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Thread: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

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    Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Ok, so I got this really odd request from a friend to take some pics at a funeral. I have no photography background at all other than happy snaps. She is fully aware of this but still i would like to do a good job at it. I think i am quite good at composition, though it may be too arty for a funeral?

    Can you guys suggest some basic ground rules to follow when shooting indoors for me to fall back on. ISO, shutter speed, etc...

    I would really like to shoot it all in black and white, yet to be confirmed. Is it ok to shoot colour then desaturate it in post so I can have the best of both, or is it better to just shoot in b/w setting?

    What i have to play with is my gh1, stock 14-140kit lens, contax zeiss 28 + 35 f2.8 and a contax zeiss 50 f1.4. I was thinking of just bringing the kit lens for super wide shots and the 28 and 50.

    Any hints/tips much appreciated.

    cheers.

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    You could shoot B&W and color together. Two different ways:

    a) RAW + jpeg. The jpeg could be set to B&W and you still have the color RAW file if you indeed need a color version. (Not sure what software you use)

    b) Multi Film mode. You can set the camera to use two different "films" and it will literally make two different jpegs one in color one in B&W. Best to look at the manual for the settings and play around a bit because the camera will feel a bit more sluggish at it is working on both shots (It may even take more than one shot - one for each film mode - I forget exactly how it works)

    I agree that you should take one of your faster lenses because the indoor lighting might not be great for the 14-140 which isn't a speedy lens.

    If you start really having to creep up to high ISO levels B&W is generally your friend. I would probably use Auto ISO up to 1600 but remember on the contax lenses the camera will drop to 1/30 of a second before bumping the ISO and that may be too slow a speed and you will want to either raise the shutter speed (going into manual mode) or simply raising the ISO and leaving it in A mode to get a higher shutter and stop the motion from people).

    If you are nervous that there a too many things to set, you have flash available if the light levels are low. The hard part on giving advice is the indoor light levels can be really good with daytime and lots of windows, or be horribly dark.

    Final thought, if you are shooting jpegs, you should consider doing a custom white balance to make that one less thing to worry about.

    Post back if some of these suggestions don't make sense or need help implementing.

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Tech stuff first....
    Use raw...this will give you the options after to decide color/b&w...
    ISO from 400-800, your camera will handle that with ease...
    The zoomie will be your best choice as you will more than likely be in a confined space...

    The nitty gritty...
    This is an emotional event. Do not use flash under any circumstances...you can't draw attention to yourself... best reason for the zoomie...

    Try to stay invisible..be understanding of everyone's loss and if asked not to photograph by a certain person, drop it, move on...

    Be patient as there will be no high activity going on, you have time to capture the essence of the event...

    Unfortunately, I have done hundreds of funerals for fallen soldiers and the best advice I could give you besides the above is...
    have compassion, this is not about you...it is about your presence.....

    Shooter

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Thanks guys.

    I'm going to have to look up that dual function TEB. I've been shooting manual with this camera ever since i got it...haven't touched the auto settings at all. I kinda feel more connected with the camera in doing so if that's an odd way of putting it. Good tip on setting WB. It's one step i forget to do a lot of the time. How does one easily go about that, point the camera at something grey in the room and set?

    Great advice shooter. yeah being tactful is my main concern. I'm also concerned about drawing attention with the shutter noise too. Distancing myself is probably the best way i guess. Would a contax vario sonnar 35-70 or 80-200 be worth getting for something like this? They are about the same in speed as the kit lens. Is image quality noticeable between that and the kit lens?

    Never shot raw before, first time for everything. What raw programs do you guys recommend?

    And thanks again for your inputs.
    Last edited by MRfanny; 6th December 2009 at 14:40.

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    The lens issue.....I think you already have what you need.
    I use PS4 & LR for everything.....

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    one super last question. Is it normal to try and limit your max iso and then play around with your shutterspeed to compensate or the other way around? I understand going too slow will blur but is there any issues with going too fast?

    thanks

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Faster means higher ISO under similar light conditions and aperture settings. You will usually want to avoid that. Higher ISO means higher noise. Sosme cameras less or better than others, but still.
    I agree silence is a key here. And don't get too close.

    Good luck.
    "You live and learn; at any rate you live" (Douglas Adams)

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    thanks. how low should I limit shutterspeed to hand held? A quick play at home indoors with 1/30 shutter at 500-640iso on the zeiss 25mm @ 2.8 shows decent results. I have to try alot harder to get the same results on the kit lens though.

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Hi, MRfanny,

    that largely depends on you ! Snipers shoot better than the common mortel.

    My own rule of thumb is to use a shutterspeed that is shorter than the focal length used. Example, shooting with my 85mm handheld, shutterspeed shorter than 1/100 sec, adapt iso accordingly.

    Hope this helps,
    Rafael
    E-M1/GH2/G1 Full Spectrum & lots of lenses
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/f6cvalk...th/9226689839/

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Just letting you all know that the day went pretty well. I shot a few pics with the stock lens and wasn't really happy so I threw on my primes. I dunno, I think I just don't have enough patience to really see what the kit lens can do.

    Was shooting at 1/80-1/100 SS with ISO varying from 250-500. I thought these speeds would reduce motion blur as there was alot of movement all day. Was I right to shoot at these speeds, could I have gone lower? Lenses were opened at 2.8 and 2.

    My white balance was off. Thank god for shooting in raw, a format that I have never shot in before. Where have you been all my life...lol. Editing the pics gave me a clearer understanding of what colour temps I should be using for certain scenarios.

    There were soo many shots I wanted to take but I had to restrain myself. Positioning is another important thing I learnt. got caught out a few times just because I didn't know the routine/schedule. Should have followed the cameraman =) Shutter noise proved to be a nuisance sometimes during speeches. Would have to sneak in a shot whenever there was a loud noise or change of speaker.

    All in all it was a great experience to have under my belt. The more I shoot the more I learn. There is an art to events shooting which I can appreciate more now. Wish I could share some pics with you guys. Thanks again for all your input.

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    MR fanny,
    where are you located?
    Don

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    Re: Beginner - quick tips on taking pics

    Hey Don.

    I'm located down under..lol, Melbourne Australia. Just had a look at some of your warriors watch riders pics. Some really interesting characters there.

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