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Old Nov 28, 2006, 8:19 PM   #1
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I purchased an S2-IS a few months ago and am still trying to figure it out. I have to admit that I generally use it in the "auto" mode or one of the pre-set modes. However, I'm coming up on my first event in which I think none of the pre-programmed modes will work. Can anyone give me ideas on how to set the camera for the best results in a room where backlit subjects will be hard to avoid? As I understand it the room is essentially all windows, and no, there are no window coverings. My task is to take candids and shots of people enjoying the party, Santa, etc.

Any ideas would be most appreciated... thanks for the help
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 6:45 AM   #2
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You could probably use aperture priority (Av) with a large aperture (small number) and fill flash. Your subject will usually come out ok but you will probably get whatever is outside the window too without over exposing both. Or you could use program (P) or auto mode with fill flash if you don't want the background to be too visible.
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 10:57 AM   #3
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Forgive me if I am 'butting in' here, but are you allowed to stand where you want in the room?

Imagine that you are facing an outside window and are 30 cm away from it. Turn your body 90 degrees (right or left). If Santa places himself between the child on his lap and the window, you might be able to use the light coming in from the window to light up both of their cheery faces.

Being on the outside of the room looking in towards the center makes your subjects front-lit. Unless flash is allowed.

Flash can be changed between auto and manual (manual = one-thirds, two-thirds, full) in Aperture Priority and Shutter priority modes (on my S3). Your S2 may be similar. If flash will be allowed, take practice shots beforehand (in the party room or a different room) and see what the flash settings do for your pictures. Then you won't blind people (and lose background detail and 'white-out' the partygoers' faces) like a 'bar-and-party' point-and-shoot camera.

Good luck, and best holiday wishes!
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 4:24 PM   #4
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Hi, thanks for the input. I'll have to look at my camera's flash settings when I get home, but in the meantime can you tell me what "fill flash" is? I really need to get a basic book on digital photography... the book that comes with the camera isn't all that user-friendly, plus it doesn't particularly give you recommendations for taking pictures in a lot of situations which is really what I need. Do you think I'll also need a tripod for this? I'm guessing I will be able to move around quite well... the problem is that my "subjects" are somewhat less movable - they aren't children, they are elderly, frail or disabled individuals. Thanks again for your help :-)

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Old Nov 29, 2006, 5:56 PM   #5
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It will be difficult to take candid shots with a tripod. You need movility. "Fill flash" is nothing but forcing the flash on at all times. You use that when you know that your subject will be in shadow due to backlight or overhead bright sun or similar conditions.
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 7:10 PM   #6
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I believe fill flash is when you use the flash to add to existing light. If light shines on one side of a person more than the other side, then fill flash will prevent the "dark" side of the person from being so very dark.

If both sides of a person are lit up in the picture, I think it adds to the viewer's sense of "completeness" (whether it is a head shot, from the shoulders upward, from the waist upward, or the whole person).

I have an old photography book, and seems like getting the correct fill flash can be really hard for old film cameras. With a digital camera and darkroom, it should be much easier to get good results.

And if you are having fun, the subjects will be more at ease. I'm no psychic, but I predict some great photos in your future!

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Old Nov 29, 2006, 7:10 PM   #7
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Double post deleted. Sorry.

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Old Nov 29, 2006, 9:09 PM   #8
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Ah... okay. I think I basically did this when I took pictures at a night-time event recently. I used the program mode of "night-shot" but I also used the flash. The "bright side" (pardon the pun) was that the pumpkins I photographed came out very clearly, but the down side was that the pictures were so bright that it looked like the photos had been taken during the day... you couldn't even really tell that the pumpkins were lit with candles. As far as picking up items in the background, I'm not too worried about that - the "crop" tool is a wonderful thing LOL and when you are using large files sizes that gives you some "extra" to work with. I'm going to play with the camera this weekend too and see how changing these settings in different lighting situations affects the outcome. Thanks for the help.



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Old Nov 29, 2006, 9:29 PM   #9
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you might get lucky and have an overcast day too, then the interior lights might over power anything coming in the through the windows. I would also probably set the white balance to auto, just because you will probably have at leasttwo different light sources to deal with, or you might try a custom white balance if the outside light is stable. If it is partly cloudy and the sun is ducking in and out of the clouds a custom white balance would be difficult.
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 10:01 PM   #10
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Experimenting well before the event is the best thing you can do. Digital is "free" and trying different settings and seeing what you get is the best way to learn.

I just came from an experimental shooting session so to speak. Every year the town square is decorated for Christmas and I take pictures and put them in my web site for people to see. They are in the process of putting up the decorations and I went there to take some pictures to determine the best white balance setting. I have a different camera this year and I have control over the white balance. My last camera did not have any white balance adjustment. After the decorations are completed I will go back and do the "official" shooting session with tripod, extra batteries and so on.
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