Help, what WB, AE, film modes and other fields for office party.

Started Dec 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Derek Dean
Derek Dean Senior Member • Posts: 1,775
Re: Help, what WB, AE, film modes and other fields for office party.


First of all, relax, it's going to be fun.  You've got a great camera, and you'll do fine.

You will find there are two camps as far as shooting a party like this.  One camp shoots all their photos with flash, not bothering to balance it with the ambient light.  The other folks generally suggest shooting without a flash.  I think you should do both.

It may be scary to shoot without the flash, but trust me, the photos you get will generally be much more natural looking, and with the X-E1's high ISO ability you should be fine.  However, I'd set your ISO on auto (6400), and run shutter priority, trying various shutter speeds to see what works, but probably 1/60 or 1/125.  Set WB to AUTO.  Do some test shots around your house first to get the feel.  Plan on sticking mostly with your zoom at the wide end (18mm) so you can take advantage of the 2.8 aperture.  18mm will also be good for close quarters group shots.  But the 35mm 1.4 will be a great lens for this too!

Speaking of which.  When you're taking group shots, it's vitally important to get folks to GET CLOSER TOGETHER, and you have to tell them to do this.  I always make a joke out of it, saying "ok everybody, get closer together.  Pretend you like each other". Remember, the point is to have fun, and most folks really enjoy getting close together for the group shots, so really make them squish in there.  Seriously!  Sometimes I have to say it two or three times, and use my hands to gesture, but it's SO worthwhile, because the shots come out great.

Next, as I'm getting them to move closer together, I'll quickly tell them that I'll take the photo on 3, and then after they have scrunched together I'll say "ok, on 3........... 1.......2......3" and take the photo....... then before they break up, quickly say "ok, just one more quick one", and then go "1......2.........3" and take the shot. This backup shot helps guard against closed eyes or unpleasant expressions (sometimes it's better not to worry about a backup shot, you'll just have to play that by ear).   Do remember that while your saying 1, 2 ,3 that you need to half press the shutter to focus so that when you finally say 3  you're ready to take the shot.

And while you're doing this, remember to get in close.  You want that group to fill the frame.  It's ok to cut off the bottom half of the group, mainly you want their arms and chests and heads.  It's ok to include more room stuff, but they want to see their faces.

If you're really concerned about not using the flash, especially for the group photos, go ahead and use it, then try some non-flash shots for candid photos.

Make sure you keep track of your stuff.  It's way to easy to start setting it down and lose track of it.

And remember, you're camera takes video too.  Try getting a video of somebody making a toast, or singing a funny song. And don't forget to get some closeup photos of the food (before folks dig into it) and the decorations, and maybe during the party closeups of party hats, etc.

If you start taking photos and they just aren't looking good, and you find yourself getting flustered, just set the camera on full auto (or program), pop up the flash and shoot away, and don't plan on bouncing the flash to much, although try it, but I've got a feeling you'll get better results from straight flash (remember, that flash will use up your battery quickly!).

Have fun, and I expect to see some great party shots on Thursday or Friday.

 Derek Dean's gear list:Derek Dean's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic Leica 100-400mm F4.0-6.3 ASPH Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 Adobe Photoshop CS6 +3 more
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