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Old Dec 6, 2005, 12:17 PM   #1
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I'm a novice and purchased the Olympus Camedia C-5500. I love the camera and chose it to take photos of our new baby. I got some great advice from the forums here, before deciding on this camera. I am now in need of a Crash CourseonAperture Priority and Shutter Speed. I've been experimenting with some nice results.

Any suggestions on what settings to use to take a photo of my daughter in front of a lit up Christmas tree? I have control of Aperture Priority, Shutter Speed, Flash, White Balance and ISO. I've taken photos of the tree and lights look like stars (which I like). This was done with no flash, ISO 80, Shutter Speed 4 Sec, F/8 (I'm guessing this is Aperture Priority). I just can't figure out how to get this result and my daughter in the photo with good lighting on her face. The 4 sec Shutter Speed isn't practical for a 4 month old (but I'll deal with that if I have to). Is this possible with this camera?

Thanks in advance for any advice/help.


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Old Dec 6, 2005, 3:09 PM   #2
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try aperture priority and set the f stop to 2.8 (or as wide open as the camera lens will allow)

put your daughter in front of the tree with a lamp on the floor off to the side but nearer to the camera

focus on her eyes

have fun, enjoy the holidays
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Old Dec 6, 2005, 3:10 PM   #3
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I think you're after a difficult shot. Here's my understanding of the situation. I'm sure someone more knowldgeable will correct me if I'm wrong. When you got the star-like affect from the Christmas tree lights, it was because those lights were over-exposed. This is what you would expect with a dark scene that had point-sources of illumination.

Now, to expose your daughter's face adequately, you will need to illuminate at least that part of the scene enough that the lights will no longer get over-exposed. They willl just look kind of boring in the background.

You might be able to get the dark tree, overexposed lights, and a properly-exposed view of your daughter's face if she is old enough to hold one of those battery-powered candles. Have her sit in front of the tree and hold the electric candle. Using the light from the candle to illuminate her face, take the picture. This may keep things dark enough to over-expose the tree lights.

I would use aperture-priority. This means that you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. Set the aperture to as wide-open as you can, and adjust your ISO to as fast as it will go. You will have as fast a shutter speed as you can get, then. This will help limit the motion of your daughter. Use a tripod for the shot, so you aren't adding motion. That may be about as good as you can do. At least it seems like a reasonable place to start your experimenting.
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Old Dec 6, 2005, 7:02 PM   #4
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Do you have a decent photo editor? You can take the pic of the girl standing in front of a solid color wall and then cut/paste her in front of the tree. It's always best to get the photo right 'out of the camera' but this my be another option.
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Old Dec 6, 2005, 9:55 PM   #5
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I'm not familiar with the camera, but if it has a 'night portrait' mode or something similar, you could try it. Camera should be on a tripod or other stable base. The flash will give good exposure for baby, and the shutter will remain open long enough to get the effect you are after for the lights. You may need to take a couple test shots to get it just rught.

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Old Dec 6, 2005, 10:46 PM   #6
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I tried to post earlier, but for whatever reason it does not appear here... but I agree that this is a challenge...and I think the 4 seconds that your baby would have to be still is near impossible. Any movment from eye blinking, hand movement etc, will blur that given part of the photo (if you shutter is open for 4 seconds as you mentioned)

I recently did the same with my newborn (6 months) and while pleased with the results, I understand it is a challenge.

Not being familair with your camera, is there a star filter that you could use to make your lights still appear like a star (cross filter, star filter whatever) or you could add them in photoshop, (though I am not familair in doing it, I did read somewhere of a tutorial regarding it) This way you can have an open aperture, and quicker shutter speed, while maintaining the star feature that you like

Just and idea ...good luck, let us know how you made out!!
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