View Full Version : Camera Settings

12-10-2017, 6:17pm
I have not used my Canon 550D for a long time. I have to attend aFestival in a Church Hall. I want to take some good photographs with mycamera of mainly the people attending and also the performers. I have twolenses that came with the camera. I also have a Canon Speedlight 580EX11I will be using a Tripod as I am 76 years old and my hands shake a bit. Iwould like to know the settings I should use on the camera. I normallyhave it set on Auto but if you think it would be better on a different settingplease advise me. I would appreciate help also with the Flash what wouldyou suggest.
Thank you I would appreciate any help I can get. The function if theevening of the 14th Oct.
Cheers Perry

12-10-2017, 6:21pm
Perry, I changed to text color as grey on grey was indistinct.

To your question. For a start, you could still use Auto with the flash.
Go to the venue and try to simulate the lighting conditions. Maybe a subject or
two to help. Try a few shots and post them up.

12-10-2017, 6:56pm
do you know much about this church hall?

Some places do not allow you to use flash
Also what is the ambient light levels like in the church?
Do they have lights? What sort? (fluorescent for example)?
How big is this hall, is it a small venue, or are we talking a hall the size of a basketball court or larger?

Can you get access before the 14th to take some test shots ?

What are the two lenses you own? As a beginner are you comfortable using manual mode?

Once we have more pieces of the puzzle we can assist further.

12-10-2017, 8:16pm
Hi Perry. Daytime or nighttime? Have you seen the inside of the hall yet? In particular, is the ceiling white or light-coloured? (If you are going to be using flash, this is a really important question.)

In decent light, you can use pretty much any mode you are comfortable with. (Av, Tv, manual, or auto). You will get the best results with Av if you know how to use it confidently, otherwise auto might be safest. (Someone will come along shortly with far more detailed advice than you can absorb in two days, unless I miss my guess.)

If you need flash, do this:

(1) Set the camera to M (manual). Select any moderate shutter speed and aperture settings. If in doubt, start with ISO 400, f/8, and 1/200th shutter speed.

(2) Point the flash up over your shoulder at the ceiling. (Yes, pointing away from the subject - you want nice gentle light illuminating the whole scene, which you will get by bouncing the flash off the ceiling behind you - not harsh flash shadows and ugly red-eye from pointing it at the subject. Also, you will annoy people less.)

(3) Press the shutter. You have a modest camera and (probably) nothing very special in the way of lenses, but that 580EX flash is a very serious professional unit. It has bags of power, and it's very smart. It will figure out correct exposure for you in most cases, adding exactly the right amount of light, and you'll get a great result.)

Practice with it tonight: a little experimentation and you'll be looking good. The best of luck with your project!

(PS: Rick, odds on the lenses will be an 18-55/3.5-5.6 and either a 75-300 or a 55-250/4-5.6. Most Canons kits with two lenses use those, or something similar.)

12-10-2017, 8:26pm
do you know much about this church hall?

Some places do not allow you to use flash
Also what is the ambient light (http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showlibrary.php?title=New_To_Photography:All_About_Light) levels like in the church?
Do they have lights? What sort? (fluorescent for example)?
How big is this hall, is it a small venue, or are we talking a hall the size of a basketball court or larger?

Can you get access before the 14th to take some test shots ? No

What are the two lenses (http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showlibrary.php?title=New_To_Photography:Using_different_lenses) you own? EF 75-300MM, EF-S 18-55. As a beginner are you comfortable using manual mode? I would prefer you to suggest the best quality photos I will be able to supply. When I trained young Chefs I would instruct them by the book. I would be asked" How would you do it" If I loaned you my camera and asked you to take the photos, what setting would you use? The Festival I am attending, is an Indian Diwali Festival. The Hall would have the lighting that you would expect in a Country Town lighting.
I want to be able to take photos that I can send to my local News Paper. I make a Chocolate Cake for the Editor and she puts in a photo & write up. With My EF 75 300 I want to take Portrait photos of the beautiful ladies. The Organizer is going to announce that I will be taking photos for the paper. My wife will be taking names of the people so that if the Editor needs them we can provide them. I am going this as a favour as the Organizer is a friend of mine.
Cheers Perry

Once we have more pieces of the puzzle we can assist further.

Mark L
12-10-2017, 8:52pm
^And the world of professional photographers creating good photos continues to decrease.
Good luck Perry. :th3:

12-10-2017, 9:56pm
.... I would prefer you to suggest the best quality photos I will be able to supply. .....

Impossible(task) other than yourself, no one would know this. Knowing the conditions that the photos would be captured under helps(indirectly) to gauge their absolute quality, and hence how large they can be reproduced.
The main issue and what makes this an impossible question to answer is simple, how do we assess 'best quality'.
To explain this in chef's terms .. you make a nice meal costs about $10 for someone to purchase and consume. Using your own judgement, you make this food 'best quality' .. upheld to a standard that you are happy with.
on the other hand McDonalds also makes food. $10 buys a few burgers at their premises. By my standard, this food is inedible. (I assume that by your standard the same may be true too). But McDonalds is the largest food retailer in Aus, so there are many more people that accept McDonalds as 'best quality' .. where I(at least) can't even accept that it's food at all!.
Best quality is such a variable term, that it makes any answer to the question posed open to debate.

.... When I trained young Chefs I would instruct them by the book. .....
While many book on photography exist, there is no one or even any books that can instruct you on how to shoot for a given situation. They can offer guides or some assistance, but this is only relevant if the conditions in which the photography shoot is known before hand.
This is why some photographers get paid for a shoot. Their experience(just as any chef's experience) will almost certainly achieve good images on the day if the conditions are not known before hand. Books can be fun, or a source of inspiration, to read ... but don't make a photographer.

... If I loaned you my camera and asked you to take the photos, what setting would you use? .....
Give your camera to 6 people and 5 of them will probably find 15 different ways to do the shoot, and the other one will fumble with the controls of the camera .. even figuring out how to set it to auto mode! :P
Once again as the first question .. it's hard to answer the question due to the combination of variables that are yet pretty much unknown.

The answer to the Halls' lighting as "lighting that you would expect in a Country Town lighting" .. is not an answer, but the multiplication of a variable. 4 distinct variables equals 16 possible answers, multiply those 5 variables with additional variables and the answer to the original question is compounded dramatically again from the 16 possible outcomes.
Once again to put this into a more plain human readable context .. how long is a piece of string!

The only piece of usable info so far provided has been that you want the images for use in the local paper.
This is good! :th3:
Back to the first question at the top of this reply .. it doesn't answer the question exactly, but as the use is for the local paper, I'm sure that the high ISO ability of the 550D will suffice in terms of quality for their use.

As you haven't provided an answer as to the expected light levels, ie. day night, sunset, twighlight .. etc. we can only assume the worst here and imagine later evening into night.
If I were doing it, I'd forgo the flash. Worse than incorrect white balance is un-balanced light.
That is mixing sodium vapour lamps with flash .. unless you don't mind martian like green faces and other hideous anomalies like that.
This is why the question came up about what type of lighting in the hall is important! It's extremely unlikely their using Xenon light sources, so the use of flash could be more harmful than helpful .. especially at high ISO(if it's an event at night).

I'd just use available light, as it's an event where the public can attend, you'd expect more than adequate lighting for those attendees to be able to see .. if you can see, then the camera can also see.

So set camera to Auto ISO and to it's maximum value. Maximum value will be ok, as the local paper arent' going to print a full page spread of the images at 300 DPI !!
I think papers used the good old value of 72DPI for their prints. So from that we can deduce that the level of quality is minimal and that the issue that most photographers revolve around(being high ISO noise in the image) is not likely to be an issue.

Now we have high ISO as a setting for the camera, and we know your lens selection is 18-5 kit and 75-300 kit, both being slow aperture lenses, now shutter speed will be an issue.
I can't imagine that a tripod will be of any use for an event where you are taking photos of people, as it's impractical and an imposition to set up a tripod near people with other people around.
So if you want/need a tripod more than likely it'll be a remote setup(ie. away from the crowd itself and not posing a potential tripping hazard to others(being a potential night time event) .. etc.

Note that as you may guess here , every variable adds a lot of variability to the other variables and compounds the issue(as said before).

But we know that you prefer the tripod and to be on the safe side, you're best option is then to set it up away from any crowds .. so the better lens to use will be the 75-300 as you are now more than likely away from the people you're trying to take photos of*unless you want wide angle impersonal images of groups of people only.
So the new variable now is do you want closer in, more intimate single images of people, ie. proper portraits .. or candid portraits? Do you want more general wide angle entire group shots of the whole event. I assume this is what the paper will expect to see/use as they're more interested in the crowd attendance .. unless there is a single personality that people are interested in(ie. a leader/celebrity/etc).

So have the tripod setup somewhere out of the way, make sure it's clearly visible so that the crowd avoid it. use the 18-55 to mingle within the crowd for a variety of image types too.
As you already mentioned being shaky, we assume camera handling will require some shutter speed! :th3;

Another fixed variable to work with.
18-55mm lens handheld should be fine at 1/60s - 1/100s unless the crowd is moving rapidly(eg. dancing/running/shipping/skateboarding/etc).

Tannins suggestion of manual mode, can be good, but I think the wrong one for this shoot.
I'm thinking your issue will be shutter speed, so I'd be more inclined to suggest Tv mode, to maintain a shutter speed. This will almost totally ensure that aperture will remain at the most open setting for added light capture, if the conditions are dark.
We already have ISO set to auto and maximum ISO value so that shutter speed is guaranteed. So the exposure triangle is now set(and forget) .. except, if you then mount the longer 75-300, even on a tripod .. you will want a bit more shutter speed even tho it's on a tripod.
The shutter speed range I would use is about 1/100 - 1/200s, and more so for the movement of the crowd more so than for the added security of self generated motion blur.
1/60s at 300mm is almost sure to get motion blur due to subject movement and inability to track perfectly. 1/200s should be ok to work with.

So we have 3 camera settings.
Tv mode : Shutter speed at 1/60s or so for the small lens, 1/200 or so for the long lens : Auto ISO.

We have more variables tho! Best camera set to use is raw mode(CR2 I think on a Canon). it's not for the absolute quality that this allows, it's mere for the ability to adjust white balance when the colour of the images is going to be wildly out of kilter!
Something that seriousy affects image quality is, compounded quality issues! Add lots of high ISO noise grain to a badly white balanced image and people will notice it .. more than a good white balanced image with some noise reduction made to the image.
So set camera to Auto white balance(because we have no idea on what standard town lighting is like) AND set image quality capture to raw/CR2.

This reply will take up three of these pages with the rest of the camera setup possibilites, covering autofocus settings and metering settings, and drive mode settings(but use the fastest frame rate possible and shoot like mad!!)..

So the quick and simple reply end up looking like this for camera settings:

Tv mode
AutoISO mode, maximum value for ISO
No flash, and no onboard flash either. ISO will take care of exposure.
Shutter speed range around 1/60 for the small lens, 1/200s for the long lens
White balance to Auto
Image quality to raw/CR2.
Shooting speed to as fast as in can, and drive mode to continuous .. and use it. Shoot at least 3x the number of images for each scene.

Do you have software to review the images?
You will need it, plan for it ... do it now!
I'm guessing DPP will be enough to get the images to the paper.

- - - Updated - - -

^And the world of professional photographers creating good photos continues to decrease.

We don't blame the carrier pigeon for doing what it was trained to do when the news is bad, and we don't the car for causing so many deaths on the roads worldwide.

So why do we blame the amateur/hobbyist photographer for the decline in photography standards?
Makes absolutely no sense!

If a gripe is to be vented, it should be vented at the parties responsible for the decline in the goodness of photos .. that is ourselves as a collective.
If 'the people' think that amateur photography is all that's needed for a specific event and the expected quality will suffice, then blaming the photographer is going to achieve nothing!

13-10-2017, 6:44am
I would prefer you to suggest the best quality photos I will be able to supply. When I trained young Chefs I would instruct them by the book.

And Perry, thanks for you directing me to what you want. But consider this.

I want to make a cake, you are on the phone. You have no idea what room I am in, what equipment I have, what skills I have, what ingredients I have. Like you gave us. You do know, I have a bench (camera) a couple of knives (lenses) and some eggs (flash). How are you going to instruct me on how to make this cake? Firstly you would need to ask me questions to find out what resources I had at my disposal. No use telling me to get wholemeal self raising flour.. If I don't have any. No use telling me to use the electric mixer, if I don't have one? I trust that by using your own analogy, you now understand why you are being asked questions.

If I loaned you my camera and asked you to take the photos, what setting would you use?

No idea. Not until I saw the location, the ambient lighting, how far away the people I wanted to photograph would be from me. Taking photos is like baking a chocolate cake, there are hundred of recipes out there and which one you use and what quantities of each ingredient you use vary dramatically. There is no. set the camera to this, use this lens answer. Not until you know more about the assignment. Why do you think Wedding photographers visit the church before the big day, they visit the location of the reception etc as well? To scout out the locations to help determine what the environment is like and then work out what gear and settings they would use.

Now perhaps instead of directing others to tell you what you want, you actually read what we asked, and thank us for the help and guidance we are providing you. After all there is one way you will get good photos, and it does not involve you telling us what to do. You may be 76 years old, but as a Chef you expect your young chefs to listen and learn. Perhaps consider that here you are the young chef? Eh?

Because there is one way you are sure to stuff up the photos, and that is by telling others what to do.

13-10-2017, 2:31pm
Thank you all for your help & suggestions. There has been some very interesting reading. No wonder it takes years to become a Professional Photographer. I am going to go to the event early so that I can do a trial run. I am going to take the same shots at different settings. Once I consider which is best I will leave it to the Camera & Flash.
Thank you very much for your help & advice.
Cheers Perry

13-10-2017, 3:32pm
I am no expert in flash photography because what I shoot never needs flash but it is pretty basic how it works, the flash produces enough light to correctly expose the scene relative to the setting you have on your camera


If the hall is anything like most halls, and I had to punch in settings with little knowledge of what I was in for or doing or how a camera worked I'd tell someone to

bang it in M mode

dial in 1/150 sec shutter if subjects are stationary this will allow for a "not so strong" flash (the higher the shutter speed or higher the appeture number the stronger the flash will need to be (strong flash equals bad obvious was that a lightning strike we just saw??)

if they are moving around dial in 1/200,

Dial in F5.6 this will also result in a "not so strong" flash if your lens has a lower number than 5.6 like 4 or 2.8 dial that number in

Whack ya flash in ETTL mode

that should get you correctly exposed shots wiythout having to worry about shit is this gunna work or do I know what I am doing???????

Thats what I'd be telling you

16-10-2017, 9:50pm
So Perry, how did you go? It is now two days post shoot. Would be interesting to hear how you went after getting all the advice from members.

17-10-2017, 7:49am
G'day Ricktas,
I was writing a reply to you and told you about the Diwali Festival. I wanted to send you photos. I did not know how to send them. I went to the FAQ to find out and now when I came back my reply has disappeared. We are having torrential rain here and I have to go and help a old lady who has a problem with water getting through her windows. I have to go. When I return I will retype my reply and hopefully send photos. About lunch time I hope.
Cheers Perry

Mary Anne
17-10-2017, 9:46am
Perry your reply would have been saved.. When you got back on to Reply on the lower left side you would have seen Restore Auto-Saved Content
If you had clicked on that, what you had typed would have come up. Good to know for the next time. Looking forward to seeing what you post later then.

17-10-2017, 12:38pm
I am back. Please could somebody direct me where I can post some of the photos I took on Saturday.
Cheers Perry

17-10-2017, 12:40pm
Perry. How do you wish to post them - as attachments on here AP, or as links to some hosting site like
Flickr, Photobucket?

17-10-2017, 1:17pm
G'day ameerat42,
I just want to post them to this sight so that those people that helped me can see them. They can give me some advice as to what I could have done. As a matter of interest. The one legged tripod was only an el cheapo. I found it difficult to adjust the camera as I had to keep turning and tightening the screws. I have seen a tripod head on eBay for about $30. I might ask the forum if they think it would be worth me buying it. Also I have lost am fingers on my right hand and am not able to use the shutter button. I have a lead from the camera to a switch I use which can be a bit of a pain at times.
Cheers Perry

17-10-2017, 1:51pm
OK Perry. It sounds like you want to just upload them to AP as attachments.
The Library article is a bit old with its illustrations, so here's a thumbnail guide.

First of all, to post images to AP there is a size limitation, as...
Maximum file size of 400KB
Maximum image pixel size of 1200 (pixels) per side. The format can be 1:1, 3:2, 4:3,
16:9, etc, etc, as long as it does not exceed the 1200 mark.

You have to make sure you re-size your files in the likes of Photoshop, Elements, etc
before you upload them as attachments - for which, see below...

1. When you start a new thread you are in the "Advanced" editing window.
If you are posting a "quick reply" in a thread, even one of your own, you can
click the "Go Advanced" button for the Advanced window.

2. Once there, look along the first row of buttons for the "'paperclip-looking"
button, which displays the word "Attachments" when you mouse over it.
Now click this button to open the...

3. "File Upload Manager" window. Now click on "Add Files", select one at a time
up to a maximum of 5 per post, and then click "Upload". A thumbnail will appear
both in the "Home" pane, and then also in the "Attachments" pane.

4. Once in the latter pane you can click either "Insert inline" or "Done". This will
attach your image to the post.

If you are having trouble finding the "Attachments" button, look at the
old Library page here. (http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showlibrary.php?title=How_Do_I:How_to_post_and_link_your_photos_into_forum_threads)

17-10-2017, 4:57pm
G'day again,
Still torrential here. I am pleased as I cannot work outside. I have spent hours at the computer trying to work out how to resize photos. One I cropped of a Sheik with blue eyes was too large. It was not too good as it was cropped as I wanted a close up of his eyes. It is the first Indian I have ever met with blue eyes. I do not have Photoshop but know now how to resize photos.
Thank you for your really informative help, my brain was almost boiling over but I got there. I have attached 4 photos at random. Have some I think turned out better than I normally take.
I am going to start a new thread about asking about a one legged tripod after.
Cheers Perry

- - - Updated - - -

This is the blue eyed sheik.

- - - Updated - - -

G'day ricktas,
I will re write the message I started this morning. The photo shoot went off really well. I used a one legged tripod so I did not get in anybody's way. I have but all the photos onto a CD disk and gave them to the paper Editor, She was pleased with them. It will save the paper money as she did not have to send a Photograph. Channel 7 was there and there is going to be a bit on our news tonight. I had the camera set on Auto and the flash pointing toward the ceiling. I should have used my telephoto lens more I think as most of them came out better than the smaller lenses. I found trying to position the camera on the tripod was annoying as I had to keep screwing to tighten the adjustments. I am going to post a new thread on asking advice on a tripod fitting after. Please look at the photos and tell me what you think. Any advice will be appreciated.
Roads are flooding in the area. On the news a 67 year old drove through a flooded road and died. I thought at his age he should have known better. I should be attending a meeting in town this evening. I sent in an apology. I think it safer to stay home and read a book.
Cheers Perry

17-10-2017, 5:16pm
Perry. Preliminary remarks before fuller critique.
These are not to bad at all. I'm working on some relevant comments and questions
while attending to other things.

I'll get back to you...

Mary Anne
17-10-2017, 6:29pm
Perry I think you did well good on you :2encou:
I will leave the help you want to ameerat42 as I am not a people shooter only wildlife and the smaller the better.

17-10-2017, 7:09pm
OK, back to it, but I was busy in your other thread, so this is shortened some...

1. Did you have your camera set to Auto throughout? If so, it did a pretty good job.

2. There are a couple of "obvious" things to be aware of: watch your backgrounds,
like the slanting brickwork in a couple of pictures, and "things that get in the way",
like the heads at the dancer's feet in the first shot. Then too, check your framing.
In the "two girls" pic, there's too much room above their heads and their bodies are
somewhat truncated.

3. As a Q only: how are you with image editing software, like Photoshop, Elements,
Lightroom, etc? Are these pictures straight from the camera as jpegs, or did you
process some raw files. This is just to gauge your PP (post-processing) level. There
is a goodish bit you can "correct" in these shots, but for now that will do.

To reiterate, generally quite successf:th3:l.

18-10-2017, 4:38pm
G'day ameerat42,
Thank you for your reply. Yes I had the camera set on Auto all the time. I have an old Photo Program called Microsoft Picture IT that I have used for years, mainly to crop photos. You cannot buy the program now.
I have taken on board what you have commented on and will think about the shot in future before I click the shutter.
Cheers Perry

18-10-2017, 4:45pm
Phew! Ta for that info. I checked it out (had only heard about it) and found that the last version, V10,
was released in 2005!! The following year a name-changed version came out.
--But as long as it has the basics, I suppose. Meantime, getting the pics you got the other night is
a step forward:th3:

20-03-2018, 7:17pm
Heeey there you know that I want to be able to take photos that I can send to my local News Paper. I make a Chocolate Cake for the Editor and she puts in a photo & write up. With My EF 75 300 I want to take Portrait photos of the beautiful ladies. The Organizer is going to announce that I will be bet on football matches (https://bestfootballbettingsites.org) taking photos for the paper. My wife will be taking names of the people so that if the Editor needs them we can provide them.