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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Christmas Candlelight service
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12/20/2004 01:59:42 PM · #1
I am an amateur hobby photographer my camera of choice right now is a Canon powershot A70. I am going to be taking photos at the churches candlelit christmas eve service. I did it last year but the shots were blurry and everything was orange. I can't use flash because it destroys the mood of the service and the ambiance of the candlelight. Does anyone have any suggestions on shutter speed and apeture for this situation. There are no lights on except at the altar and all attendants hold candles.
12/20/2004 02:12:25 PM · #2
Your best bet would be to have it on a tripod and take a longer exposure. The wider your aperture and higher your ISO, the less motion blur, but high ISO will make it grainy. If you can set your white balance as cold as possible, that may help. I'm not sure what the ideal settings for an A70 would be, but I know that point-and-shoots are at a definite disadvantage for this type of stuff.

Message edited by author 2004-12-20 14:15:14.
12/20/2004 02:20:52 PM · #3
Definitely use a tripod. That will eliminate the camera shake that is almost guaranteed to happen when shooting in this type of situation. As shutter speeds get longer, though, you will have trouble with subject motion. that's not usually a big deal when you're shooting a large group, but can be a killer if you're focusing on one individual and they move.
In order to avoid the severe orange cast, set a custom white balance. Your camera is capable of this; your manual should tell you how to do it. If you don't set a custom white balance, try using the "tungsten" white balance setting. You'll still get an orage cast, but not as bad.
12/20/2004 02:36:36 PM · #4
You can try to fix the color issue by setting the custom white balance when you get there. But that may or may not work well, since you probably won't have the freedom to go up and set it against the candle light with a grey card. Beyond that, auto white balance *may* be your best bet - you'll just have to try different settings and see how they look.

As far as the blurriness, you're probably just going to have to take your chances and hope for the best. As Andrew said, ideally having a tripod would be best, but would only address half the problem - shaking hands. In candle light, you'll probably need a slow enough shutter speed that movement by people at the altar will also usually blur as well. This can work OK with a tripod - getting the background and surroundings steady but a little blur on the active subjects can actually make for interesting shots. But it will be hit-and-miss.

Use manual mode. Set the aperature as low as you can - 2.8 at wide, 4.8 (?) at 3x zoom. Here you might want to strike a balance between zooming all the way in (which gives you a smaller available "max" aperature), and choosing a bit wider view, which will allow you to open your aperature a little bit more. Then find a shutter speed that meters OK. Half press the shutter button, and see if it warns you that you're more than -2 steps below the "correct" metered exposure. If you are, try slowing the shutter speed. Trial and error will get you to the best setting (if there is one to be found). Oh, and set your metering to "spot" or "center weighted" metering - this will tell the camera not to try to include the dark outer areas of the photo when evaluating exposure.

Don't pick an ISO higher than 100 if you want to get clean images - the noise will become an issue otherwise.

And, don't forget to turn off all the sounds before you go. Having the rooster crow when you take your first shot would really get everyone's attention. :)
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