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Old Oct 15, 2005, 12:51 PM   #1
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Hello, I'm fairly new to DSLR Photography (less than 2 years) and am looking for best practices with my Canon 20D. When I shoot indoors, for example, what are some best practices as far as mode/settings. SHould I use shutter priority/aperture priority? Should I manually control everything? I guess if you can answer this question as if you were doing wedding photography (indoor) and then answer these questions:how would you shoot??? What modes, etc...? Any help is MUCH appreciated!!! Thanks.

*Note I am using a Canon 17-40mm L Series lens with the Canon Speedlite 580EX for most of my shooting.
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Old Oct 15, 2005, 6:32 PM   #2
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First off, nice flash and lens. I have both of those (with the 20D) and that is a capable package.

What mode you want to shoot in is really dependent on what type of shot you are trying to take.

It is really all about the effects you get when you change the aperture or the shutter speed. Its also partially about what metering mode you are in.

The larger the fstop (smaller the aperture) the more depth of field you'll have. If you want separation between the subjects and the background, then you want a smaller fstop (smaller depth of field.) If you want more depth of field (getting the entire group of people in focus) then you want a larger aperture.

If you want to stop action, then you want a faster shutter speed. But to get a faster shutter speed you either need lots of light or a lower fstop. This means that you trade stopping action vs. larger depth of field. Get it? There is an interaction there that you have to learn if you want to get exactly the effect you want.

Does all this make sense?

To make things more interesting, you can also vary ISO. If you increase the ISO, you double the shutter speed. but you can also keep the shutter speed the same and increase the fstop 1 hole stop (increasing depth of field.) Of course, doing this increases the noise. If you find the noise acceptable for a given ISO, then you're all set.

The last point is metering mode. Learn about how the metering modes work. This is an important thing because some metering modes are better at specific scenes than others. Very back lit scense are better with a spot meter (well, Canon's equivalent to the spot.) That will allow you to meter off exactly where you want properly exposed. But a center weight average is better when you have several subjects (all in the center) that you want properly exposed. Evaluative works by metering the entire scene evenly. What people usually do is learn one metering mode... learn when its right and when its wrong. And then use exposure compensation to correct its flaws.

Does that help? Not the "do this for this, do that for that" answer you might have been looking for... but photography is not that way.

Eric

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Old Oct 15, 2005, 7:17 PM   #3
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I usually use shutter priority or aperture priority.

I never used P-programed, or any other mode or setting on my 20D.

I also adjust the ISO (sensitivity) fairly often depending on the ambient light level of the scene.

Most often I use shutter priority for sports. Because I'm trying to freeze the movement of athletes, I use shutter speed 1/250th or 1/500th.

Often if I'm shooting recreationaly, I shoot shutter prioirity at 1/125th to eliminate hand shake.

If I'm using aperture priority, it's because I'm trying to control the background of the shot. At wide open (let's say F2.8), I know the background of the scene is going to be soft focused, the degree depending on my distance from the subject, the lens focal length, etc.

If I'm shooting "stopped down" (F5.6 or higher) its because I want the background detail in focus.

So, I use shutter speed and aperture and ISO sensitivity to control my shots.

I usually don't shoot "manual". It's probably too much work for me, and the controls are not easy to get at. I can usually achieve all I want to achieve with shutter priority, aperture prioirty and adjusting the ISO.

The above is an answer "in a nutshell".

You really have to go out there and experiment, take lots of photos, and find what works for you.

-- Terry


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Old Oct 15, 2005, 10:47 PM   #4
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Eric & Terry

Thank you very much for the info. It is valuable. I understand about 75% of it, but the rest I will read about in my books and on the NET. I definitely understand the depth of field point you were making, Eric. It makes a ton of sense. I also have noticed that manual mode is just too much work, asTerry stated,especially when you want to get a "qucik" shot. Maybe for portraits it may come in handy. Next step is to put these tipsinto practice and do some experimenting!

Thanks guys!!!

Steve
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Old Oct 16, 2005, 11:16 PM   #5
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sapontejr wrote:
Quote:
Eric & Terry

Thank you very much for the info. It is valuable. I understand about 75% of it, but the rest I will read about in my books and on the NET. I definitely understand the depth of field point you were making, Eric. It makes a ton of sense. I also have noticed that manual mode is just too much work, asTerry stated,especially when you want to get a "qucik" shot. Maybe for portraits it may come in handy. Next step is to put these tipsinto practice and do some experimenting!

Thanks guys!!!

Steve
I actually find Manual to be the easiest and quickest mode to usefor indoor flash photography. For example, if you take "around the house" type candidsIuse 1/250s and ISO200 (leave them there) and set the aperature to get the depth of field I want.Also, I find with my 20D that images are always a bit underexposed with flash, so I use +2/3 flash exposure compensation as a start. To me, it's the use of FEC and FEL that are the keys to good flash photography, not whether you are using Man, Av or Tv.

The most important thing to understand is that the camera light meter is used for determining the background exposureNOT the subject exposure. Proper exposure of the subject is taken care of by ETTL/ETTL II. So,

- set the shutterspeed to prevent blur from subject motion or camera shake
- set the aperature to get the depth of field you want
- use FEC (and FEL) to help control flash power in the event that ETTL/ETTL II doesn't get the subject exposure quite right
- understand the limitations of your flash, such as the relationship between aperature, ISO and range.

For around the house (small rooms) where I'm taking B'day party type "quick" snapshots I'd set my camera in Man with 1/250s, f6.3, ISO200 and +2/3 FEC, and wouldn't change the settings for the entire event (except maybe FEC which I find can range anywhere from +2/3 to +1 1/3).

No matter what mode I use, I put my camera away with +2/3 FEC dialed in. After some correspondence with Canon they confirmed thatETTL II underexposes a bitby design.
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 5:44 PM   #6
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Thanks Bob. Great stuff!! I took some sample photos around the housewith your recommended settings and they look great. The experiment continues........
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Old Oct 17, 2005, 5:44 PM   #7
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Thanks Bob. Great stuff!! I took some sample photos around the housewith your recommended settings and they look great. The experiment continues........

Steve
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