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Indoor Settings for Graduation After Concert Pictures

edited April 2013 Posted in » Canon 60D Forum
Bought my first DSLR, a 60D, and my daughter is graduating with last orchestra concert coming up. I want to take some awesome "after the concert" photos after show out in lobby where everyone is posing. I keep thinking I should not use a flash and have setup where I don't have to worry about that, but I really want great pictures.

Any suggestions? No Flash, with some type of handheld settings? Flash with AV mode, or Automatic Mode? Remember, I'm a newbie!



  • edited April 2013

    I'm old enough to be able to agree with those sentiments, but jlm86 is looking at a one-off occasion, and even if he shoved a dozen rolls through a non-DSLR (or carried several pre-loaded cameras for speed), he still wouldn't know whether he'd got at least one good shot to remember the event by until days later.

    And yes, while my 60D is my fourth digital, it is a beast to master properly. After a year of ownership, I'm probably no more than 25% familiar with it, but I'm loving the experience of learning!
  • edited April 2013
    Hi @jlm86,

    Can't argue with @liontamer and @MisterD, however, I do have some suggestions. I'm not familiar with the 60D, but my ideas will work with most DSLRs.

    To take the guesswork out of exposure, set your camera to P mode and auto ISO. I usually limit my auto ISO to 800; beyond this noise begins to creep in. Since you are going to work indoors I would just leave it on auto.

    Now you need to consider 2 further options (exposure compensation and white balance).

    Is it possible to visit the lobby before the event at roughly the same time as the event is due to take place?

    If so, you can take pictures at your leisure and examine the results on the LCD. If the picture is too dark, then increase the compensation by one notch and take another picture. Do this until you are happy with the result.

    Now review your pictures again, but this time looking for any unusual color casts caused by the lighting. The camera has different white balance settings for indoor light.

    Try these first. Make a note of your final settings (eg. exp. comp +1 - WB fluorescent). I mention this because both these settings remain after you switch the camera off.

    If you intend to do any photography in between you need to return the exposure comp to 0 and WB to what you normally use (probably auto).

    One thing you cannot allow for, however, is anybody else who is taking pictures at the same time as you. If they are using flash all at different times like news photographers, then this can help to ruin your shots.

    Your only defense in the real world is to use your flash even if you really don't want to. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    I'm sorry, I was going to write more, but my arthritis is telling me I've done enough.

    Best regards!
  • @jlm86 - Which lens will you be using? Do you have an external flash?
  • edited April 2013
    I bought used a 60D with Tamron 10-24mm (1:35-4.5).

    Can you give me some brief comments about this setup for everyday walking around shots?T hank you so much!
  • Howdy @jlm86 - The Tamron 10-24mm is an ultra wide-angle lens. While it's not ideal for portraits, it will give you the ability to get in tight and capture the musician with their instrument.

    I would start with Shutter priority, set your shutter speed to 1/125 and set your ISO to Auto. If you notice subject blur, you'll need to up the shutter speed to 1/250.

    Be mindful that this lens is not ideal for low light hand-held portraits. You're going to end up with shots that are a bit underexposed and quite noisy (grainy).

    I would avoid the built-in flash, however, if the lobby is too dark then you'll need to use it to illuminate your subject.

    As for your other request, "Everyday shots" can encompass a wide range of subjects and scenes, so it's hard to recommend a starting point. If you've got something specific in mind I'd be happy to point you in the right direction.

    Happy shooting! :)
  • edited April 2013
    Update! My friend just let me use a Canon 28-105mm.

    How would this compare to my existing Tamron 10-24mm for indoor graduation pics?

  • @jlm86 - The 28-105mm has a better range for portraits and candid shots, however, the aperture range (f/3.5-4.5) is still very "average". For low light situations, you really want something between f/1.2 and f/2.8.

    If this event is important to you, I would strongly consider renting an external flash (like the Canon 430EX). Depending on the ceiling height, you'll be able to bounce the light for much more natural looking people shots.

    I believe you can rent one for roughly $20 to $25 on the various lens rental websites. All the best and happy shooting! :)
  • edited June 2013
    I'm not techie or polished in photography, I just play with what works. Just shot a graduation in somewhat low lighting (big convention center) with the 60D and 18-135mm kit lens. I adjusted my ISO down to about 140 and the pictures came out great; good color and clear. I was able to zoom into the shots on my computer and crop down to the actual graduate...pretty cool. The best thing you can do is test shots when you're unsure, go with your gut and breathe.
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