So, my company was having a volunteer appreciation event last night, and I noticed that our normal photographers (from the art department) were not present taking pictures. So, I volunteered my services. Since it was the difference between NO shots, and my shots (being completely untrained, and untried) they went with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was pretty neat. I ended up shooting 150 shots, HOPING to get some good ones.

The problem, is that the light was BAD. I do not have a lot of experience running my camera at high ISOs, so I kept it at 400, and hoped for the best. I learned a few things. Taking pictures of people talking, I SHOULD have run it up to 1600. They just did NOT turn out well. Even with the flash (which I used EXTREMELY sparingly, to prevent distraction). When you have a presentation going on, especially something SERIOUS, people sit VERY still. THAT is the time to crank the ISO down, and take shots of the audience. I also came to LOVE live view on my camera. When shooting macro, and landscapes, I use live view a lot, but in this setting is really rocked. I was told today, that the pictures were very well done, and they were impressed with the level of focus on some subjects. So, here is my secret. I used live view, with a remote shutter release, to prevent camera shake. After live view was up, I would compose my shot. Then, I would move the focus square over the person, or area I wanted in focus, and hit the magnify button. That would REALLY magnify the subject, and I would manually focus on that person. From there, it was as simple as putting my remote shutter release in front of the camera, hitting the shutter button, and the picture was taken.

Most of my shots were with a full tripod, with the head part extended to my eye level (6′). It was pretty wobbly, so I tried to avoid touching it, as much as possible. After taking pictures for about 2/3 of the event with that, I went up stairs, and lowered the head all the way back down, to try and get some more stability. I then shot down on the audience from above. I got some good pictures there, with my wide-angle lens. Once I came back down, I started shooting with the collapsed head, so I was taking pictures from just above the audiences point of view, giving me a different, and unique perspective of the event.

So, a few things learned from this. Carry your equipment with you, ALL THE TIME. I got this opportunity, because my camera bag was in my car. (as was my tripod and monopod). When shooting in low light, crank the ISO up. Good, sharp, somewhat graining pictures trump good, blurry, pictures, that have low noise. Move your perspective around. I shot over the audience(from a balcony area), at audience level, as well as some good general shots about a headโ€™s height higher than the seated audience. Move around. I literally shot, throughout the night, in about a 180 degrees from one side to the next, carrying my tripod with me. I wish I had shot the dinner trays, and other items, to give a better, full feeling to the event. I also wish I had asked the presenters to each walk back with me, so I could get a GOOD picture of them. Finally, I wish this had been “planned” and I could have gotten there earlier. I was one of the last ones to eat, and finished JUST before the presentation. I volunteered to shoot, while in line, waiting to get my food. It did NOT give me much time to get stuff together, and ready to shoot. Finally, I needed a better tripod. I have that now (yea me). That should help greatly, in the future.

It sounds like I did a good enough job, that the art department is looking at using me in future photo shoots, like this. That is kind of exciting.