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Old Dec 5, 2006, 8:07 AM   #1
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My son and his date will be attending their first "winter formal" this weekend. They and a group of friends have asked me to take some pictures of them prior to the event at a friend's house (inside).

I do not have an external flash for my XT, only the pop up. There will probably be 8 people (max) in the pictures. I know this is a very "broad" question, but given the limited equipment, can some of you offer a few suggestions? Naturally, I want to end up with the best results possible. I have a kit 18-55, and a Sigma 24-60.

Thanks....
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 8:50 AM   #2
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If its 8 people at once (and not just couples) then you'll almost certainly need to use the 18-55. 24mm will probably not be wide enough and you'll have to back up... right into that nice lamp (you're indoors, remember :-) )

The range of the popup flash is not very far. Something in the range of 8-10 feet, I think. So I would suggest you pick the spot you shoot from carefully. Maybe one where you can setup an extra lamp or two to help. If they have a lamp where you can adjust where the lamp shines I would use that to bounce the light off the ceiling (if its low enough.)

Oh, do you have at tripod? That would help a lot. Sure they'd have to stand still while you're shooting, but it certainly won't hurt to use it.

Also, make sure to take just couple shots as well. And take many of all the shots. Raise the chance of getting a sharp one.

Oh, and exposure can be tricky if one is wearing a light colored outfit and the other a dark one. It's the classic problem that wedding photographers have. I would suggest taking some test shots of a white shirt and a dark shirt near each other and see how they come out. You might have to use some exposure compensation to help you get it right.

Good luck!

Eric
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 9:48 AM   #3
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Thanks!

I do have a tripod. What I'm also concerned with are my settings. I posted last week concerned about the overall sharpness of my pictures, and received a suggestion to stay out of AI mode.

There is some good news, I may have located a flash to use.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 2:31 PM   #4
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Definitely shoot in one-shot for this. AI-Focus and AI-Servo are used when there is a chance that the subject will move around. In this situation the subjects will definitely be still for the shot, so you don't need an AF mode that tries to handle moving subjects.

Use a smaller aperture/higher f-stop if you can. This will definitely be light dependent, so if you can beg/borrow/steal that flash you mentioned definitely do it! Absolutely!!! It will make a large difference. But try to borrow it a few days beforehand so you can get used to using it.

The higher f-stop will mean you get a larger depth of field. You'll definitely want this as you want more than their nose in focus, you want the entire face and more. Many things effect the size of the depth of field, but since you're indoors the one that you'll have the most control over is aperture.

On canon cameras the flash is used as a "fill flash" when you're in Av mode. I would suggest you *not* do this but instead do some testing while shooting in "P" (I think that is "program" mode.) In that mode the flash is considered the "dominant" light source. It will use more flash power, but will make up for shooting in a room which probably doesn't have enough light.

And check your exposures using the on-screen display. You don't want to mess this up and the kids are old enough that they should be able to stand still for you to do that (this is important to them, after all!)

Eric
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 3:12 PM   #5
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Definitely use the wider lens. Shoot at f8. Might need to boost ISO to 400. May want to adjust flash compensation based on histogram of test shots. Use the P mode to get ballpark exposure 9aperture and shutter values) and then use those values as starters while in manual mode. Flash behaves better when camer is in manual mode.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 3:56 PM   #6
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I appreciate it very much guys.

I think I just need to learn to treat my DSLR more like my film SLR and I'll be in better shape. For some reason, when I went digital, I started relying on the "little green rectangle" mode a lot more.

Hopefully the flash will pan out....and I put one at the top of my Christmas list!

Thanks again fo rth ehelp....sorry to ask such "rookie" questions.
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 3:49 PM   #7
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twkenny, I am by no means an expert with flash but I noticed with my XT the built in flash is a bit hot. I adjusted the flash exp Comp down by 1/3 and that really seemed to help. (page 100 in the manual)

Of course your conditions will be different so, as others have said, try a few test shots.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Mugmar
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Old Dec 7, 2006, 11:44 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. I found an external flash in town and experimented with it yesterday....that should help.
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 9:15 PM   #9
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if youre shooting indoors on a during the day open some of those windows and shoot on iso 800 if necessary. thats why you bought canon, right? to shoot on higher isos with less noise...


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Old Dec 10, 2006, 7:10 AM   #10
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Actually on a large group two(2) or more flashes are even better than one! :-)
-> Most dSLRs now feature a very easy to use automatic TTL wireless set-up...
http://eosseries.ifrance.com/eosseri...ork_ssfil.html

I'm all for more lights (and what photography is all about):
o More contrast
o More saturation
o Controlled shadows
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