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Thread: Prom Photography

  1. #1
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Prom Photography

    As a high school senior, I will be attending prom with a group of about seven or eight friends. We have agreed to go to the beach and take "epic" pictures. As a perfectionist, I plan on nailing this photoshoot. I have until May 22 to prep, so I've come to CiC for advice on anything...composition, exposure, lens selection, poses, candids, etc. I am limited to the pop-up flash on my D80, and lenses are listed in my signature. My tripod is older than me, but it is sufficient. Boys in tuxes and girls in dresses. Our schedule consists of staying at the beach from 5:15 to 6:00 PM, about when the sun is a couple degrees above the horizon.

    As for prom, I will certainly be using my 50mm f1.8. I will try to fit all of this on my 4gb Sandisk Extreme III, shooting in raw. My camera tells me 326 shots, and my understanding is that it is a conservative estimate. I only plan on keeping under 200. thank you digital cameras - I'm glad I wasn't born any earlier .

    The girls really like to see nice photos of themselves and their friends, and so do I for that matter . I was the primary photographer at our last dance (on a cruise ship) and I have definitely learned from my mistakes. I let the camera control ISO, and almost every single one of the shots were ISO 800 and exposure was increased by 1 or more stops in ACR. I'll lock on 1600 or 3200 this time - curse you Auto ISO! Of course, the beach pics will all be below ISO 800. When indoors, I almost always bounce the pop up flash off the reflective surface of my iTouch onto the nearest ceiling/wall.


    Off Topic:
    DJs for high schools know that the only music that appeals to most teens nowadays is hardcore rap and hardcore hip hop. Sometimes I wish I was born twenty years earlier . Recently, they've stopped playing Micheal Jackson, the last surviving real music at teen dances (with the exception of slow dance).
    Last edited by pwnage101; 5th May 2010 at 06:24 AM.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    If you plan to shoot in RAW bring more storage media, expect to take three times as many photographs (for those "hey dude take my picture" moments, candid photos are more exciting than posed, and most of all, bring backup batteries. And by the way, try to get yourself in some of these photos, it's your prom too.

    Congratulations!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Hi Troy,

    I agree the camera does give conservative estimates, my D5000 says something like 589 RAW on 8GB (it is 12MP), but I've had over 750, not that I often fill it up - that was Tenerife last year.

    One other thing to consider; I don't know if you have a spare battery - but if not, be careful of chimping too much to delete duffers while there to save memory space on your 4GB, or you may run out of battery juice before the evening ends - especially if you're using pop up flash at full power on every shot (because that's what bouncing it will do).

    I'd practice techniques before hand; I think if you're shooting at 1600 or 3200 and with bounced flash, it may give 'mixed lighting' (colour temp) problems.

    I rarely use pop up flash - I hate the 'caught in the headlights' look, prefering available light shooting, even with slow kit lenses, but you may need to ask the subjects to freeze momentarily and develop a good stance to pull it off without camera shake ruining every shot.

    I'm sure others will chip in with more advice, so I'll wish you good luck with the shoot now ( 'cos I may well forget nearer the time )

    Cheers,

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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    I almost always bounce the pop up flash off the reflective surface of my iTouch onto the nearest ceiling/wall.
    Bouncing off a wall is more likely to give more flattering lighting; bouncing off a ceiling is more likely to give "racoon eyes".

    With regards to the prom / beach shoot, my suggestion would be to beg / borrow / steal an external flash, and rig it so that you can shoot it into a shoot-through umbrella. I'll improve the quality of the lighting by at least an "order of magnitude".

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    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    If you plan to shoot in RAW bring more storage media, expect to take three times as many photographs (for those "hey dude take my picture" moments, candid photos are more exciting than posed, and most of all, bring backup batteries. And by the way, try to get yourself in some of these photos, it's your prom too.

    Congratulations!
    yea i got an extra battery for times like these. I also may go to China during the summer, and having two batteries will help limit the need for a voltage converter.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    y~ I also may go to China during the summer, and having two batteries will help limit the need for a voltage converter.
    I'd be surprised if the voltage needed converting, most chargers are universal (100-230v) these days (at least, they are this side of the pond).

    You will undoubtedly need a pin convertor though (which could be what you meant)
    rcprowe (Richard) has been there (China, I mean) most recently and can probably advise

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 5th May 2010 at 06:42 PM.

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    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Thanks everybody for the input so far!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I'd practice techniques before hand; I think if you're shooting at 1600 or 3200 and with bounced flash, it may give 'mixed lighting' (colour temp) problems.
    Perhaps I can bounce off a homemade printed gel? Perhaps a tan color? Or does it more so depend on the color of the wall?
    Last edited by pwnage101; 6th May 2010 at 12:39 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    With regards to the prom / beach shoot, my suggestion would be to beg / borrow / steal an external flash, and rig it so that you can shoot it into a shoot-through umbrella. I'll improve the quality of the lighting by at least an "order of magnitude".
    Only, this would require that I beg / borrow / steal an umbrella and another tripod
    On the plus side, I can easily construct an oversized diffuse bounce card out of cardboard and paper, and have somebody (bystander?) hold the flash and the board if I need to be in the picture.

    vivitar 285hv + rechargeable batteries + optical trigger ~= $100 USD

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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post

    Perhaps I can bounce off a homemade printed gel? Perhaps a tan color? Or does it more so depend on the color of the wall?
    The two main gels that you want are "Color Temperature Orange" (CTO) which corrects your flash into the range of tungsten lights, and Window Green, which corrects for flourescent. I've never tried making my own, but if you search for "DIY gels" on Google, you'll see a number of options. Try them before the prom.

    The wall color could make a difference, but walls are so often neutral colors, off-white or very light beige, that I don't know if it makes much sense to worry about it.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Re: Prom Photography

    Lighting setups are much cheaper than I expected. Should I get the following combination?

    -6' Lightstand - $20
    -Universal Swivel Holder - $17
    -33" Translucent Umbrella - $10
    -Vivitar 285HV + rechargeables + Omni-Bounce Diffuser - $110
    -optical salve - $15

    Including shipping, the total becomes $177. This would be my first off-camera flash ever.
    Last edited by pwnage101; 6th May 2010 at 03:52 AM.

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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    Only, this would require that I beg / borrow / steal an umbrella and another tripod
    Shoot-through umbrellas cost about the same as popcorn, a drink, and a ticket to the movies. A suitable tripod for use as a light stand about the same as a cheap bottle of wine

    On the plus side, I can easily construct an oversized diffuse bounce card out of cardboard and paper, and have somebody (bystander?) hold the flash and the board if I need to be in the picture.
    You can do - but to be honest, I think you're making a rod for your own back (making life hard for yourself). A flash - shoot-through umbrella - stand (that an assistant / bystander can hold) can - with a little practice - can (with a little practice) give professional / consistent results. I suspect that trying to light subjects with oversized bounce cards is going to be a bit like trying to put out a housefire with a garden hose

  12. #12
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    ....I think you're making a rod for your own back (making life hard for yourself)....
    Well you got that right! Check out my previous post.

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    Re: Prom Photography

    Hi, Troy;

    FWIW, when I started shifting more to off-camera flash, I used essentially that set of components. I had an EX430 that triggered from my EX580, so that was my triggered flash, but I got all the other pieces. As Colin says, it's an order of magnitude jump. You suddenly have two light sources, one of which is under separate control, and is spread out by the umbrella so it isn't so hard. Suddenly your flash shots don't look like "snapshots" any more.

    Same comment as others have made: practice before you're in the hot seat. Put a stuffed animal on a table, and take some shots of it, get a friend to do a quick pose.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Are you considering getting your group to sign model releases? If you plan to use the photographs for anything other than a scrapbook it might not be be a bad idea.

  15. #15
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Are you considering getting your group to sign model releases? If you plan to use the photographs for anything other than a scrapbook it might not be be a bad idea.
    Good idea, thanks! At UCLA I may plan on making a little something extra off photography.

  16. #16
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    Good idea, thanks! At UCLA I may plan on making a little something extra off photography.
    Ah, in which case, the landlords of the releavnt grounds (beach and/or hall) may want a cut, or permission sought (if even possible).

  17. #17
    pwnage101's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Ah, in which case, the landlords of the releavnt grounds (beach and/or hall) may want a cut, or permission sought (if even possible).
    Does this only apply if I am making money off it?

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by pwnage101 View Post
    Does this only apply if I am making money off it?
    Yes, I'd say so

    Although strictly speaking ...

    It would be different for an outsider (e.g. I'd probably be arrested ), but if you're also part of the event, those rules shouldn't apply - but I'm no legal eagle

  19. #19
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    Re: Prom Photography

    Alright thanks for the input, Dave.

    Next question: i'm divided between these two triggers
    http://www.adorama.com/FPRRS8.html - Flashpoint RRS8
    http://www.adorama.com/FPRRS4.html - Flashpoint A22
    I originally wanted the first one (RRS8) because of the non-hot shoe receiver, but I can't think of any possible way to connect it to the vivtar 285hv. I'm fine with the A22 but I didn't want to offset the flash too far from the center of the umbrella.

    edit: see! This 285hv is triggered from the Flashpoint RRS8!

    Care to enlighten me?
    Last edited by pwnage101; 7th May 2010 at 09:11 AM.

  20. #20

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    Re: Prom Photography

    Hi, Troy;

    The 285 does have a connector for a sync cable, but unfortunately it's a Vivitar-specific connector. Included in the box is a Vivitar to PC male cable, but then you'd need a PC female to miniphone female adapter to connect it.

    This cable at B&H will adapt the Vivitar to miniphone male. It would probably work to get this cable, and a miniphone female-to-female at Best Buy or Radio Shack. Unfortunately, the only cable I have for my 285 is the Vivitar to PC male that came in the box, so I can't test it.

    I'm curious: why do you want the non-hot shoe receiver? I use similar triggers, and I use hot shoe most of the time, even though mine (Cactus V4) does have a sync cable jack on the receiver. I'm assuming that the Flashpoint has a 1/4" threaded hole in the bottom so that it will screw on to your light stand. Then you get the mounting for the flash, and the receiver, in one piece. None of the pictures of the A22 show the bottom of the receiver, so I can't be sure.

    Cheers,
    Rick

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