timeless, since this air was the person I used to see, consubstantial with her face, each day of her long life.

    Perhaps the air is ultimately something moral, mysteriously contributing to the face the reflection of a life value? Avedon has photographed the leader of the American Labor Party, Phillip Randolph (who has just died, as I write these lines) ; in the photography, I read an air of goodness (no impulse of power: that is certain). Thus the air is the luminous shadow which accompanies the body; and if the photograph fails to show this air, then the body moves without a shadow, and once this shadow is severed, as in the myth of the Woman without a Shadow, there remains no more than a sterile body. It is by this tenuous umbilical cord that the photographer gives life; if he cannot, either by lack of talent or bad luck, supply the transparent soul its bright shadow, the subject dies forever. I have been photographed a thousand times; but if these thousand photographs have each “missed” my air (and perhaps, after all, I have none?), my effigy will perpetuate (for the limited time the paper lasts) my identity, not my value. Applied to someone we love, this risk is lacerating: I can be frustrated for life of the ‘true image.’ Since neither Nadar nor Avedon has photographed my mother, the survival of this image has depended on the luck of a picture made by a provincial photographer who, an indifferent mediator, himself long since dead, did not know what he was making permanent was the truth—the truth for me" (110).
     
  12. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #12
    Doing portraiture with only available light in a club setting is not a good idea. Sure if your going for some dark and moody shots then you can snap a few of those off however to base your entire shooting strategy on existing lighting is a terrible idea. If you want great portraits you simply must use your own lights. Besides you can do a million and 1 things with a lighting kit including making them mimic the club lighting. You can use gels and gobo's and everything else that exists to help control the light. It takes awhile to become fully competent with lighting but once you do, there is literally nothing you cant do with them.

    The bottom line is a photographer who has a lighting kit and knows how to use it will make VASTLY superior photos than a photographer shooting ambient lights especially when your in dark and uncontrollable setting like a night club.
     
  13. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #13
    I would love to know how you know so much about everyone in here and what puts you in a position to speak about such matters. Just out of curiosity, who are the artists and who are not the artists? Am I an artist?

    The definition o an artist from Wikipedia

    Practicing an art or demonstrating an art. It sure seem to me like a lot of people in here fit this description.
     
  14. NuclearBiscuit macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    #14

    First, in order to define something as amorphous as an "artist," you're going to have to do better than quote from Wikipedia. The definition that I implicitly gave was someone who understands the history of their medium and the people who practice it. Rarely, if ever, do I see any acknowledgment in forums like this one of photography's artists and its histories. Instead, there seems to be an infatuation with technology. This infatuation overvalues expensive equipment, and it assumes that the quality of someone's work is a function of their "pro" devices. It's ironic that the idea of a "pro," commercial, photographer was at one time practically an epithet that distinguished quack portrait makers from fine artists.

    The history of this technological infatuation is actually rather interesting. About twenty years after photography's public invention, the medium went from being a specialized interest of the elite to a widely commercialized practice that replaced miniature portrait painters. The result was that everyone could have a carte de vista and almost anyone could take one. There became growing concerns among the fraternal brotherhood of photographers that anybody could take a portrait, no matter how poor the quality, and there were various lawsuits at the time about whether or not someone's likeness had been sufficiently captured. This is when you see a wide proliferation of various Photography periodicals--some much in the spirit of a forum like this one. These periodicals tried to create a professional discourse among photographers by discussing new technologies and methods. At the same time, they also implicitly regulated the kinds of photographs that were morally acceptable and appropriate. Numerous periodicals tried to put the proliferation of spirit photography, which was popular at the time, in disrepute.

    So, when I see photographs like those posted here, I think about this history. As a photographer, I know how god damned frustrating it is to have people critique your images without even trying to understand the project and its ambitions beyond simply whether or not the image is slightly overexposed or if maybe there should have been another lighting source. These are all fine technical suggestions, but let's not pretend it's an adequate critique. If you're going to critique an image, you need to address the content of that image as well as the form. In the best cases, you're able to explain how the two relate to each other. So, what was this photographer trying to do, and how might he better accomplish it? How are these images working, and what do they represent? You assume that these should look a different way because you're judging them by a certain standard you have presupposed but not disclosed. Photography is not an objective medium nor are its critics.
     
  15. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #15
    LOL, I actually quoted from Wikipedia on purpose as I knew without a single doubt that you would respond the way you did about quoting from them. Sorry just couldn't help myself. I actually would have said the same thing. I hate Wikipedia.

    As for your claim that an artist has to be someone who understand the history, I dont buy into that for a second. Your basically saying I could practice photography my entire life, become a master at printing and of alternate processes, become highly respected, hold photography showings Etc, yet if I didn't study and learn the history of the medium, I wouldn't be considered an artist? Again I dont buy into that for a second.

    The bottom line is that someone need only practice an art to be an artist. I dont just mean painting 1 picture a month or shooting some pictures here and there. Its someone who embraces the medium and makes that medium a part of their lives. They take it seriously and put in a serious effort into mastering the skills required by the medium. That is the very essence of being an artist. Now with that being said I have spent almost 20 years shooting pictures and surrounding myself with people who practice not only photography but other art mediums as well and a lot of the people who consider themselves to be artists absolutely despise the idea that someone only has to practice the art to be considered an artist. They like to put these lofty prerequisites on just what an artist is and what it takes to become one and they do this because they hate to think of themselves as just another one of the millions of people practicing that medium. They think the label of artist makes their work better and more important and at the same time makes them feel above those people just practicing the art. I always hated this line of thinking and the advent of digital has only helped increase that way of thinking since so many more people are shooting pictures. Well I for one dont buy any of it.

    Art is for everyone, everyone can be an artist and studying the history or even being interested in the history of the medium is not a prerequisite.
     
  16. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #16
    When I'm shooting concerts/clubs, I turn the flash down a stop or two. It lets some of the ambient light and character of the club come through. I don't mind your shots, their just isn't a lot of atmosphere or feeling in them due to the overpowering flash. This is just my opinion and I really dislike on-camera flash shots in general though, so take it with a grain of salt.
     
  17. Ryan1524 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #17
    Okay, so I definitely need to dial down the flash and even it out a bit.

    I apologize for the lack of EXIF data on the flickr pages. I'm not sure why my LR2 is not exporting them properly. But ALL of these photos are shot within the following parameters: f2-f6.3, with shutter at 1/15-2".

    Here are some shots that I think represent what I really want to capture about the club, beyond just recording the presence of some of my friends and/or patrons.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. AlexH macrumors 68000

    AlexH

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
  19. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    #19
    The pictures of the club are pretty good pictures, its the portraits that you need to work on and again the key to those is going to be learning how to use lighting in a creative and controlled manner. In this regard Scrims, Gobo's and colored Gels are your friends.
     
  20. digitalfrog macrumors regular

    digitalfrog

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #20
    Night club pictures is a lot about going slow speed (down to a full second handheld) and using a flash to freeze the action.

    best way to get colorful pics !
     
  21. rroback macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #21
    looks good, but be weary of the distortion in corners...
     
  22. CTYankee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
  23. Ryan1524 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Ryan1524

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2003
    Location:
    Canada GTA
    #23
    Thanks.

    Yea, I didn't actually meant for the first 3 pics to be the showcase, they're just the DJs, and I was plugging them. I meant for people to check out the Flickr gallery. Hahah.

    The ones where the edges are distorted, they were shot with an 11-16mm Tokina, and yea, I should've corrected them in PS, but I'm also a busy college student. I'll definitely do them next time. :p

    For the upcoming events, do you think I should stick to my D70s and rent a 17-35/55mm f2.8, or use my 35mm (or 50mm, since it's FX) with a rented D700? I was thinking the low noise sensor and better AF system should do me some good.
     

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