Do you have any tips for shooting indoors in the winter?
During the winter and the holidays, we spend more time indoors. The days are short, the weather is colder and we attend more social gatherings indoors than we would in the summer. Frequently this means we will be shooting more group photos of our friends and business associates. To capture these group photos, we generally make greater use of the wide-angle end of the zoom range in our cameras. Here are a few tips for shooting indoor group photographs.
How wide is the lens?
When we speak of how wide a lens is we are talking about the angle of view. In digital photography, we compare the equivalent focal length in terms of 35mm photography because users can more easily relate to the equivalent angle of view from their experience with 35mm photography. A “normal” 35mm focal length lens is generally considered a 50mm lens with an angle of view of about 50 degrees. Because of the 2X conversion factor used in E-System DSLRs and Micro Four Thirds PEN cameras, a “normal” focal length would be 25mm. Any lens with a focal length lower than 25mm is a wide-angle lens and any lens with a focal length greater than 25mm is a telephoto lens. The 14-42mm lens will be better for a large group shot then the 40-150mm. The 9-18mm would offer an even wider angle of view.
Because of the relatively low guide number of the built-in flash in Olympus DSLR and PEN cameras, the flash may not have enough power to fully light group shots using wide angle photography because it may be necessary to back up to fit the group in the picture. Select a higher ISO to increase the flash’s effectiveness. Also use the Redeye Reduction flash mode. If you are posing a group, press the shutter button halfway down so the flash can assist the autofocus and get an autofocus lock, then press the shutter button all the way down to get the shot. It never hurts to ask people to be still and get a posed group shot rather than a candid shot, because there will be less likelihood of someone having an awkward expression in the picture. You can always shoot more than one shot. The larger the group, the more likely someone will have their eyes closed when the flash goes off.
Using accessory flashes such as the FL-300R, FL-600R and FL-50R would be wise, because they have much more power than the camera’s built-in flash. In addition, the FL-600R and FL-50R have built-in diffusers for use with wide-angle lenses. When using extreme wide-angle lenses such as the 7-14mm or the 9-18mm, the flash head can be tilted up to use bounce flash, which will provide a wider field of illumination. Just be sure the ceiling you are bouncing the flash off of is not colored – if you bounce the flash off a red ceiling, red light is what is going to come down to illuminate the scene.
Autofocus is not infallible. Autofocus requires a degree of contrast which may not be available indoors, such as at a dark restaurant. This is why it is recommended to let the flash illuminate the scene to help the autofocus in darker environments as described above. Olympus DSLRs have an AF ILLUMINATOR that illuminates the scene to assist the autofocus in low light environments. The AF ILLUMINATOR works best if the AF Frame in the camera is set to the center frame rather than AUTO. Use the half-shutter button press technique described in the section on flash photography.
Earlier PEN cameras do not have an AF ILLUMINATOR. When shooting with such a PEN camera, use the single AF Frame option in the menu so you know what is being focused upon. Place the frame on the focus subject and half-press the shutter button to lock focus, then recompose the image and press the shutter button all the way down to get the shot.
FACE DETECT may not work when shooting large groups, because the camera is looking for a pattern that resembles a face, and at a distance it may not be able to recognize such facial patterns. Here again, it may be best to use the center AF Frame.
If you are shooting groups with an ultra wide-angle lens such as the 7-14mm or 9-18mm, it is best to back up and zoom-in slightly. If you are using the very widest position on the zoom range, you may find that because of the extreme angle of view, the heads of people at the very edge of the frame may appear to be pulled outward and somewhat egg-shaped. Either zoom out so there is more space on either side from the group or back up and zoom in slightly so the perspective is less severe.
Archive - E-System:
- Advantages of digital lenses
- Transferring your photos to a CD
- Printing the date on your photos
- Best image sizes for emailing
- Lens connections and F-stop
- Indoor sports photos
- AF illuminator and camera flashes
- Camera locks up while shooting closeups
- Taking photos of the Northern Lights
- Shooting in cold weather
- Pixel Mapping
- Waterfall and Stream Effects
- Camera unable to secure autofocus
- Night sports photos
- Can I use a teleconverter with my kit lens?
- What is MY MODE?
- Saving Your Camera Settings
- What does the Fn button do?
- Tips for shooting holiday lights outdoors
- Tips about memory card usage
- The purpose of IMAGE ASPECT when shooting?
- Tips for digitizing 35mm color slides
- Double exposures and xD card questions
- Taking better indoor photos
- Shooting in RAW
- Battery charging guidelines
- E-System Compatibility
- Cleaning your mirror box
- Studio Lighting
- Tricks for manually focusing
- Focusing E-System cameras in low light
- P, A, S and M modes
- Keeping a zoom lens steady
- What lenses can I use with my DSLR?
- High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography
- Post-processing color controls in OLYMPUS Master
- How do I use bracketing modes?
- Save a zoomed playback image
- How can CONTRAST, SHARPNESS and
SATURATION be applied creatively?
- Shooting indoors in the winter
- What does the GRADATION feature in the menu do?
- Using OM-System lenses and accessories