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Thread: Photographing an Engagement Party

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    Member justin105's Avatar
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    Photographing an Engagement Party

    Hey all!

    I am going to be photographing an Family's Engagement party in the new year. I have an SB-700 flash with Nikon D7000 and my two lenses 50mm F/1.4 and 18-200 3.5-6.5.

    I was wondering what should i be using to photograph the night. Not to sure where it is going to be at most likely a hall or something of some sort.

    What Lens and setting for the Flash and camera.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks

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    Practice.
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree with Darren. Practice, Practice, Practice.

    We could tell you to use bounce flash, and give you a heap of settings, but the best way to learn is to get the camera out, put the flash on, take photos, stick them on AP and ask for advice on the results. Learn from that advice, and practice again.

    There is no "do this" solution. Like above, we could say learn how to use bounce flash, and you turn up at the hall to find the ceiling is dark wood and about 20 feet up. You need to learn a heap about flash photography, and then put all that you have learned into use. Shooting an Engagement Party is hard work for pro photographers, so as a beginner, you need to apply yourself to learning as much as you can, between now and the party. And spend as much time as you can practising, so you understand how light works, and how it works with your camera settings.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Hey Guys,

    No worries. I guess ill just set the flash to TTL Mode and take it from there. I will have to get a lot of practice in. Hopefully I can get enough to do the Engagement party well enough!

    Thanks

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    For what it is worth I recently did 2 large party gatherings and ended up settling on the following settings.

    Gear used: Nikon D7000 with Tamron 17 -55mm f2.8 lens and Nikon SB800 flash. (you could use the 18-200mm lens for versatility).

    Don't forget to have a pocket full of batteries and plenty of memory card with you.

    Camera set in manual mode with "AF Assist" set on.
    ISO = 800 used for maximum light depth for short (5 feet) to long (20 feet) shots.
    Shutter = 1/200 sec
    Aperture = f8 used for good DOF
    SB800 flash set on TTL mode.

    When I was shooting groups close to the camera I bounced the flash of the roof/walls and the flash pop-up reflection card.
    When shooting large groups a little further back I pointed the flash at the group and used the flash diffuser lens.
    When shooting over longer distances I just pointed the flash at the subject.

    I hope the above is helpful and suggest you use my settings as a guide for a starting point. As said above, set your rig up and practice as much as you can. I am sure you'll succeed on the day.

    Good luck and happy shooting.
    Cheers
    Darey

    Nikon user, Thick skinned and wanting to improve, genuine C & C welcomed.

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    Hi,


    It does take a lot of practice.

    If possible, I would try to borrow another body and pair your 50mm with one and have the 18-200mm w/ flash on the other. You should be able to shoot without flash with the 50mm (you will be shooting with a small DOF so you will need to focus well).

    In regards to a 'place to start' flash setting to learn on, this is what I would recommend, assuming you are short of light (i.e. indoors, night time etc):
    ISO: 800 minimum
    APT: F/5.6 (basically as wide as you can go on your 18-200mm so that you can keep a single value for all zoom lengths)
    SHU: 1/80s (make sure you turn VR on)

    I would be careful (no offense!) with a base setting of 1/200s for a shutter speed and aperture of F/8, although without knowing the available light it is difficult to know. With this I would be concerned that you will find that the exposure is 100% flash whereas what you want to do is actually balance ambient light and flash. You need to be careful with focusing, but I think it is more important to draw in that ambient light. With regards to shutter speeds, you really want to go as low as you can before you start to see ghosting or 'two exposures'. You will need to put it onto a big screen (i.e. computer) to notice this, hence why you need practice.

    A quick test I use if I want to check is to take a test shot with my flash off, and see what comes up on the screen. This will give you an idea on how much of your exposure is ambient vs flash. Note that if you start to push low shutter speeds you need to be aware of this in regards to people moving.... if the ambient exposure is not lighting up the people you should be ok as the flash will freeze them regardless, but if you have a lot of ambient light you might start to have a problem.

    The general concept for bounce flash is pretty simple; then it is just a matter of lots of practice.
    Last edited by Cadnium; 21-12-2011 at 12:46am.

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    If you really want a starting point, iso800 to drag in ambient light, f5.6 is usually more than enough dof, 1/100s with or without flash and I'd shoot manual, including manual flash starting at 1/4 power and adjust from there to 1/2 or 1/8 etc

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    As far as lens the 18-200 as the 50 will be far too wide most of the time

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    Definately have the camera in Manual.

    It is a bit personal choice and experience with the flash... I personally set the Camera to Manual, flash to E-TTL and then use exposure bracketing as required. I find this gives me more freedom to move my bounce head around when at an event. I haven't really tried putting the flash into manual as-well due mainly to fear of making mistakes and missing 'the shot'

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