THE holiday season is still on and relatives know you’re a photographer, and without any debate, you’re assigned to take photos of family gatherings. Whether you’re trained to shoot in studio, product photography or an ambient shooter, everybody assumes you can shoot events. If in any case you’re caught in this dilemma, here are some tips you can do to get yourself off this mess.
Get an external flash. A family gathering is normally held in an indoor venue and often, the light is just not right. One of the advantages of using an external flash is its ability to redirect the light. Bouncing the flash off the ceiling or the wall will definitely create a professional result.
The idea is to make the light source as big as you can.
An external flash is a small light source but bouncing it on a bigger plane spreads the light and in turn gives you well-distributed soft light. The rule states that the bigger the light source, the softer it becomes.
Setting the camera to Aperture Priority. Rather than using the auto mode, put some controls to your setting and enjoy the semi-auto mode of Aperture Priority. Just set it to the widest aperture, maybe around f/2.8 the most, as f/1.4 is a little slow in focusing and very prone to blurred shots. After setting your aperture, you’re good to go.
You might want to increase your ISO if you’re aperture is limited to f/5.6. Doing this will give you more ambient light in areas not reached by the flash. This type of setting gives you more dimension and depth by capturing details outside the flash range. I normally set the ISO to auto and control the shutter speed to shoot not less than 1/30sec to freeze movements.
Don’t forget to bring extra batteries. Maybe three sets or more will save you from disaster. Don’t wait till your battery is out before you change it. If you notice that the flash is not firing at times, change it. Chances are, your battery is losing its juice and you don’t want to make everybody pose and let them down by making them wait while you change your batteries.
Share your skills. Find out who’s interested in photography and give the guy a thing or two about taking photos. Set the camera and let him test it with the guests. A little compliment and a pat on the back will inspire him to shoot more photos, and in turn, give you time to grab a bite and a well needed breather.
In the end, family is family and photography is photography.
Keep on shooting everyone!
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