June 23, 2011

Bonus – How to defeat a gym.

I’m going to my middle daughter’s Senior Kindergarten graduation today and two things are certain – I will weep unabashedly and there will be a room full of terrible photos taken.

The reason? Grad’s in a gym this year.

Gyms and ballrooms are the places photos go to die. Ugly lights. Shots taken too far away. Red eyes from the flash. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

You can do better. Just take the handful of minutes after you take your seat and adjust your camera’s settings to get fantastic photos:

1.         Turn your camera to the Av or S setting.
2.         Set the shutter speed to 1/60 or 1/80.
3.         Turn off your flash.

Take a picture. You should instantly notice two things – it’s possibly dark and the colours look all wrong. Easy to fix.

4.         Make sure the ISO is cranked nice and high.
Choose “Auto,” “High,” “800” or “1600.” The higher you go, the more grainy the photos, but you should be reasonably safe at 800.

5.          Change your white balance.

You need your white balance to match the colour in the room. If you’re under fluorescents, use the “fluorescent” setting, for example.

Now take another photo. The colours and exposure should look decent by now. Your next step is to make great memories. A few tips:

·      Get close with the camera (and turn off the digital zoom).
·      Isolate your child (either along or within the group.
·      Try some cool perspectives – low near the stage, off to the side, or with lots of headroom (my favourite).
·      Anticipate! If your child is getting a diploma, set up your focus with the kid before him or her. Press the shutter halfway and wait for your superstar to appear – then click!

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