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SLR digital Photography Tip

Posted on Oct 31, 2007 by Paul White

Sony Alpha 100
Ok so my wife and I got the club early.  We were one of the VIPs at the annual Halloween party that my client throws.  The club was neat.  Normally the venue is a titty bar, but for our party it was closed down.  The girls had access to the stages and the dance poles.  Considering the atmosphere ( low light, Neon lighted dance poles, lots of mirrors ) this was going to be quite a challenge to shoot.  I am a huge believer in shooting the true atmosphere of the night.  Meaning no flash.  I want to capture the lights and how they build the vibe.  So I snapped on my fastest lense.  50mm f1.4, set the camera in AUTO mode and started shooting.  But my camera couldn't keep up.  Auto mode would not take my aperature below f2.0.  So I switched into manual mode with Aperature Priority.  After Manually setting my camera to f1.4, I tried a few more shots.  But still the shutter speed was staying open for 1 second.  This was as good as it got that night.  When I got home I had to manually adjust all my pictures from the RAW files to get them were they should have been.  The Girls were all blurry due to the long exposure times.  I was very dissappointed in how they turned out.  My client thought they looked great.  Granted I did capture the true vibe of the club, but it could have been alot better. 

After doing some searching around the web I found what I did wrong.   The entire time I was shooting I never chanegd my ISO setting.  I read online that increasing ISO can make a huge difference.  so I tried a few test shots.  I took a picture of my cell phone sitting on my desk with the lights off in my office.  settings were f1.4 with ISO in AUTO mode.  Of course when I autofocused I could see my exposure was going to be almost 1/2 second.  I took the picture, and it was blurry as usual with longer exposures. Then I chaneged ISO to 1600.  and then my camera went to a 1/120 second Exposure.  The picture looked perfect. 

I now kick myself for not using a higher ISO when at the club.
So now as a good rule if you aren't getting the shot.
First lower your aperature
If you are still stuck with slow shutter speeds,
Raise your ISO
If you are still not getting the shot
Get a Faster Lense, or get a new camera if you already have the fastest lense made for your unit.

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