I have been asked to do a shoot for a friends surprise birthday party. Aswell as couple/family and general candid shots their is also going to be a disco which I assume will be generally dark with some funky lights.
My question is what setting should I be looking at starting with to capture reasonably clear pics without eliminating the essence of the darkness and disco lights??
I foresee I will be using my
Canon 5D MkII
24-105mm (have a Sigma 50mm f2.8..?)
Any advice would be appreciated
For the party (assuming that's relatively well lit) I'd keep my ISO as low as possible and use bounce flash for pleasing light on your subjects.
When it comes to the disco, I'd suggest you raise your ISO up considerably. Take some test shots and see how the level of noise is at 1000, 1200, 1600 ISO, etc. Keep going until you hit the ceiling for acceptable noise. This will significantly improve your shutter speed, which should help to eliminate motion blur. Having said that, you could make blur a feature of some photos by using a rear curtain sync.
Wide aperture glass will also be a bonus. If you have a Canon 50mm f/1.8 MKII, or faster, that would be my weapon of choice. If the Sigma f/2.8 is the widest aperture lens you have, then go with that. You'll just have to be a bit sneakier getting the candid shots at close range. I'd also try and stop the lens down as much as I could too, as shooting wide open is going to give you a shallow DOF, perhaps too shallow in some cases making focus that more critical but, at least you have the option of going to f/2.8 if required.
I'd probably shoot in manual mode too, as the camera's meter is likely to be thrown off by constantly changing disco lights. Take a few test shots until you're happy with the exposures. Then just leave the settings the same, as it should remain constant thereafter. Continuous focus mode will probably be a good idea too as people will be dancing around.
If you have a ring flash adapter, like a rayflash or similiar, those can be pretty effective. They give a nice wrapped around to your subject, whilst leaving the background relatively unaffected.
Finally, If you don't already, shoot in RAW for the added benefits of shadow and highlight recovery in post processing.
I think amk1977 has got it covered, but I'd just throw in that, having seen the 5D MkII at very high ISO, I'd have no problem setting ISO1600 or even 3200 - giving much more flexibility. Even ISO6400, allowing hugely faster shutter speed, would work well enough for party action.
Thanks for the advise, much appreciated. The only thing I'm not ofaye with is the rear curtain sync so I may have to do some "Google-ing".
hi canon uses flash as fill in so in av mode it can put in a slow sync. i know with my 550d in the custom functions i can limit my flash speed to 1/60 -/1200, not sure about the 5d so you may have to use tv or manual mode. look at this link for more info
In most flash use, the flash happens at the start of the 'shutter open' time. If your subject is moving, you'd find that, for example, a dancer is 'frozen' in one point and then the motion blur is gathered for the following movement. Think of a runner - it's more effective to have the runner at the front of the blur - leaving a trail - than at the back - which looks like he is 'pushing' the motion blur ahead and running into it. Rear Curtain sync will allow the camera to capture a little motion blur and [I]then[/I] freeze the action.
Similarly, think of a car's lights - you want a trail of light behind the car, not for the car to run into.....[URL="http://nikonasia-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1935/~/difference-between-front-and-rear-curtain-flash-sync-modes"] this page[/URL] seems to describe it reasonably well.
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