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Thread: Newbie's first gig!

  1. #1
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    Newbie's first gig!

    Hi all,

    I'm doing my first 'shoot' for a friend at the weekend! I'm still not overly confident with my camera (Nikon D3100) and looking for some tips really!

    It's a Christening, I have permission of the priest but am not permitted to use a flash.

    Tips??

  2. #2
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Hi there,
    Welcome to CiC.
    To help you a little better can I ask what lens you have?
    At what level of experience are you at? I know you are a ‘Newbie’ but are you shooting in Auto mode or have you moved onto manual settings?
    Any other information you can give us will help the other members give you some helpful tips.

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    I shoot in both manual and auto, depending on my mood and confidence level. If I'm photographing my pets and children, I will shoot manual but if I'm photographing something that is very much dependant on my results (sunday!) I'd probably go for manual...but I want to break this cycle, but do not want to miss any important shots.

    I only have the lens that came with it! (see, newbie!!)

  4. #4
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    In tough conditions, I usually prefer shooting manual or shutter-priority modes. Depending on the church, you might have plenty of light, or next to none. Fortunately, people move rather slowly during a baptism. My suggestion would be to run the highest ISO you're comfortable with noise-wise (I try to avoid exceeding 400, but I have a relatively noisy camera) and shutter priority mode (Tv on Canons) at about 1/60. With a reasonably steady hand, those settings should be a good place to start assuming your lens can open up to ~f4.0 at ~50mm zoom. Presumably there'll be a crowd around the child, so you may also want to manually select your sensor's focal point to make sure you're focusing on the child.

    Again, without knowing the exact conditions and your camera/lens combo, it's hard to make definite suggestions. But the above should be a good place to start. I'd also recommend bringing a monopod if you have one.

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    thank you for the tips, I will make not of them

  6. #6
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    You should be able to get a few practice shots before the ceremony to make some adjustments for white balance, and if you plan to use editing software and shoot in RAW this may not be too much of a concern.

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Here's what I use (on my EOS 500D)...

    Never use flash

    Always use shutter priority and set the shutter for around 1/60th second, (about as slow as you can go hand held)
    White balance to tungsten,
    ISO set to around 600 (or higher)

    lens will depend on how close you are to the stage, I used a Canon 28-135mm f3.5-5.6 is usm

    If you are shooting groups that you know and like then you will have an idea of when things are about to get animated on stage, perhaps you will know when there is a guitar solo with the guitarist in the spotlight, be ready, even if you don't know the group that well passages in songs tend to get repeated so if you miss something spectacular listen listen for it coming around again and shoot. Most of all just keep shooting regardless of what your camera says.

    Have fun,

  8. #8
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Sounds like fun! I'm by no means an expert, but here's a few tips:

    1) Write down 5-7 shots that you just have get, and try and walk those shots before hand.
    2) Be mindful of the backgrounds (particularly bright windows if you're shooting from lower angles).
    3) Decide or discuss if your involvement in the event is passive, or active. Being actively involved means it's ok to communicate with the subjects ("a little more to the left..ok..perfect."). In either case try not to draw your subjects out of the scene because you're more likely to get 'posed' / unnatural expressions.
    4) Lastly, don't wear anything that may jingle-jangle around, or heels that will react loudly to wood / stage flooring.

    Good luck, and can't wait to see those pics!

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    Jeff S's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    I know this sounds dumb and is obvious...but remember to charge your battery and have your media card in the camera. I once went for a photo shoot (nothing serious, just walking around) and left my battery and charger in the wall socket. It was a pretty quick photo shoot. Good thing it wasn't a gig. (Now I carry a spare battery.)

  10. #10
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Based on what you have written, you will be shooting with the 18-55mm lens, which is the kit lens that came bundled with that camera. It will be adequate for what you are planning to do. I don't know the D3100, but shoot the D90 and D800, so I do know Nikon cameras.

    1. If you can, scout out the church before the christening, if you can. A good photographer always scouts ahead of time. If there is some kind of rehersal, so you can see where things are positioned, that would be great. If you can, take some shots during the rehersal just to see what you get (at home on a computer, not on the screen on the camera).

    If there is no rehersal, try to get into the church anyways, and find out where the font will be located and the people will be standing. If you can, take a friend and have them stand in appropriate positions so you get some test images with a person in it to review.

    2. Camera settings. Whatever you do, don't shoot on Automatic mode (that's with the green symbol). The camera knows best and will try to pop the blasted internal flash on every time it thinks there isn't enough light. In your shoes, I would shoot using shutter priority at no slower than 1/60th. You will probably want an ISO setting of at least 400, but don't get aboive 800 or you will start getting some noticable noise in shadow areas. If you are not comforatble doing this, then shoot in Program (P) mode and the camera will adjust the shooting parameters accordingly. If it performs like the D90, the built-in flash will not pop up.

    3. A common newbie issue is that they don't get in close enough and shoot too wide an angle. At the 55mm setting, your lens is a short telephoto, which is great for portraits. You don't have to get the whole body in, the head and torso are good. Portrait format is best for two or three people, but if you get a whole group, then landscape format is better. With a group shot, whole body shots are okay.

    Try to shoot around eye level of the subjects (a bit below eye level, a bit above eye level are fine). If there is any kneeling, crouch down to get to the same level as your subjects. You are primarily looking at getting the faces of the people in the pictures, not their backs. Keep the camera level; unless you are deliberately using Dutch tilting. You don't want shots that make the church look like it is falling over...

    Be careful to avoid back=lit scenes; these will fool the camera's light meter and will get you overly dark shots. If you know how to compensate for these shots, great; but I don't know what your skill level is.

    Take a few "establishing shots". The exterior and entrance to the church, the alter, the font, the parents arriving and getting out of the car with the baby, etc. These help "tell the story". Informal shots of the parents, god parents, baby after the christening also add to the story.

    4. Double check your gear; charged up battery, empty memory card (with write protection off). If you have spares, take them.

    I hope that this helps.

  11. #11
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    If you were shooting Canon, I would recommend purchasing a 50mm f/1.8 Mkii lens which costs about a hundred bucks in the USA. However, the inexpensive Nikon 50mm f/1.8 is not compatible with your camera. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G which is supported by your camera is more than twice as expensive.

    All that I can add is good luck. Remember the paramount persons of interest are the Baby, the parents, the god-parents (if there are god parents) and the priest.

    IMO, it is kind of old fashioned to restrict flash in a ceremony like this. Of course, it is the priest who has the final say and I can see why he might make this rule. It would be very distracting to have a bunch of folks with their built-in flash popping off pictures. If you have a hotshoe flash, I recommend that you request the priest to do a couple of posed shots after the actual christening. Bounce your flash and use a diffuser reflector. IMO, correctly and creatively used flash beats the pants off available light in many venues.

    Doing some posed group shots on the steps of the church (if the area is photogenic) is another thought on how to add to the coverage...

    If you don't have a hotshoe flash, I recommend that you eventually consider buying one and buying or fabricating a diffuser reflectoe.. It will allow greater use of your kit lens.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 16th September 2012 at 05:16 PM.

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Thank you all for your great tips, sorry I havent updated before now!

    The day was a bit of a disaster, all the pictures were too dark but thankfully I saved them with Camera Raw!

    I am still not completely sure I did a good job but its practise, which is what I need!

  13. #13

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Awhile back somebody on some thread, not CiC I think, suggested that a newbie should not foul up working in manual becuase they thought it was the professional way to work. Manual is there for when you need to change things out of the normal that AE will handle for you .. there is also programme shift as a modern alternative.

    I would hope, unless you are abnormally sensitive to noise, that your camera will give pleasing results at more than 400 ISO ... it is able to go to 12800 ISO. For computer viewing I know that up to 50% magnification I am happy with 6400 ISO and frequently use 1600 ISO in dark places, while 400 ISO is a 'normal' setting. Different people have different needs so you need to establish what is right for you in various situations.

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    I chickened out of manual actually and shot i auto but without flash they were still far too dark.

    I've had more shoots now and am confident with manual now!

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    Re: Newbie's first gig!

    Hi Orchid This is one I took at Cambridge Folk Fest of Seasick Steve hand held about 50 feet away with a 300mm lens on slight tweaking in Photoshop elements with settings of.

    F-stop: F/5.6
    Exposure time: 1/50
    ISO 800

    Sorry with watermark.

    Newbie's first gig!

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