Friday, December 5, 2008

Tis the Season for Christmas Concerts!

With Christmas concert season upon us, I thought I'd give some tips on getting the best shots!

1. GET CLOSE!!!!
If you stand and take pictures from the back of the crowd, your image will look like the one above. Dark and underexposed, because the light from the flash can't reach that distance.
If you are lucky enough to arrive early to get a front row seat or in the first few rows, you are fine. If you didn't, you still want to get a close as you can. Most places have a center aisle, just make your way down to the front, staying as low as possible so you don't block anyone's view. Pop up to take a shot, then pop back down. Once you've got a few good shots, feel free to go back to your seat.

2. Light and Exposure

Unless the concert is at a real theatre with proper stage lighting, there most likely there will not be enough light to get a handholdable shutter speed. One option is to turn the ISO up to 1600, but that is going to make the images very noisy and soft. You could try putting the camera on a tripod, but if the subject moves at all, they will be blurred.
So most likely to get any sharp pictures, you will have to use flash.

Again, you want to GET CLOSE. Standing from the back and using the flash will not get you good shots. The problem with flash of course is that it is very harsh. If you have a ceiling that is low enough, try to bounce the flash. This is what I did in the picture below, and you can see how nice a soft the light is!


1. Use MANUAL(M) mode. Chances are the automatic modes like shutter/aperture priority are not going to give you proper exposure or they will use too slow shutter speeds giving lots of blur. That's not what you want!
2. Choose ISO 400
3. Set the shutter speed to 1/60th of a second or 1/125th of a second.
4. Set the aperture to F8. Yes, by doing this your camera meter isn't zeroed, it's in the minus. That's fine.
5. Pop up or turn on your flash and set it to TTL mode.
6. Take a test shot.

If the image is too bright, use your FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION( LIGHTNING BOLT SYMBOL+/- , found on the camera or under the functions menu) to turn the flash power down. Take another shot, and if the image is still too bright, turn it down more. If you are already at the lowest setting, turn your aperture to a higher number(ex-F8 to F11)

If the image is too dark, use the FEC to turn the flash power up. Take another shot, and if the image is still too dark, turn it up more. If you are already at the highest power setting, turn your aperture to a smaller number(ex-F8 to F5.6) to let in more light. If it's still too dark, turn up the ISO...or GET CLOSER!

By using these settings, you should get sharp images of your loved ones as they bring on the holiday cheer!

Any questions, send me an email!

Happy shooting!


1 comment:

Lisa W. said...

Thanks Noel, going to try this out at K's Xmas show...