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Shooting In Adverse Lighting
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May 23, 2019 10:30:03   #
dcearls
 
So I'm fairly new to this, got my camera about 6 months ago, still learning my way around it and what settings I should be using (I'm in manual mode). It seems I frequently find myself trying to get shots in really adverse lighting conditions. I was trying to get some shots of the school band performing at the local Barnes & Noble for a fundraiser. Of course they were set up in front of big windows and I had maybe 3 vantage points to shoot from.
I find the results less than overwhelming and was hoping for some feed back and maybe some advice on what I could have done differently, camera settings, etc.
The first three are just very unimpressive ... grainy and the people often appear almost as if they had been superimposed after.
The last two are what I feel were probably two of the better shots.
The camera is a Nikon D750, Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lens (so it's probably not the equipment), ISO was up around 1600 (which I didn't think would introduce so much noise) which leaves the operator as the problem. I was also shooting some wide apetures in hopes of de-emphasizing the background at least a little. I just feel I might have done better in full auto but I would be interested in any criticism and or suggestions for improvement.
Thanks in advance for your input.


(Download)


(Download)


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One of the better ones
One of the better ones...
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Just OK
Just OK...
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May 23, 2019 10:44:58   #
smlek Loc: Chicago, IL
 
The last shot seems very good. I think you need to use flash with the others. The problem is the bright windows, I think under-exposing with faster shutter/lower ISO and using flash might brighten up the people and reduce the window glare.

May 23, 2019 10:55:35   #
kcooke Loc: Alabama
 
This appears to be their jazz band. My kids went through the high school and college bands. Brings back some good memories. Are these straight out of your camera as shot or have you done some post processing?

 
 
May 23, 2019 10:57:28   #
camerapapi Loc: Miami, Fl.
 
You are going to get lots of responses and opinions. Many times that confuses more than it helps. Here is my take on this.

Those are ALL very acceptable images. Some of them require adjustments in post to make them even better and if it helps I use Curves for that. They are grainy but nothing a good noise reduction software could not take care of. By the way, in your second image If mine I would have not amputated the feet of the orchestra director.

Balancing the light from the windows with the light indoor requires planning and a little more effort. I will not discuss that. When possible fill-in flash helps a lot and allows to work with a lower ISO setting. I would not use program where the camera is in control, I usually go with Aperture Priority and do what you have done to select wide lens openings. Notice that in those images where you came closer the results were better.

If you ask me I think you are doing fine.

May 23, 2019 11:33:30   #
dcearls
 
They were shot raw so I did some light processing in Lightroom (also working on my Lightroom skills).
Generally I did lens correction and either auto exposure or some light exposure adjustments because the Auto correction was not good

May 23, 2019 11:34:05   #
dcearls
 
and yes, high school jazz band

May 23, 2019 11:35:16   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA
 
The look good to me considering the lighting situation.

What metering are you using?
Averaging?
Center weighted?
Spot?

 
 
May 23, 2019 11:38:19   #
rpavich Loc: West Virginia
 
Here is the thing; just like film, you have to think of what the subject is and how it's lit. If you aren't going to supply any artificial lighting you need to ask yourself "is the subject in the shadows?" "is the subject the brightest thing in the frame?" and go from there.

I find that pre-metering without the windows in the frame and then setting the camera to manual works best most of the time. that way your shots are exposed correctly and you don't have surprises from shot to shot.

It's not just with windows...you should always ask yourself those questions and adjust accordingly.

May 23, 2019 11:52:44   #
kcooke Loc: Alabama
 
dcearls wrote:
They were shot raw so I did some light processing in Lightroom (also working on my Lightroom skills).
Generally I did lens correction and either auto exposure or some light exposure adjustments because the Auto correction was not good


Try the sharpness and DeNoise sliders in small amounts to see if that makes them more acceptable to you.

May 23, 2019 11:56:22   #
dcearls
 
smlek wrote:
The last shot seems very good. I think you need to use flash with the others. The problem is the bright windows, I think under-exposing with faster shutter/lower ISO and using flash might brighten up the people and reduce the window glare.


I knew as soon as I saw it that those windows would be my downfall but I was hoping to avoid using the flash. I just feel like its maybe too intrusive ? I always try to get shots of the whole event and I always share the pictures, but the bottom line is I am there hoping to get a decent shot of my kid so I am a little self conscious of being intrusive not to mention distracting the performers.

May 23, 2019 12:01:38   #
dcearls
 
camerapapi wrote:
You are going to get lots of responses and opinions. Many times that confuses more than it helps. Here is my take on this.

Those are ALL very acceptable images. Some of them require adjustments in post to make them even better and if it helps I use Curves for that. They are grainy but nothing a good noise reduction software could not take care of. By the way, in your second image If mine I would have not amputated the feet of the orchestra director.

Balancing the light from the windows with the light indoor requires planning and a little more effort. I will not discuss that. When possible fill-in flash helps a lot and allows to work with a lower ISO setting. I would not use program where the camera is in control, I usually go with Aperture Priority and do what you have done to select wide lens openings. Notice that in those images where you came closer the results were better.

If you ask me I think you are doing fine.
You are going to get lots of responses and opinion... (show quote)


Thanks for the encouragement.
Actually all of the pictures I took were from one of three vantage points, none of which was close to the subject. I have the one lens at this time and it is not a zoom. Every picture was cropped to get in closer.

 
 
May 23, 2019 12:03:06   #
JohnSwanda Loc: San Francisco
 
i would also suggest a flash, but bounce it. Even with a high ceiling, shooting at ISO 1600 you should get enough light. And it will be even, pleasing light instead of harsh light which falls off quickly with direct flash.

May 23, 2019 12:08:29   #
dcearls
 
Longshadow wrote:
The look good to me considering the lighting situation.

What metering are you using?
Averaging?
Center weighted?
Spot?


Matrix, and it's a good question because I never even considered it at the time

May 23, 2019 12:47:51   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA
 
dcearls wrote:
Matrix, and it's a good question because I never even considered it at the time

Different lighting conditions may require a different metering setting.
Many people take pictures of the moon using averaging, and wonder why they have a big white blob instead of a moon. Averaging mostly darkness throws the metering off.

May 24, 2019 09:52:29   #
gvarner Loc: Central Oregon Coast
 
The NEXT time use a TTL flash with a diffuser. I use a Lite Scoop. Flash in TTL mode, camera in Manual mode. ISO 400, aperture F4.5, shutter at 1/200. With flash, you have two sources of light, ambient and the flash. A high shutter speed controls the ambient, the flash determines exposure on the subject. With all those windows you also need to set your camera to use high speed sync and boost your shutter speed much higher to cut all that light. Experiment with a few shots.

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