How to avoid bothering people with shutter noise?

Started Nov 19, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Erik Bailey Regular Member • Posts: 147
How to avoid bothering people with shutter noise?

Hi all --

A few days ago, friends asked me to photograph their daughter's cello recital at a church. I happily accepted, since it was a great opportunity to try this type of shooting. The recital was great and the shots came out wonderfully (see some samples below), but I heard some feedback that my pictures were intrusive (definitely noise-wise, but maybe also activity-wise).

Here's what I did (for better or for worse):

  • I set up my 450D on a tripod from the front pew in the church, about 12-15 ft away from where she was sitting

  • I used three lenses - 17-55 @ 2.8, 50 @ 1.8, 70-200 @ 2.8. No flash, ISO 1600 mostly. All were on the tripod until the very end when I did some handholding of the 70-200

  • I used my remote switch to activate the shutter rather than press the camera button (the camera was above my seated eye level)

  • I used Live View with MF for most of the composition

  • I disabled the focus beep

  • I made one huge mistake - after I removed it from the tripod I forgot to take it out of remote mode, which meant that when I pressed the shutter it beeped for 10 seconds of the countdown. Not good! [is there any way to abort that???]

  • I took lots of shots. For a 15-20 minute recital I ended up with about 85 shots.

So ... for those of you who do this sort of thing a lot, what are some ways I could improve so I don't bother the performer or guests? Some thoughts I had:

  • Take fewer shots (obviously). Trouble is, I think I would have gotten fewer keepers in that case, esp. with the motion blur of the relatively slow shutter times

  • Set up in the back or side of the church instead of the front. That would pretty much mean using only the 70-200 and losing the wider aperture of the 50/1.8.

  • Not use a tripod. That way it wouldn't be blocking people's view even if I wasn't shooting

Honestly I think most of the unhappiness was with the shutter noise; people these days are so used to silent cameras (or ones with a fake recorded noise that can be disabled) that they are bothered by the noise of a DSLR.

So for someone who tends to be happiest taking lots of shots and throwing many out, how do I make the transition to taking fewer shots and therefore being less disruptive?

17-55 @ 17, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/40s

50, f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/100s

70-200 @ 130, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/25s

Thanks! --Erik

 Erik Bailey's gear list:Erik Bailey's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM +3 more
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