Event Photography question

 
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Rich Green
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 1:17 pm    Post subject: Event Photography question Reply with quote

Several times a year I get requests to shoot events that involve table shots - people at a table, half sitting, half standing. I shoot with Canon equipment - the Canon flash is a 580EX II. The camera is a 5D, set at either 400 or 800 ISO, on manual.
The problem is - the white tablecloth. That almost always screws up the exposure - causing the people to be darker. I shoot RAW so I can adjust the final image - but it's not perfect. Since I don't do this type of photography often enough, I haven't figured out how to solve the exposure problem. Does anyone have suggestions, answers to this situation? Do I need a different flash?

Thanks in advance.
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jlafferty
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PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First: maybe adjust your metering to spot/spot-area instead of matrix/scene or whatever Canon calls it. Spot a mid-tone to get your exposure reading.

Then, you need to be able to control the light -- put it in something directional, like a softbox, and then feather it so that only the edge of the light is hitting the table (where, if you play it right, you'll get a bit of upward fill). Or... if you're lucky enough to have white ceilings, bounce it high and behind you, pointing the light straight up or nearly so.

You should always go into these things with some sense of 2-3 ISO/distance/power setups onhand, so you know when you switch to on-axis, near-camera and then back to near-camera ceiling-bounce (for instance) you know to switch your aperture/ISO/flash power to get in the ballpark. Also: you may just need to adjust exposure compensation and work within your flash's TTL mode and adjust EV accordingly.

Ideally: get to the reception space early with an assistant and test out your 2-3 setups, then try to corral your subjects into those setups.

Good luck! Events are a mutha Smile
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Rich Green
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did forget to mention that I have tried spot metering but with minimal success, usually blowing out other areas. And I do adjust the flash, bumping up the exposure compensation to add extra light.

Thanks for your help. I was hoping there was a simple fix, but I guess these tableshots are just tricky.
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Mel Hill
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PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have 10 people at the table have 4 sit and 6 stand behind them
the four in chairs need to be close together. This 4+6 combo should all but fill your frame and you will not have a huge white space on the bottom of the frame. You are being paid to photography PEOPLE not tables....

Also, lower your camera height so you are more or less diminishing the angle of view of the table.
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Rich Green
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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback Mel. Yes, when I can get the 6/4 grouping, or something close, I can minimize the table.
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