Old 04-20-2010, 05:50 AM   #1
steverg
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Default RRMPA Night Photo Shoots

I am planning on attending one of the upcoming night photo shoots at The RR Museum of PA and I have next to no experience operating a camera that you can keep the shutter open for an extended period of time to create the shots you only see in magazines and so on.

I have a Canon Power Shot A530 digital camera and I simply cannot take the kind of pictures aforementioned.

The last time I was at a night photo shoot was in '99 on The New Hope and Ivyland. It was mid April and cold as a well diggers butt, if you get my meaning! It was the first time I had ever been on a night shoot and My Dad and I were surrounded by a plethora of foamers with all their tricked out cameras that probably cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively and I had ONLY a Kodak Panoramic camera!

I had NO IDEA that you needed a more advanced camera to get those awesome pix while the flash was just a fraction of a second and here I was snapping off pictures with this dinky camera and this miniscule flash that virutally NOTHING came out when I went to expose the film. The close-ups were great but when we were standing out in that corn field with TONS of frozen cow manure at our feet, the pictures were abysmal at best!!!

My Father sadly, passed away on Valentines Day and I (naturally) inheritted his Olympus OM10 35mm camera.
I only read the first page of the contents on how to operate the camera but I would like to know if THIS particular camera allows you to keep the shutter open for such shots? Would THIS be the type of camera I should be using for this photo session? How do I go about making my settings and what type of film should I use...100, 200, or 400?
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:18 AM   #2
Mgoldman
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Not real familiar with either camera but the trick to capturing a good night photo is to have a camera that can keep it's shutter open long enough to allow enough light in to expose either the film or digital sensor.

There are two ways to accomplish this - the first is using the camera's auto settings and hoping the camera has a slow enough shutter speed to remain open long enough to get a properly exposed image. That feature would work best with available light and probably not so well with multiple flashes. The second and preferred way to get good night images with either available light or more specifically, with multiple flashes is to find a camera that will allow you to keep the shutter open as long as you desire. That setting is usually indicated by a "B" or "Bulb" setting. To use that feature you likely would want to get a remote shutter release switch - either wired or remote so that you do not shake the camera when you snap or release. A tripod is also a necessity - unless you get lucky and find a place to perch the camera every where you shoot (trash can, tree branch, your car.. ect).

I would highly recommend you attempt your first fling with night photography using a digital camera as you can see the results, and learn from them, instantaneously.

The way a night photo charter typically works is either to rely on available lighting which typically does not yield the best photographic opportunities, or the event may use flood lighting thereby creating available lighting so to speak but in a way that allows you to capture the subject as desired. The other popular way to conduct such an event is to use multiple flashes. While your camera's shutter is open, parts of the image are exposed piece by piece with the final combined result being a fully exposed scene. Think of it as painting a portrait... you look, you paint, you look again, you paint some more and the final product is the finished scene.

As for settings - typically, when flashes are used at these events the person running the show will let you know what settings work best. If you shoot digital, you can verify and append as you go along.

One seemingly little known tip is adjusting your ASA /ISO settings. The larger (higher) your number, the shorter your lens will need to stay open. A low ISO is nice for reduction of grain but if you are shooting people who tend to move a higher ISO will be less prone to capturing blurry actors!

Worse case scenario - just ask the person next to you what settings they are using.

Best of luck!

/Mitch
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