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Thread: M9 and Department store setting questions

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    M9 and Department store setting questions

    Hello!

    My wife belongs to a Tampa women's fundraising charity for some local children charities. They are hosting a fashion event at Saks. I would like to take some photographs of the event to practice.

    So, my question revolves around lens, settings and whether I need to plan for a flash.

    My preference is to not use a flash. I have an SF 24D flash, but using it seems to complicate the setting options. My photographs seem more real without a flash. The store is well lit with plenty of accent incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

    My lens options are the 35mm and 50mm lux ASPH's and the 75mm chron ASPH. I also have an older Noct 1.0, that I could try, but I find the focusing on that one is harder than the others.

    I will try to go to the store in advance of the event to practice. But, any advice would be greatly appreciated, as it would give me a head start.

    Thank you,

    Michael

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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    Doing a fashion shoot with a relatively low powered flash like the SF 24D could be challenging. Most of the runway photos you see are taken with multiple off-camera strobes fired by radio-control. Don't be upset if your photos don't resemble those taken with more sophisticated and complicated lighting.

    I think practicing is a great idea.

    You may be able to avoid using a flash if you only photograph the models when they are under strong ambient light sources.

    Otherwise, here are some things to think about.

    On-camera flash can produce attractive images. The key is to properly balance the ambient and flash contributions. I suggest you you experiment with using the least amount of flash possible. You may already know (in manual mode) that the light from the flash is controlled by the lens aperture and the ambient light contribution is controlled by the shutter. By minimizing the light from the flash, you may be able to get the best balance between ambient and flash light.

    The SF-24 D supports TTL automation on many M and R bodies. I would use the flash in manual mode so I could control the ambient/flash ratio myself. However there may be TTL settings that let you minimize the flash power as well. I would start with a shutter speed of 1/125 and an f-stop of 4. I would adjust the flash power to achieve the look you want.

    If you have to use longer shutter speeds to maximize the ambient light, you can shoot when the models stop walking and pose. The SF-24D is relatively weak at full power so you may need to use your 50 mm lux and get quite close.

    I would bring several sets of spare batteries. I don't know how long the show lasts, but I would plan on up to 4 battery changes. As the batteries get weaker, the time to recharge the flash goes up and this could affect your flexibility as the show goes on.

    Finally you mention the ambient light is a combination of tungsten and fluorescent light. When you add anther color temperature to the mix (flash light) the color balance may really get weird. If you are using a digital camera you should shoot in RAW to maximize flexibility for white balance adjustments. During the practice session I would get someone to hold a gray card at the locations you are most likely to photograph the models. This will help you set the white balance later (assuming the ambient light during your practice session is similar to the ambient light during the show). Fashion photographers just use a very strong flash power to overcome the ambient light and this minimizes white balance issues. I doubt you can do this with the SF 24D.

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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    Sounds like the kind of thing where I'd shoot the 35 lux wide open at 640 ISO. Good idea to make an advance trip and see if you could get away with 320 ISO. If you decide you want to bring a second lens... I'd go with the 75 cron. BTW, I have the same lens lineup (newer version of the Noct) but I'd probably leave it home for this. Be interesting to see what others suggest.

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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    Leave the Noct and 24D at home and bring the 35 (mounted) and 75. Like David mentioned earlier 640ISO should be more than enough so try 320ISO and see how that goes. Definitely custom white balance before the event begins. If you can get there a little early scope out one or two good shooting locations and anticipate where the MC will be presenting from.

    Try and enjoy yourself, event shooting can be exhausting, un-gratifying work.

  5. #5
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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    Hi, if I may jump in here.

    I would suggest that you bring the flash, 'Its better to be looking at it than looking for it'.

    As for White Balance, if you shoot RAW you can leave the white balance until you are processing the images.

    The 35, 50 'lux and 75 are some of the best lenses out there and they are the perfect focal lengths for what you are shooting.

    If you are worried about focusing then stop down a bit even if you have to up the ISO. Remember, it is better to have sharp noisy images than soft noise-free images.

    John

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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    I would like to thank everyone for their advice. Definately glad I asked the group, and I plan to pactice next weekend at the store.

    Michael

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    The 75 cron wide open will let in PLENTY of light. The SF24D won't offer enough light to make a significant difference at further than 10m over the ambient light.

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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    Use the SF-24 for fill. Its main problem is it outputs too much light for situations like yours, but that's easily remedied by manually setting it to the lowest power and taping over most of the head with gaffer tape. I also have gels cut to fit inside the wide angle snap-on to balance it to suit the ambient lighting - I strongly recommend this since the light can be really funky.

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    Re: M9 and Department store setting questions

    I wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions photographing the Fashion fund raiser.

    It turned out the 35 summilux, wide open, with ISO 320 and ISO 640, no flash worked very well.

    This year was different, as the models walked around the store circle and stood on pedestals. Last year the did walk up and down the escalator, which would have been much harder to focus.

    It was also fun taking photographs of the guests, especially with the mannequins intermingled in the crowd. The mannequins were very patient and let me take my time focusing.

    I attached two photos -- one with guests and a mannequin, the other with one of the models.

    Thank you again for all your suggestions.

    -- Michael
    dmabry2010

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