The Regatta Committee (of which I am a member) decided to host a fund raising fashion show at the town's 'poshest' hotel and I was informed that I was to take the photographs.
My normal regatta duties are Chief Gofor and taking photos of events for use in the next year's programme and I don't mind doing that.
I did try to point out that I don't do that sort of thing; 'I'm more of a bugs and boats man' but they wouldn't listen.
So I took my 40D with Canon 24-105 lens plus the 580 EXII flash unit. But I would like to hear how other people would have dealt with this scene.
I tried a few prior flash tests and although the large room had a low white ceiling there were numerous lights, circulating fans, etc so bounce flash seemed a bit unreliable for most purposes. If it had been just taking some carefully positioned and posed shots, with time for thinking and checking of results, that would have been a good strategy.
This photo, straight from camera without any enhancements, shows the general scene
The models enter from the left and wait a few minutes in a group while they are announced (which was a good opportunity for a couple of quick group shots). The 'catwalk' then proceeds to the right around people sitting at tables. Then back towards me which gave a very quick walking towards me opportunity. They then turned right and walked around tables in the main area before walking towards me again through a small entrance with potted plants on either side. Another opportunity for a quick moving target.
In view of the fact that I had to keep changing angles and shoot moving subjects I decided that hand held with a reasonably high shutter speed would probably produce the most hopeful results. And once the show started there wouldn't be any thinking time.
So, after a couple more test shots I opted for Shutter Priority (Tv) at 1/160 with ISO 100. ISO 200 might have been better; but I knew that I would get significant background noise problems at ISO 400 or higher. Auto Focus with just the centre focusing point. Evaluative Metering. The flash was TTL setting.
This produced an aperture of F4 which I thought might be a bit small but I didn't want a sharp and conflicting background. Although the 24-105 lens can be a bit soft when wide open.
I started shooting Raw but after the half time break, I realised that I would run out of card capacity (I had spare batteries but no spare card) so I switched to Jpeg for the second half.
Fearing possible over exposure problems, I moved the shutter speed to 1/200 but after a few shots I thought that I was still getting a high over exposure risk; like this photo (again straight from camera)
So I set the flash for -1/3 then after a few more images I also dialed in -1/3 on the Exposure Compensation which seemed to work.
I ended up with 200 photos, which I have only just started editing. The later Jpegs appear to be usable although some are a tiny bit on the soft side and I expect that when I get to the Raw images I will be able to make something from them.
This, from my Photo A Day album, is one of the finished photos which I think is just about acceptable.
Although I didn't want to do this shoot, I need to learn something from it. I'm reasonably happy with my editing abilities to work on these photos and produce something usable from most of them.
But what camera settings would other people use? I don't use flash very much, except for insect photos where I use manual camera settings. Aperture and shutter speed decided by the subject and light conditions. ISO chosen to avoid excessive noise. Then Flash Exposure Compensation set to whatever is required.
I'm happy with my macro flash photos and did consider using the same approach here but I thought that as I wouldn't have any thinking time it may be a bit risky and I might end up with 100% failure.