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Old Dec 12, 2010, 2:09 PM   #1
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Default tips for shooting a graduation

Hi I was just wondering if anyone here had any settings advice for shooting a graduation in a gym I only have a 18-55mm and a 55-2000mm nikon lens but I also have a sb600 flash I just know someone on this site will have input thanks the graduation is my girlfriends college graduation
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 2:20 PM   #2
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Well - you'll definitely want to use flash - are there stage lights or just gymnasium lights? That will drive your settings - but you'll want to shoot manual exposure, around 1/60 f6.3 and either ISO 400 or 800; flash on TTL. Shoot RAW so you don't have to worry about the WB. The important thing is to get in the best position - you really need to be within 75 feet and you'll need to plan for a position based on where lines are going up to the podium (so people aren't blocking you) and so you get your girlfriend's face - so if they're walking up on both sides you'll need to know which way she's walking so you get her face rather than the back of her head
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 2:21 PM   #3
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Oh I forgot - you'll want to use a flash bracket. Unless you're within a few feet or you can bounce the flash, you'll have red-eye with a shoe mounted flash after 15 feet or so.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 2:28 PM   #4
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I think its just gym lights and I don't know how close I will be to her cause from what she has told me the spectators sit on the bleachers and the sit in chairs on the court but im gonna give it my best try to get some good shots for her and her parents
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 7:41 PM   #5
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I have only shot that style a little so this is a newbie's experience. i had a telephoto with f/5.6. the room looked dim. oh boy, was i worried. i stood at the back, at least 25 rows of seating between me and the stage. 6400 iso, monopod and just hoped i wouldn't look too bad. i knew my shots would be better than the nikon guy using built in flash from 50 feet. i was usually doing manual focus so i wouldn't get caught hunting at a critical moment.

i shot raw+jpg and that was my only hitch. i ran out of space unexpectedly on my card and didn't have a spare at that time. my backup body was a small p&s so i took general pictures with that.

advice? take lots of pics. it's her friends graduating too. get a couple of pics of everyone that goes up for an award. get some of her sitting and laughing. if she touches her hair, you should get that too. i really doubt if your flash will be useful until after the ceremony so be prepared for high iso and potentially low shutter speeds. and have a backup camera in your bag.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 8:38 PM   #6
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I have 2 extra cards in my bag I have a 8gb in my camera and 2 4gb in my bag and I plan on taking lots and lots of shots for her at least she understands if they don't come out perfect but its good prac for me I think to shoot this
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 8:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombz View Post
I have 2 extra cards in my bag I have a 8gb in my camera and 2 4gb in my bag and I plan on taking lots and lots of shots for her at least she understands if they don't come out perfect but its good prac for me I think to shoot this
so true. be prepared to orchestrate the poses too. she may not be thinking about friends that will be gone forever at the time, but we know it'll happen. so ask her to grab her bff's or the coffee crowd or something that is unique to her school life. if she had a fav teacher, try to get them together. if you're at her actual school, get her locker or special seat she sat in at the library to study. lunch room. stuff that is now in her past.

i'm a great believer that photos are memories. so tech quality is important, but lesser quality is fine if it captures the moment for later.

and then back up these photos very carefully. my niece graduated last year, i gave her all the photos. but just recently she asked for them again! no sweat. i even have the raw in case i get around to doing photo editing a bit better.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 8:51 PM   #8
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Well its a college graduation and she is graduating next week instead of in may with most of her friends lol but I def have to get shots of like her and then after like her and her family I think its gonna be great prac for me
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Old Dec 15, 2010, 5:43 PM   #9
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Shooting this graduation fri anymore tips/advice
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Old Dec 16, 2010, 6:12 PM   #10
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Good luck! Take LOTS of pictures, and squeeze the trigger, don't pull it. Have fun, it will seem less like work, and you will get some great shots.
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