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Thread: What Do I Need To Make The Pictures Look Better?

  1. #1
    Rpoints Elite Silhouette
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    What Do I Need To Make The Pictures Look Better?

    I'm trying to take some pictures inside a bowling alley – but for some reason – im not getting any good lighting

    Check the pictures below, the flash highlights the people/objects – and lights the background evenly.








    So why does my flash (Canon 400D) not light up much

    Here’s what I get when I try to take pictures in the bowl (and its not even cosmic night either) But check the background – its just silhouettes



    Should I buy a snap-on Flash… or one of those Macro Ring flashs?

    What do I need to light the room nicely?

    I'm told a diffuser needs to be used to stop the people in the front getting “too much flash” is that true?

    I've seen a nice flash from the US with a built in pull down diffuser for £80 – does that sound good? (link here)

    I might need to take some rather pro looking photos (magazines, emails etc) and we cant afford to shoot the day twice.

    So I thought the 400D was a really good camera… but whats letting me down?

  2. #2
    Contributor ingsy
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    It is a really good camera. But the built in flash is just not up to the job. You'll need an external flash.

    Plus, what lense are you using? You may well need one with a larger aperture to let more light in. Although this will, of course, reduce your depth of field.

    In your picture your flash has lit the people at the front, and then there is no light in the mid-distance, but then you have the lighting of the lanes right at the back - thus making anyone standing in the mid-distance a silhouette.

    Plus - what mode have you got your camera in while taking these pictures? Specfically, what metering mode?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ingsy
    Specfically, what metering mode?
    You lost me on that bit though

    In honesty – im lazy – I only use the Auto mode when taking pictures and macro mode when taking my “pictures for ebay”

    It doesn’t really matter what lens I use – same problem with both

    I have the standard Canon wide angle 18-55 for it – and the Canon 80-200.

    But could anyone recommend some lens for me if that’s the problem.

    I only ask – as my company may be willing to do something in regards of cost – but not a lot.

    I think asking for that £80 flash from the US would be the limit of the request…

    It should only be close’ish shots anyway – but the brucey bonus needs to be people having fun in the background too!

    So I think ill get away with the shooting with the 18-55 – but you’re right – the flash just isn’t illuminating the room!

  4. #4
    Contributor ingsy
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    In that case I'd go for a bigger flash. I can't recommend one as I haven't got one myself.

    The people you're taking pictures of - do you have control of them - i.e. can you tell them where to sit etc? If so, look at putting them in areas that have more light.

    As for camera modes etc I'd put the camera in TV mode, so you control the shutter speed, and I'd increase the ISO level until the aperture is around F8.

    EDIT - If you're using your 18-55mm lense you should probably use a shutter speed around 1/80th to 1/100th.

    As for the metering mode, I would put it into Spot metering mode. More info on metering modes here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metering_mode

  5. #5
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    Yeah – ill have control of them – but for the kids – they are going to be told to have a bowl and have some fun – but if I start shouting – they’ll start crying

    The only problem with finding the light – is that the lanes aren’t very well lit – so it’ll be hard to find a lane with good natural light.

    I could perhaps see if I can get some of those big back box style lights (like in photo studios) ive seen some of them for around £100-120

    Ill have to have a fiddle with the camera and mess around with it.

    But am I right in saying – if I change the aperture rating – that means the shutter speed will slow – as it gets more light… will that not produce more blurry pictures?

    If I do go for a flash to go on the top – so that I don’t OVER light the people in the front – would a diffuser be the way forward?

    Some of the shots might have to be in the cosmic (i.e. lights off and UV lights on) so I may have to light people a bit – but still get that purple glean on people (and make everyone in the background look like they are submersed in a cosmic wonderland!)

  6. #6
    Contributor ingsy
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    A few ideas from what you've said:

    If the kids are bowling, I'd stand a way down the lane next door, and shoot back towards the bowler. Usually bowling alleys are quite well lit where you actually bowl from? You would probably get other people in other lanes in the back ground too.

    As for studio kit - if you'll have room to set it up, and know you'll be shooting the same lane for a while then it's probably worth it - check you can get permission from the alley to set it up though.

    Aperture wise - if you make the aperture bigger (a lower F number) then more light hits the sensor, so in theory you can get a faster shutter speed, so less chance of blur.

    A diffused flash would be the way to go to spread the light out. Canon do their Speedlight range which are apparently quite good, but in the £200+ range depending on model, I believe.

    If you want to shoot in the very dark of the cosmic, I have no idea how you'll do this. If you have a flash powerful enough to light the people up surely you'll lose the atmosphere of the cosmic aspect. But if you don't use a flash then your pictures will come out dark, so I don't know on that one to be honest.

    A good source of info are the forums over at www.photography-on-the.net Might be worth asking this same question over there - a lot of very knowledgable people on there.

  7. #7
    Contributor BrianStanier
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    Really you are trying to do the impossible - the physics is against you. Light from a flash (or any small light source) falls off as the square of the distance. In your pictures the background might be 10 times further away than the foreground figures, so it gets only 1/100th of the illumination. The professional solution would be to light the background separately - perhaps with multiple slave flashes.

    The best that you can do with a single flash at or near the camera is to point it upwards and try bouncing the light off the ceiling. Aim about half to 2/3rds of the way to the furthest point. This needs a very powerful flash and will only work if the ceiling is reasonably reflective.

    Or just accept it as is and declare you're a proper 'arty' photographer and not a mere amateur snapper!

  8. #8
    Contributor chinf
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    I think BrianStanier's given a great explanation, and there's some good advice given by ingsy too.

    My 2p's worth for your background lighting problem: it sounds like you don't have any realistic control over the lighting in the background (short of using remote flashes). You'll need to try a high ISO setting, and as big an aperture and slow a shutter speed as you dare get away with. Effectively you're exposing for the background, and you'll need to tame the foreground flash by (as suggested before) diffusing it or bouncing off the ceiling at 45 degrees; it helps if the ceiling is white, too!
    Why should it be that the fish in the sea are all unable to sing?

  9. #9
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    I might have some control over the background lights, however – some of the scenes (especially with the children) is going to be during the sites Birthday Bash time – and subsequently, I wont be allowed to play with the lights (as they have paid for smoke machines and UV lighting )

    When it comes to the group adult shots – I think ill try the more powerful flash (any comments on the link I posted from eBay?) and bounce it on the ceilings.

    The ceilings are white – so im hoping this will help.

    If I were to set up some slave flashes in the background…. How does that work.

    I assume Ill need a wireless flash trigger – and does that automatically set off all flashes at the same time?

    I think it might be a lot of trial and error going on – so ill probably take my laptop with me so I can take proper looks at the shots.

    But how do you believe the fella has got the shots he has on the example photos?

    Do you think that’s just all the bar lights turned on?

    And as for diffusers – will this stop my ‘front row’ subjects from getting ‘shiny head’ syndrome?

    Ideally – everyone should be equally lit, but I know that’s pretty steep (if not vertical), so perhaps lots of play.

    PS Thanks for everyones posts - im rating as I go - but the 2x 24 hour rule is stopping me - so ill do some more rating tomorrow

  10. #10
    Contributor BrianStanier
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    Looking at the example photos I would say the first two were taken with ambient lighting only. The remainder seem to be lit from the left and above (look at the shadows on the floor and at the white shirt folds) and don't seem sharp enough for direct flash. Maybe a flood or a flash bounced off a large umbrella type reflector? Or possibly even just ambient from a well lit window?

    I've never used them but you could get slave flashes triggered by the light from the master flash. I don't know about wireless - not really up-to-date on photography!


 

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