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Help... Event Photography Advice Sought

Discussion in 'Hot Deals - Find a Great Deal? Share It Here.' started by Hawkman, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Here's the deal: my better-half, Jennifer, prompted me to do an event photography job for her work next Monday. It involves shooting some speakers (presumably at a podium) in a small-ish training/conference room and then photographing individuals receiving and signing certificates.

    I am planning to use my trusty a6000 with (most likely) the E PZ 18-105 f/4 lens, and have my Sigma 30/1.4 and Sony E 50/1.8 in the bag just in case those focal lengths and apertures might prove useful. I will bring my Flashpoint/Godox TT685S along, as well as the corresponding Flashpoint R2 trigger if needed for off-camera flash. I'm not sure if will need to or should bring my other two flashes (TT600 and TT350S) with two light-stands and umbrellas (i.e., my entire current lighting kit) for more "formal" portraits or not. I will check with her to see what they want/expect in that regard.

    All that said, I would love to hear from anyone here in the forum who's had some experience in such small event photography, i.e., corporate events and such. Any tips would be most appreciated (I'm a bit nervous, to say the least). Any tips on settings and modes to use would be helpful. (I am currently thinking of going with Shutter priority set to about 1/160 or faster to freeze human subject motion and Auto ISO constrained to 400-3200.)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. AlwaysOnAuto

    AlwaysOnAuto TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Feb 17, 2015
    I read your post and think back to my working days and how the corp photog's would handle such an event. They shot Nikons and would usually have a tethered handheld flash they'd hold off to the side when taking the shots.
    Sorry I can't be of more help Steve.
    Do you know what kind of lighting the conference room will have?
     
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  3. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    Bring extra batteries for you flash and camera.

    Bring at least two SD cards.


    I would bring the extra flashes just in case. Not sure about the light stands and umbrellas. I've done two events like this and things tend to move pretty quickly. I would discuss that with Jennifer if they want a designated area just for award photos are if people are being called up to the front of the room.

    Also, don't be shy about moving around to get your shots (that's why you are there after all), but be aware they'll be times you will be blocking the view of parts of the crowd. They generally won't mind unless you just stand in one place in front of them.

    I stood to the side then moved in for my shots then moved back out of the way.

    The money shots are receiving the awards - you'll likely have to direct the giver and recipient. A lot of times they like to grab and go and you never know which way they'll turn their heads. I just said, "quick photo please" to make them turn towards you and pose.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    I'm not quite sure what the lighting will be... probably standard office fluorescents based on the couple of photos Jennifer sent me. It doesn't appear to be too large a room... about 20ft x 20ft with about an 8 foot ceiling height. Bounce should be very workable, if a little close.

    Thanks for those tips Chris! I've already ordered 2 additional (Wasabi) batteries and 2 SD cards, plus a battery grip (to add some grip to the tiny A6000... and make it look little more, shall we say, "pro" ;)  ), and a stand carrying case to hold at least three stands/tripods.

    Jennifer said she might be able to find some shots from previous similar events that I could look at to get a better idea of what they are looking for... so I'm hoping that will help with what will be expected.

    I'm expecting to not use flash during the speaking portion so as to not annoy the speaker, and so I'm hoping I'll have enough ambient light to use the 18-105/4 set for at least 1/160 or faster. I tried that in a presumably similar room in my own office today... ISO went to around 1000 or 1600, which is okay, I suppose.
     
  5. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    I was able to bounce my flash off the ceiling with good effect. I would get there early and experiment.

    Don't forget the extra AA batteries for the flash.
     
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  6. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    AA Batteries... good point! Time to break out those Eneloops I bought at Costco a month or so back.
     
  7. soeren

    soeren TalkEmount Top Veteran

    814
    Dec 12, 2014
    Næstved, Denmark
    Soeren
    White walls please let there be white walls :)  what Chris said. Bouncing if possible, will be a better option than umbrellas.
     
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  8. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Good tips from Chris!
    I've done a couple of event shooting but unfortunately I have nothing to else to contribute (besides what has already been told), just to wish you good luck and enjoy the experience ;) 

    I would definately use flash if you are able to, instead of using higher ISO (I would probably opt to keep ISO at 800 max). If you can set up a full lighting kit (lights, umbrellas etc) around the podium where most of the action will be anyway, it would be ideal imo.
     
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  9. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    UPDATE: That first event went well, and I think I delivered some decent photos to the clients. I delivered 105 in all, opting to let them choose if they needed them all. Of course, I shot a lot more than 105.

    Thanks for all the tips and advice, they were greatly appreciated!

    I suppose it went well enough that I have now been "hired" again to do a bigger event, more of a staged presentation with a VIP in an old-style theatre-like auditorium followed by a reception and posings with the VIP. Both the auditorium and the reception lobby are rather old, high-ceiling rooms and are very dimly lighted. I went in today with Jennifer to check it out, new A7II in hand - along with kit 28-70, a new FE 50/1.8 I bought today, and several legacy lenses for focal length testing. We couldn't operate the stage lighting or spotlights for the stage area of the auditorium, but did have the house lights on... not that they did much. I brought my TT685S with Gary Fong Lightsphere on it (intended for the reception posed shots) and tried it in the auditorium to see how the flash might help.

    Anyhow, to cut to the chase, I'm going to need something a little longer than the 28-70. The obvious (to me) choice would be a good 70-200. I figure I will have to rent one before Friday. The question is: which one? Do I splurge and rent the FE 70-200 f/2.8 G-Master or just go for the FE 70-200 f/4 G OSS? The f/2.8 G-master rents for about 50% more than f/4 G, including shipping, and I'm not sure that the 1 stop of light will be that big a difference... or will it? The FE 50/1.8 did well, especially when used with the flash... but it is just a bit too short for the auditorium.

    Any thoughts or further advice?
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
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  10. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Oh, and here is the view from the stage of the auditorium. Please forgive the poor composition... I was just snapping this off to give me a reference view - I should have moved to the center to give a better perspective.

     
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  11. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    In (low light/difficult) situations like these, one stop of light can "save" you! So my opinion is to rent the GM.

    I have the f4 70-200 and rarely use it indoors (where the light is low) at my wedding photography and believe me I would have liked to be able to use it - its my favorite lens but unfortunately f4 is limiting :( 

    Very glad to hear the first job went good! That was the difficult part-now things will get a little better job by job (less stress of the unknown etc). And congrats on closing another job! :2thumbs:

    What are you gonna do lighting wise at this one? Just use one flash?
     
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  12. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Do you have a sharp and relatively fast f/2.8 or f/2 135mm prime for the a6000? The crop factor will give you a FOV of 205mm.
    Looks to be dim and warmly lit in the hall. I agree with Nick, f2.8 is the way to go.

    BTW, congrats on the first gig being a success and landing the 2nd one!
     
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  13. WestOkid

    WestOkid TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 25, 2014
    New Jersey, USA
    Gary
    Make sure you turn settings effects off and also face detection in low light. On most Sony lenses settings effect off will allow them focus at max aperture. If you don’t, the lens will try to focus at selected aperture and hunt much more in low light. I wouldn't worry about focus shift with the lenses you have. If you had the A7r II this may be moot, but my understanding is this still works for other cameras.

    I believe I got the face detection off hint from Gary Fong. Apparently the system hunts trying to figure out the face unnecessarily. I found this to be true in low light.

    Another tip from Gary Fong is to use spot focus in low light. Again to avoid hunting
     
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  14. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Thanks Nick! Your tip on the potential saving grace of that one stop of light made enough sense to me that I went ahead tonight and ordered a rental from Lensrentals.com for the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS. As I noted, it was 50% more than the 70-200 f/4 G would have been, but... "better safe than sorry." :) 
    I don't want to be missing out on the VIP photos in particular on account of that one stop of light. I'm hoping that whatever stage and spotlighting they turn on for the event will help considerably. So I am only planning to use the one on-camera TT-685S. But I will bring along my TT600 and TT350S (and a couple light stands and umbrellas) just in case I determine they'll be useful... especially for the posed shots in the reception lobby.

    Oh, and I'll be sure to post my thoughts on the highly-touted G-Master next week after I return it. I might even write up a quick "review" of sorts for my blog.

    Thanks Will! I have a f/3.5 135mm Minolta Celtic, but for this event I'm not willing to take the chance on my manual focusing skills, so its autofocus all the way. I will likely confine autofocus to the center area to ensure better accuracy of what I want to target. And as I noted above, I have decide that f/2.8 is indeed the only way to go.

    Thanks Gary! Those are good tips. I'll check out the effects of the "settings effect off" setting and see if that makes things better. I will have one more walkthrough opportunity on Thursday morning. And I'll turn face detect off... except perhaps during the posed reception lobby portrait shots.
     
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  15. fractal

    fractal TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Southeastern PA
    Chris
    consider renting the fe 85mm 1.8. congrats on the new gig!
     
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  16. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    Thanks Chris! I had thought about the FE 85/1.8, and it is likely going on my short-list of future FE lens acquisitions. But I have gone ahead and ordered a rental on the 70-200/2.8 G-Master. It should arrive on Wednesday. Then on Thursday there'll be a walk-through for the event that I plan to attend to get a better feel for the progression of the event. I wanted to be sure I had the rental before the walk-through, so I ordered last night.

    But given the situation, I feel like I'm going to need the flexibility of a zoom. 70mm might work for group shots from where I'll be and then 135mm should give some good tight head shots. My only worry now is that 70 might be too tight for a group shot (I know - step back). I may switch to the FE 50/1.8 for that. I'll know more on that when the walk-through happens.
     
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  17. WNG

    WNG TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2014
    Arrid Zone-A, USA
    Will
    Curious, have you tested your 30mm f/1.4 C on the A7ii? Just wondering if the rear shroud trick would work on this one, given the f/1.4 sized optics. Even with vignetting, some post editing may do.
    70 is way too tight for indoor group shots.
     
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  18. Hawkman

    Hawkman TalkEmount All-Pro

    Sep 10, 2013
    Virginia, USA
    Steve
    That's a good thought Will. I checked the Sigma 30/2.8 (as I still have it as well) because it is reputed to be quite effective on full-frame, but I hadn't checked the 30/1.4 until just now. It vignettes more noticeably than the 30/2.8. I haven't taken the rear baffle off yet - too chicken just yet as the 30/1.4 remains my best APS-C lens - but I will on the 30/2.8 soon. I did look up to see what others on the net have learned about the Sigma 30/1.4 on full-frame and found this...



    As for 70mm and group shots, while the even will be indoors, the beginning of the seating area is probably a good 20 feet from the stage area, so I think I can fit at least a half-dozen people, or more, into the frame at that range. I will find out more on Thursday at the walk-through. If I have to, I'll switch to the FE 50/1.8 for the group shots.

    Oh, I'm also planning on having the A6000 there, but it will be on video duty. I'll put it on a tripod, aim it at an appropriate area on the stage and let it go. I'll probably also bring the A3000 as an emergency fall-back. Can never have too many cameras at this sort of thing, don't you think? ;) 
     
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  19. unlo

    unlo Sony ****** Subscribing Member

    Jan 19, 2014
    Ohio
    Matt
    ]

    :eek-30::eek-30::dance::dance2::eek-30::eek-30:
     
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  20. dlhomesolutions

    dlhomesolutions TalkEmount Regular

    44
    Apr 7, 2016
    The Sony FE will not be stabilized on your a6000 just FYI
     
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