Scary Graduation

BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
edited June 15, 2016 in People
Hello everybody,

I did a Graduation shoot 3 days ago with the students shaking hands with the principal . 500 students in .....50 ish minutes.. I thought that I had everything under control and was ok with having a few bad pictures but it turned out that 20 pictures out of 500 pictures were total trash . Im upset and trying to understand where I failed. I used a Canon 7D AV 7.1 ISO 100 ( maybe not enough )I used the spot auto focus with a 70- 200 Canon 2.8 Lens . It looks like sometimes the shutter speed went down to 1/40 or up to 1/400 ????? I didnt want to use AUTO but around the end of the shoot I had too . bare in mind that I could barely look at my screen more than 1 second before taking pictures of the following students...I started shooting at 6:30 PM San Diego time to 7:15 PM the light was changing but didnt have time to adjust the camera as the last students were flying down the stairs to meet the principal . Also the pictures aren't always super sharp ????

http://www.bountyphotographie.com/Clients/Graduation-test/


Help :bow:bow:bow
:photo
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Comments

  • MitchellMitchell Registered Users Posts: 3,503 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    "Shoot first and ask later"

    I don't know where to begin when you talk about your f stop down to 1/40. Were you qualified to take these graduation photos? These students deserved better. It's sad that you are now asking for basic help after you just took 500 graduation photos.
  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    Wow!!!! way to go Michell. How would you like people to talk to you like that when you ask for help ?
    FYI I shot a graduation before and didn't have that problem because location and set up were different .
    Anybody willing to answer my question without killing my at first sight .
    :photo
  • MitchellMitchell Registered Users Posts: 3,503 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    So 4% of your photos are blurry and "total trash". Are you asking if someone here can fix them for you? There is no way to fix a blurry photo.

    Do you want an opinion of how you should have taken these photos?

    Why did you shoot at ISO 100? That was your first mistake if the evening light was fading. Your blurry photos were likely from your slow shutterspeeds with that lens. 1/40 is just too slow in that situation. You should have set your f stop and shutterspeed where they needed to be and then use auto ISO.
  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    Not asking how to fix blurry pictures I know when really blurry nothing can be done.
    I started to shoot at 6 PM it wasn't dark at all , matter of fact most people in the bleachers had umbrella because of the harsh sun , that's why I had 100 ISO.
    I usually use a higher ISO during the evening and stop using A ISO a while back when a "pro" told me not to.
    Some pictures were 1/125 and still not really sharp but students were rushing and perhaps the lens didn't focus fast enough ?
    However in this case since I had no time to adjust my camera I SHOULD have used A ISO I agree with you.
    AS far as Fstop and shutter speed are concerned I wanted Fstop at 7 because that's my lens sweet spot and since the shutter speed adjust automatically my mistake was not to use the A ISO I guess

    Thank you for replying
    :photo
  • MitchellMitchell Registered Users Posts: 3,503 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    Isn't that lens sharp wide open at f2.8? I probably would have shot at f4 just to be safe. That would have helped your SS a great deal.
  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Administrators Posts: 14,197 moderator
    edited June 6, 2016
    ...Graduation shoot 3 days ago...
    You might want to double check the date in your camera. I clicked the info button and the date taken is shown as 2015-12-04.

    --- Denise
  • SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    First, Mitchell is normally a very supportive guy. Something about your post set him off a little. It's happened to me. :D

    Now as to your question. On the surface it looks like operator error. I would totally disregard any findings of the sweet spot being exactly f7.1. Set your fstop based on the situation. In this case f7.1 seems fine. I would have probably used f8 or f11 since light wasn't an issue although the images I saw didn't seem to suffer from any DOF issues.

    I use a Canon 5D III and would have used iso 200 or 400. You won't be able to see any quality difference between iso 100 or iso 400 in this type of image and it will give you a faster shutter speed.

    What metering mode did you use? Spot metering can really upset settings in aperture priority depending on whether the spot falls on a black spot or a white one. Also why not use manual mode? Faster and nothing changes. Even if the light begins to change and you don't compensate immediately the image exposure will be consistent and easy to adjust in post. I would also use an on camera flash for some fill.

    You do have to wait a little bit for the IS to lock on. If you shoot to fast the images will end up with camera shake.

    When shooting something like this I will speak to the officiant handing out the awards / diploma and ask them to look at the camera and pause for the photo. If on the first one they fail to stop and pause I will tell them to stop! I didn't get the photo! This stop and pause will become routine and not really take up any time.

    That's all I got for now.

    Sam
  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    Mitchell wrote: »
    Isn't that lens sharp wide open at f2.8? I probably would have shot at f4 just to be safe. That would have helped your SS a great deal.


    Thank you
    :photo
  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    You might want to double check the date in your camera. I clicked the info button and the date taken is shown as 2015-12-04.

    --- Denise


    ooops meant to do that ...forgot again Thanks Denise
    :photo
  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    Ok let me use capital letter to answer
    sam wrote: »
    first, mitchell is normally a very supportive guy. Something about your post set him off a little. It's happened to me. :d SOME PEOPLE HA HA HA I KNOW MITCHELL FROM DGRIN AND I KNOW HE IS A GOOD GUY
    now as to your question. On the surface it looks like operator error. I AGREE NEVER SAID IT WASNT ME:}}}i would totally disregard any findings of the sweet spot being exactly f7.1. Set your fstop based on the situation. In this case f7.1 seems fine. I would have probably used f8 or f11 since light wasn't an issue although the images i saw didn't seem to suffer from any dof issues. SOUND GOOD
    i use a canon 5d iii and would have used iso 200 or 400. You won't be able to see any quality difference between iso 100 or iso 400 in this type of image and it will give you a faster shutter speed.
    SOUND GOOD I USUALLY USED A ISO BUT STOPPED LAST YEARS WHEN I WAS TOLD NOT TO USE IT ETC ETC ETC.. What metering mode did you use? Spot metering can really upset settings in aperture priority depending on whether the spot falls on a black spot or a white one. EVALUATING METERING ONLY also why not use manual mode? Faster and nothing changes. Even if the light begins to change and you don't compensate immediately the image exposure will be consistent and easy to adjust in post.I RARELY USE MANUAL AS I PREFER AV MODE BUT MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK . WAS AFRAID THAT THE BATTERY WOULD NOT LAST WITH FLASH BUT THOUGHT ABOUT IT.you do have to wait a little bit for the is to lock on. If you shoot to fast the images will end up with camera shake. COULDNT WAIT STUDENTS WERE FLYING
    when shooting something like this i will speak to the officiant handing out the awards / diploma and ask them to look at the camera and pause for the photo. If on the first one they fail to stop and pause i will tell them to stop! I didn't get the photo! This stop and pause will become routine and not really take up any time. WE DID THAT BUT STUDENTS DIDNT REALLY LISTENED AND WERE TOO EXCITED ANYWAY. IM THINKING THE THE DIFFERENT COLOR GOWN MIGHT HAVE CONTRIBUATED TO MY SS PROBLEM
    that's all i got for now. Thank you very much

    sam

    THANK YOU SAM
    :photo
  • FoquesFoques Registered Users Posts: 1,951 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    this reminds me of this "everyone likes truth" meme...
    Arseny - the too honest guy.
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  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 6, 2016
    This kind of fast-paced event really requires full control; I'd have shot manual (so I could choose shutter speed and aperture) and, since it's terrific on the 7d, used auto ISO to adapt to any changing light conditions since it sounds like it was outdoors at dusk. The 7d is fine at 1000,.1600, and even 2000 if the exposure is spot-on, so there's no reason not to push it up, especially when using a long lens.

    On a crop sensor, I like to keep shutter speed on the 7d above 250; higher iso will allow that.



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  • SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2016
    Ok let me use capital letter to answer
    Originally Posted by sam viewpost.png
    first, mitchell is normally a very supportive guy. Something about your post set him off a little. It's happened to me. :d SOME PEOPLE HA HA HA I KNOW MITCHELL FROM DGRIN AND I KNOW HE IS A GOOD GUY
    now as to your question. On the surface it looks like operator error. I AGREE NEVER SAID IT WASNT ME:}}}i would totally disregard any findings of the sweet spot being exactly f7.1. Set your fstop based on the situation. In this case f7.1 seems fine. I would have probably used f8 or f11 since light wasn't an issue although the images i saw didn't seem to suffer from any dof issues. SOUND GOOD
    i use a canon 5d iii and would have used iso 200 or 400. You won't be able to see any quality difference between iso 100 or iso 400 in this type of image and it will give you a faster shutter speed.
    SOUND GOOD I USUALLY USED A ISO BUT STOPPED LAST YEARS WHEN I WAS TOLD NOT TO USE IT ETC ETC ETC.. What metering mode did you use? Spot metering can really upset settings in aperture priority depending on whether the spot falls on a black spot or a white one. EVALUATING METERING ONLY also why not use manual mode? Faster and nothing changes. Even if the light begins to change and you don't compensate immediately the image exposure will be consistent and easy to adjust in post.I RARELY USE MANUAL AS I PREFER AV MODE BUT MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK . WAS AFRAID THAT THE BATTERY WOULD NOT LAST WITH FLASH BUT THOUGHT ABOUT IT.you do have to wait a little bit for the is to lock on. If you shoot to fast the images will end up with camera shake. COULDNT WAIT STUDENTS WERE FLYING
    when shooting something like this i will speak to the officiant handing out the awards / diploma and ask them to look at the camera and pause for the photo. If on the first one they fail to stop and pause i will tell them to stop! I didn't get the photo! This stop and pause will become routine and not really take up any time. WE DID THAT BUT STUDENTS DIDNT REALLY LISTENED AND WERE TOO EXCITED ANYWAY. IM THINKING THE THE DIFFERENT COLOR GOWN MIGHT HAVE CONTRIBUATED TO MY SS PROBLEM
    that's all i got for now. Thank you very much


    THANK YOU SAM

    Flash: If the camera is set for a good exposure the on camera flash will only use low power for fill. You could look at the new Goprdox V860Xc with a Li-ion battery, or try a battery pack for your Canon flash. Even if the flash will only last for 1/2 have the recipients you can tell them you need 3 minutes at the half way point to change flashes or batteries. HO you could also set up an off camera flash with two flashes operating in tandem.

    If your camera lens has IS and auto focus you / we / must wait whatever time that takes, 1/2 second, 1 second, 20 seconds. The point is if you try and shoot faster than your gear can keep up you can not get good results. You could up your shutter speed and use a fast non IS lens to speed up the cycle time. I have shot similar award type situations and even after speaking with the award giver should a recipient try to run off have held my hand out and said stop at an appropriate volume. If they are too excited and keep going, no photo, but typically the award giver catches on pretty quick and hold them in place and tell them to look at the photographer.

    The point here is without being overly aggressive or obnoxious you MUST take control. You and your gear have limitations you must work within those limitations.

    Sam
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2016
    I will say that at my daughter's graduation on Saturday there would have been NO opportunity to change batteries and there's no way they would have paused, regardless of what the photographer said, Sam. They had two photographers in different spots - one to catch the handshakes, and one getting them as they came off the stage. I was too far away to notice I'd they had battery packs or not; I'm assuming they did although it was Lifetouch, so who knows.

    Bounty, ya gotta know your gear and your skills for an event like this; sounds like some attention to technique would be a good investment of your time so that if you ever do anything like this again you know what to do...,

    Sent from my HTC One M9 using Tapatalk
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2016
    FWIW, here's a shot of the photographer at my daughter's graduation. As you can see, they are sprinting the graduates across the stage, and there's no way that there would have been time to pause (the rest of the line was behind them and there were no gaps of any kind - they actually had two announcers so they could give each a break without taking a pause in reading the names). Can't tell if the official photographer is using a battery pack or not, but he is slinging two cameras, so it would have been easy to switch if needed................

    FWIW, this was shot at 200mm, 1/250, f3.5 ISO 3200 on a 5d III. If I'd been shooting on my 7d (which I still have and use), I'd have probably been at iso 2000, and risked dropping the shutter speed to maybe 1/180 and hoped. I can guarantee that, with my hand-holding skills, some of them would have had motion blur even WITH IS.
  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 7, 2016
    There was plenty of light and most pictures were shot at 1/125 7.1 without any problem yet some were shot at 1/40 7.1 with same set up at AV mode .
    I believe that the different color of the gown contributed to the problem.
    Higher ISO or AUTO ISO would have fixed that I guess ..( the funny thing is that I used to swear by AUTO ISO for years and changed my mind last December :}}}} )
    I shot graduation last year but it was overcast and everything went just fine .
    I really thought I was prepared and imagined all type of eventual problems including extra batteries, flash card, camera with lens attached with me .
    I shot the day before to prepare myself for the worst shooting a friend model (wearing same color clothes for 30 + pictures ) and everything was just fine.

    Ive been shooting for a while now and usually correct the problem right away but in this case it really hit me since I couldn't view my camera screen .
    Anyway I didn't include the "bad" pictures on my website and parents who are buying are really happy and love the pictures (at least that whats some parents told me )

    Thank you
    :photo
  • FoquesFoques Registered Users Posts: 1,951 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2016
    I don't understand why you would shoot 1/125 at 7.1.. this makes no sense.
    1/125 is too slow for nearly any type of action unless you supply extra light, and shoot rear curtain.
    Arseny - the too honest guy.
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  • kdogkdog Administrators Posts: 11,680 moderator
    edited June 8, 2016
    Foques wrote: »
    1/125 is too slow for nearly any type of action unless you supply extra light, and shoot rear curtain.
    Rear curtain sync buys you nothing in this circumstance and can even be detrimental. The ONLY time you want to use rear curtain sync is for artistic effect when doing long exposures combined with flash. It makes motion blur of your subject from the ambient light appear in back of the moving subject image frozen by the flash, instead of ahead of it. You don't want any blur at all, so you still need a fast enough shutter speed in most circumstances.

    The only way to eliminate ambient-light motion blur with a slow shutter is to illuminate your subject with a flash exposure greater than two stops over ambient. And that's unlikely in this environment.
  • MitchellMitchell Registered Users Posts: 3,503 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2016
    He took down his examples, but I think he had enough ambient light here to not need a flash. A flash could have been helpful for these pics, but as noted before, there would be logistical issues taking 500 photos in quick succession with a flash.

    In the end, he just made a mistake by not accounting for the changing lighting conditions and allowing the camera to compensate by slowing shutterspeed below what was necessary. A wider aperture, manually set shutterspeed at 1/250 along with auto ISO would have prevented the problems.
  • FoquesFoques Registered Users Posts: 1,951 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2016
    kdog wrote: »
    Rear curtain sync buys you nothing in this circumstance and can even be detrimental. The ONLY time you want to use rear curtain sync is for artistic effect when doing long exposures combined with flash. It makes motion blur of your subject from the ambient light appear in back of the moving subject image frozen by the flash, instead of ahead of it. You don't want any blur at all, so you still need a fast enough shutter speed in most circumstances.

    The only way to eliminate ambient-light motion blur with a slow shutter is to illuminate your subject with a flash exposure greater than two stops over ambient. And that's unlikely in this environment.

    touche'.
    I didn't have my coffee when I was typing that. thank you :)

    Mitch, I wasn't promoting a use of flash in this situation. Just mentioned the overall idea.
    Provided that "light wasn't an issue" I fully agree. I'm just baffled that a person hired to do work like this couldn't troubleshoot a basic user error, I suppose.
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  • BountyphotographerBountyphotographer Registered Users Posts: 413 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2016
    it made sense to me then 7.1 AV mode which was SS 1/125 and there was plenty of light and the pictures seemed just fine .
    Mitchell is right Auto ISO was the way to go and perhaps I should not have been so obsessed with my sweet spot f stop 7. 1
    Again, last year I didn't have problems but was using a wider aperture and yes Auto ISO....I know I know
    My problem is that I keep changing my mind and am ALWAYS trying to do something different to improve the quality of the pictures and usually its not a big deal because I have time to change my mind about the set up but in this case I was stuck shooting with no time to focus about the set up .


    Thanks again for the comments

    In this case a "basic user error " wasn't that easy to troubleshoot I didn't have time 500 students in 50 minutes ......
    I know its really easy for people in general to point the fingers saying "I wouldn't have done that ........." but most people do stupid thing not because they are ignorant but because they werent thinking straight at the time.
    :photo
  • divamumdivamum Registered Users Posts: 9,021 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2016
    Shutter speed is safest at 1/focal length as a rule of thumb. On a crop sensor, like the 7d, add some just to be sure. So with that combo, 1/250 would be the speed at which one could reliably handhold. Because the lens has IS, you could go with 1/200, and probably get away with 1/160. Anything below that would require a steady hand and concentration even with IS; in my opinon, 1/125 is pretty much asking for trouble unless you're being SUPER careful, taking time to brace yourself and your elbows, and shooting slowly and methodically (others may have steadier hands than m and thus happier at lower shutter speeds; I personally am not). Given the circumstances, I'm guessing that "taking your time" wasn't an option, thus the shots lost to motion blur.
  • FoquesFoques Registered Users Posts: 1,951 Major grins
    edited June 8, 2016
    basic knowledge of the gear would already suggest that it is a bad idea.
    I get missing the shots, hell I do that all the time, 10 years down the road. I was referring to being unable to determine why in my troubleshooting comment.

    But then again, I do technical support, so whats common sense for me isn't common sense for a good 90% of people these days.ne_nau.gif
    Arseny - the too honest guy.
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  • michaelglennmichaelglenn Registered Users Posts: 442 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2016
    Okay Bounty! Here is what went wrong and why: This is all criticism so please take it lightly

    First mistake: Shooting in AV mode with changing light outdoors at a very narrow aperture.

    When you shoot in AV mode, especially as the sun starts to go down, you do not want to shoot at f/7.1. You wouldn't want to shoot at f/7.1. The higher the f-stop, the less light is reaching the camera. The sun is going down, so your f-stop is locked in at 7.1. The camera compensates by lowering your shutter speed to get more light into the camera. You have to shoot fast moving subjects.

    Fast moving subjects + slower shutter speed = recipe for disaster.

    Second mistake: Shooting at an f-stop of 7.1.

    You lose out on depth of field here. Everything is sharp, but what really matters is the subject getting the diploma. Shooting at a shallower DOF such as f/2.8 would have gotten you nicer photographs as well as the story unfolding for the student recieving their diploma. More of the background is blurred and you are capturing the moment. And guess what? It's a win-win for you because you would be able to shoot at a high shutter speed to capture the moment without worrying about getting blurry images!

    Suggestions:

    1. Learn your camera.

    - As harsh as that sounds, it's true. Practice shooting in manual mode with models/subjects. Don't shoot in AV or TV mode. Understand why your images come out blurry or sharp. Understand why a wide aperture such as 2.8 creates more of a blurred background than f/7.1. If you knew this, then you would have known why things went awry when shooting in AV mode. It may seem tricky at first, but once you get down manual mode, you will be a much better photographer all around. You will never need to use a shooting mode and you'll be able to shoot confidently without worrying about your settings.

    2. AF Servo

    - There is an autofocus mode called AF Servo. You may be able to set it to a certain button in your camera. This autofocus mode allows you to shoot subjects in fast motion (such as a subject running, jumping, or walking fast). I barely ever miss moments that are fast paced when shooting in AF Servo.


    Please do not take anything I said to heart. It's only to help you grow as a photographer. And just because you messed up on a few shots, just know that you can learn from it and you'll have that much more knowledge going into the next fast paced event. Good luck dude!
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  • SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2016
    Michael,

    Let me back up a little bit here. You are focusing in on the f-stop and stating that the error was using 7.1.

    I must disagree. The object is to use a shutter speed that is fast enough for the subject / situation / movement. The second part of this is to use an aperture that will provide a DOF sufficient to obtain a sharp image from front to rear of the subject. (could be more or less depending on artistic intent) Lens focal length and distance to the subject will effect the DOF portion of this puzzle. ISO is one component to achieve the above.

    There is no magic camera, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lens, or subject distance.

    One needs to understand these elements and choose each setting accordingly for the situation at hand.

    Personally in these types of fast moving situations I will choose the setting with the widest margins possible. IE smaller apertures, faster shutter speeds, higher ISO ( as needed).

    Sam
  • reyvee61reyvee61 Registered Users Posts: 1,877 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2016
    Wow quite a lot of feedback but since I specialize in low light flash-less photography here is what I do and it gives me 99.9% success rate every time.

    Assuming that this was an indoor grad.

    I use the camera's built in meter to meter light off of the most illuminated subjects, usually faces as in the example that Diva posted.

    Set the camera to spot metering at 800 ISO or higher in aperture mode with the aperture set to your choice but quite frankly for long shots I never flinch at shooting at f/2.8 to f/4 and have to worry much about range of focus.

    While I meter off of the faces I pay attention to the shutter speed variances from face to face.
    With those numbers in my head I then switch over to manual and lock in my settings so the missing setting could range from 1/100 to 1/250

    This can all be done prior to any students accepting their diplomas as there's always people on stage.

    It only takes seconds

    I shoot the whole event with those manual setting in RAW and worry about such things as dark areas in post.
    Using Lightroom it's easy to sync to all for such adjustments as shadows and black point.

    I have a thing about blown faces which is the primary reason I use this method plus I rarely miss a shot even with stage performances and concerts.
    Hope this is helpful
    Yo soy Reynaldo
  • FoquesFoques Registered Users Posts: 1,951 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2016
    Sam,

    I am not sure why you're disagreeing with Michael on this one. While in general, the logic you have provided is right, in this situation it is pretty obvious that 7.1 was a glaring error.

    The environment OP was did not require that kind of aperture. the shutter speed needed to be increased, thus opening the aperture would be required. I fully agree with Michael int hat 7.1 was a completely unnecessary
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  • reyvee61reyvee61 Registered Users Posts: 1,877 Major grins
    edited June 9, 2016
    Foques wrote: »
    Sam,

    I am not sure why you're disagreeing with Michael on this one. While in general, the logic you have provided is right, in this situation it is pretty obvious that 7.1 was a glaring error.

    The environment OP was did not require that kind of aperture. the shutter speed needed to be increased, thus opening the aperture would be required. I fully agree with Michael int hat 7.1 was a completely unnecessary

    I'll piggy back on this and say that I'd never attempt f/7.1 in any indoor lighting situation without the aid of flashguns or strobes.
    But I'd never disturb an indoor event with such a thing either
    Yo soy Reynaldo
  • SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited June 10, 2016
    reyvee61 wrote: »
    I'll piggy back on this and say that I'd never attempt f/7.1 in any indoor lighting situation without the aid of flashguns or strobes.
    But I'd never disturb an indoor event with such a thing either

    Hi,

    Since you specialize in low light photography without flash would you be willing to share your website with some indoor flashiness event photos?

    For most indoor event photos I use flash and just about everyone else I know uses flash so it would be interesting see your results without flash.

    Sam
  • SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited June 10, 2016
    reyvee61 wrote: »
    I'll piggy back on this and say that I'd never attempt f/7.1 in any indoor lighting situation without the aid of flashguns or strobes.
    But I'd never disturb an indoor event with such a thing either

    This was outdoors with gobs of light. :D

    Sam
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