Sunday, April 6, 2008

Making great photos in a bar

So we were celebrating a birthday with some friends and I was asked (ok, I proactively volunteered) to document the evening in photographs (be the dork with the camera). We went from bar to bar and all the bars were pretty dark. The technique I used most of the evening was pretty simple:
  • It will be a 1 lens night (Canon 50mm f1.4.) I use the 50 because it can gather lots of light, is small and inconspicuous and the photos it creates have that 'journalistic' 'look'.
  • external flash on.
  • I set the camera to ISO 400 (delivers awesome quality on my 5D and since I was using a flash I didn't have to go to super-high ISO's)
  • manual exposure
  • f2.8 (for razor sharp images, but letting in lots of light)
  • 1/80th of a second shutter-speed (fast enough to freeze the action)
On most Canon DSLR's, if you set the camera to manual exposure and turn on the flash the camera will adjust the power of the flash to provide correct exposure. It's 'manual' with a 'smart flash' - pretty cool.

Here are some of my favorite images from the evening:

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f1.4 lens, manual exposure, f2.8, 1/80, ISO 400, flash is on, flash assist is on, picture style is monochrome with a sepia tone (the sepia tone eliminates the 'snapshot' look of the color flash photo.)

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f1.4 lens, manual exposure, f2.8, 1/80, ISO 400, flash is on, flash assist is on, picture style is 'standard'. [beware the trays of fruity-flavored shots - they taste delicious tonight, but you will pay for them tomorrow.]

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f1.4 lens, manual exposure, f2.8, 1/80, ISO 400, flash is on, flash assist is on, picture style is standard.

This picture was a little different -- I turned-off the flash for this one and switched to 'program.'

Canon 5D, Canon 50mm f1.4 lens, 'program' exposure mode, f1.4, 1/6th of a second shutter-speed, ISO 400, flash is off, flash assist is off, picture style is 'standard' [I clearly should have cranked the ISO to 1600.]

There are other great pictures, but they are 'incriminating' and I can't share them :)

2 comments:

swimlappy said...

I would like to vote YES to see the incriminating photos haha so that we might learn of course ;-)

bob said...

I am interested in learning more of flash technique. Is it best to shoot manual almost wide open to let in maximum light as a general rule. With flash indoors I would not be thinking of depth of field. Is that right? What is the disadvantage of shooting Priority mode with flash.
Thanks,
Bob