Side Note: My life has suddenly become so unexpectedly happening these days... not much time to read and catch up with you beautiful people's blogs out there... my apologies !! When things clear up I shall try my best to keep track of whats happening in everyone's blog, and what I have missed out so far.
Here is the second part of the Bridal Fashion Show entry, a continuation from the previous one (click). I shall address the camera settings I have chosen for this particular shooting, and my reasons for the selections.
CHINESE THEMED DANCE PERFORMANCE
Apparently the results were no where near high grade yet, but do take into consideration the lower end equipments I am currently utilizing, but the purpose of all these shutter snapping frenzy I have been doing lately is to push myself further, and explore different categories of photography.
I have always had a special thing for photographing people, either portraits or any random events, and capturing the facial expression and the mood of the moment can be incredibly rewarding in many ways. (I know Brandon is going to suggest Macro 50mm F2.0 lens…this is getting predictable) However, it is not very easy taking pictures of people as subjects, and more often we undesirably fall into the norm conformity and the pictures will come out very, very ordinary.
I mean, come on, there are millions of pictures (thanks, and no thanks to digital photography) taken by anyone out there, and it takes a hell lot of effort and thoughts to produce stunning images that stand out from the rest. It is no simple task, and obviously I am extremely far from accomplishing that kind of level, but we all have to have something to aim for to nudge us towards the right direction, have we not?
I am fairly new to this sort of sport, hence it is good to share and learn, to improve my control over the camera and gain valuable insights from you beautiful people out there. Any feedback and suggestions are welcomed, but do bear in mind that I am no superman and I cannot just turn pro over the night.
The only way to get where I am seeing myself to be years from now (God knows where that is) is to walk down the hard way, learn by mistakes, trial and error, and eventually I will do better and better. One huge part of learning process is listening to the honest opinions from the others, and I may not be totally open to negative comments (no one deserves to be demoralized), but anything constructive will be very helpful.
Here is the summary of the settings I have chosen for the fashion show:
All photos shot in Aperture Priority mode
ISO fixed to 800, with noise filter set to High
White Balance: In camera customized daylight, some shots Auto
Center focus zone, one point (mid) AutoFocus
Underexposed by –0.3EV to –0.7EV
All photos shot in JPEG
AMBER CHIA !!!! WOO HOOO
First of all, let me start explaining why I was not shooting in RAW. I do not exactly have the most powerful computer in the market, and processing the images shot in RAW format would cripple the whole system so badly that you will think you are running on Intel Pentium 2 with 32Mb SDRAM.
It is an immense pain working with RAW at the moment, and processing hundreds of shots after one event is not exactly something I am looking forward to. In comparison to that, editing in JPEG is more than twice the speed, since the files are much smaller. Plus me having limited memory on compact flash (2Gb only, gotta get more soon) just made the idea of shooting in RAW quite unattractive.
Since I have no Image stabilization on my camera body or lens, I have to employ a few options to achieve blur free pictures. In stark contrast to what others may think, I do not exactly have super steady hands. I wonder who started that myth.. hmmm… One of the alternative would be boosting the ISO up to 800, and I could get shutter speed of more than 1/100s under the given lighting condition during the fashion show. To compensate for the increased noise level, I set the noise filter control to HIGH, hence I did lose some details, but much to my surprise the pictures still turn out reasonably crisp and clear.
Besides that, I cranked down the exposure compensation value to –0.3EV or even –0.7EV to obtain higher shutter speed. The models are moving constantly, and pausing for a short while for the standard poses, hence getting quicker shutter speed is an added bonus to freeze movements.
I think the noise level in the photos are safely on the tolerable side, and pretty much cleanable if I spend more time editing the pictures. Somehow, I do think that some of the pictures come out very dark, and I should not have underexpose the shots with longer zoom range too much. Lesson learned, and I shall adjust the exposure compensation accordingly to the zoom range in the future. I know I can edit the pictures in a way to enhance the brightness overall but hey, I would prefer to be able shoot a good picture on the spot, and the editing process is utilized not to save a wrongly exposed picture, but to enhance and improve the already good picture.
White balance is another issue. Usually I would capture the light color cast just as what I see naturally whithout much adjustments. I know the professionals would advise against this move, and trying to make everything as “white” as possible. To me, changing what you see into something more accurately white may seem to be a good idea to retain more details, but somehow, you will tend to fail to record the original feel and ambience.
Looking at my pictures, I may have overdone the tungsten cast of the spotlights, leaving everything overly orangish. I know this can be easily corrected in Photoshop, but I chose to present it this way to remind myself that I must pay more attention on my white balance setting the next time I go out shooting under artificial lighting conditions. For now I prefer to produce warm images.
Autofocus of my Olympus E410 was quite reliable, and very snappy.
I generally would set my focus to the center zone, hence I would lock the autofocus and autoexposure by clicking the shutter halfway and recompose my picture quickly before releasing the shutter button. This is a common practise, and usually more accurate and reliable than the in-camera settings of multi-zone focus system and multi-pattern evaluative metering.
AMBER CHIAAA AGAIN !!
Depending on what kind of pictures you are taking of course, but for this event, the aforementioned settings worked just great, and as the pictures suggested, most of them are accurately focused and properly exposed. I would have tried spot metering, if I was standing at a more auspicious position.
Using my Ollie for a while now, I dare say that as an entry level DSLR, it is quite a capable one. The Olympus lenses I have may be in the lower end category, but the picture output was reasonably good. You would not expect it to out-perform more expensive and newer DSLRs out there, but hey, it does not mean you cannot take great pictures with it.
FINAL GROUP SHOTS
So guys, do give me your thoughts about the pictures I have taken so far (not limited ot this entry) and keep the comments coming. For some of you more experienced DSLR users, your precious opinion on the camera settings would be very, very much appreciated. If you ask me on how I could improve the shots, I can say two very obvious points: white balance, and composition/framing/timing wise (choosing a better spot for shooting would help a great deal). I am putting a lot of effort and thoughts in my phototaking lately, so feel free to say something !!
Man you gotta love Ollie.