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Indoor photos of kids

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by d80tb7, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. d80tb7

    d80tb7 New to Mu-43

    3
    Feb 4, 2012
    Hi all,

    I recently bought the gf2 as my first 'proper' camera which I'm using with the 14mm kit lens. Outdoors in good light the pictures are fantastic but I'm having real difficulties in getting good pictures of my children indoors. Essentially a combination of January daylight, energy saving bulbs and fast moving children leave me with pictures that are generally either underexposed or blurry. I've generally tried shooting at iso 800 (1600 just produces too much noise) with the aperture wide open but with decidedly mixed results. Using the flash directly makes everyone look far too artificial ( I think this is not helped by the fact that the wide angle lens means I have to get fairly close) while using the bounce flash trick has probably produced the best results but is highly hit and miss.

    So my question is whether you guys have any tips to help me out. I'd be especially interested to know if you think it's possible to take good indoor moving picture shots using the equipment I have or whether you think I really need a new lens. I've had a look at the Panasonic 20mm and the Olympus 45 mm but don't really have a feel for the difference that the increased aperture size will make. The Panasonic 25mm looks like the best but it's just far too expensive for me at the moment.

    Anynhelpmyou can give would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  2. zerotiu

    zerotiu Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Sep 13, 2011
    Indonesia-Singapore
    I use this setting when I want to take photos of baby/ my small cousin.
    Because they move a lot, I use fast shutter speed.. around 1/125 - 1/100. The rest is auto. If you sacrifice your shutter speed so you can get lower ISO, the image will blur. Another options is to get fast lens with f1.8 or f1.7.

    It's 2 full stops if you compare f1.8 with f3.5 (the lowest aperture you can have when you use a kit lens). That means with f1.8 you can get ISO 4x lower than you usually get when you use f3.5. That's a lot! :biggrin:
     
  3. HuX

    HuX Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 3, 2012
    I think with the 14mm Kit he'd be on f/2.5 though.

    I've had the same trouble taking indoor shots with a G2 of my dogs when they're playing. ISO caps out at 800 for me, and I've tried with the 45mm 1.8 with only good results coming from still subjects.

    That said, my house gets very very little natural light into it, so if you have big large windows with plenty of sun coming in the 45 1.8 or the 20 1.7 may be a lot more useful for you inside than it is for me.

    Outside, I can't recommend the 45mm enough. And with decent indoor lighting it's probably amazing as well.
     
  4. zerotiu

    zerotiu Mu-43 Veteran

    222
    Sep 13, 2011
    Indonesia-Singapore
    Oh Right! I was thinking about 14-42 :redface:
    I want to post another cat photo.......but...no cat photo again lol.

    I don't understand why you think that 45mm is not useful. It has fast AF, fast aperture. You can use AF tracking and get low ISO when you use f1.8. Maybe 20mm can't because the AF speed isn't fast enough for AF track. I don't judge the 20mm, but in fact it's slower than 45mm

    or...this setting will success :

    1.Pre focus :biggrin: , wait until the subject infocus.. then click.. done :biggrin:
    2.Sequential shot with AF track
     
  5. David

    David Mu-43 Veteran

    303
    Jun 22, 2011
    Sydney
    I was in the same boat. Until I bought the panasonic 14mm f2.5 . then I was able to take in door pictures without flash. but if the children is running around, you may need the
    45mm 1.8. I can use the 45mm 1.8mm to take photo of my kids play squash indoors.
     
  6. HuX

    HuX Mu-43 Regular

    26
    Jan 3, 2012
    It's not useful for my house, that's all I meant. I'm in a deep valley, with tree's and hedges everywhere in sight so my house has very very little natural light. In a home with good natural lighting the 45mm I assume will be amazing.

    Even at 1.8 and 800 ISO I can get a max shutter speed of about 1/20, not good for hectically moving dogs :D

    I adore the lens though, and hate my houses lighting :D
     
  7. d80tb7

    d80tb7 New to Mu-43

    3
    Feb 4, 2012
    Ah thank you go all your advice, if nothing else I'm glad that other people have the same issues! I'm thinking maybe the 45 mm is the way to go as even if going from f2.5 to f1.8 doesn't solve my problems then at least I should be able to stand further back and not blind the children with the flash if I have to use that.
     
  8. 13Promet

    13Promet Mu-43 Regular

    84
    Dec 11, 2011
    Milano
    I'd keep up with bounced flash, possibly getting a more powerful speedlight unit if necessary.
    I don't think the extra stop coming from f/1.8 will help you in taking many more pictures indoors than can you do with 2.5.
     
  9. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    I have the GF2 too and you're right that it runs out of breathe past ISO800. Beyond that, I convert to BW where you can control the noise. If you haven't tried it, BW works well for in home candids, as it helps to push sometimes busy backgrounds further into the background and keep the focus on the subjects.

    6116562862_9d9d32e30b_z.
    Buds by john m flores, on Flickr

    6116564990_f278a660b1_z.
    ILA by john m flores, on Flickr

    The Oly 45/1.8 is very nice, but I hope that you have a big house. It's pretty long for indoors and a lot of the time you'll be restricted to tight candids. F1.8 will give you more light, but it will narrow the depth of field, which will make focusing a little harder with moving subjects. You'll also need to increase your shutter speed to control camera shake. 1/60 will be hit or miss; 1/80 and higher will be desired.

    6399912219_fb0433848a_z.
    Cousins, Nintendo, and Olympus by john m flores, on Flickr

    Ultimately, I'd think about bouncing an external flash off the ceiling and dragging the shutter. The flash will help stop action. The bounce will give you a nice soft light. And dragging of the shutter will help capture ambient light and maintain a more "natural" look.

    5560362346_f6974413ef_z.
    P1030472.jpg by john m flores, on Flickr

    Good luck!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Nov 4, 2010
    what do you mean by dragging the shutter?
     
  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Slow sync - a longer exposure than would typically be calculated for the flash. The flash will expose the moving subject, and the longer shutter speed will expose the stationary background.

    My first recommendation would be to pick up a copy of "understanding exposure" by Bryan Petersen. It will help you understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. F/2.5 is not that fast with our cameras and their ISO800 "limit". Every stop you can gain with aperture results in cutting the shutter speed in half - it's a big change when you're trying to stop motion.

    My next recommendation would be to work on your technique and see how much blur can ENHANCE a photo. These days, everyone wants total stop-action photography, and it doesn't convey the sense of motion. 20 yrs from now, people will look at the pictures and not know the kid was running around like a whirling dervish. Panning the camera with the subject can create some amazing photos.

    Lastly, I agree with the posts above that 45 is probably too long for indoors. Even for just a head shot portrait, you are back a significant distance. IMHO, the 20/1.7 is the ideal indoor lens.
     
  12. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    My friend explained flash photography as follows...

    With a flash, you are taking two pictures,
    A-with the light from the flash
    B-with the ambient light.

    All too often a flash photo contains all A and no B. That's because a lot of flash modes default to setting the shutter speed to the flash sync speed - 1/180 or even 1/250. Imagine a non-flash photo taken indoors at 1/180. Usually underexposed, right?

    Dragging the shutter is the process of slowing down the shutter to capture more ambient light (B) so that the photo has a balance of light from the flash (A) and light from the room (B). The result is a photo that looks like it was taken in a room, not a dark tunnel.

    One side effect is that the flash doesn't have to work so hard. Because it can operate with reduced power, it can actually recycle faster and you can get more flash shots from a set of batteries.

    The light from the flash also helps to stop motion. As ~TC~ suggests, some blur can be nice too. So if you really drag the shutter, you can often see some motion blur from the ambient light mixed with a sharper image from the flash. Let's call this Ghosting.

    How do you drag the shutter? Set the camera to Manual. Choose your desired Aperture, and then adjust your Shutter speed for proper exposure. If the shutter speed is very slow - i.e., 1/15 or slower, you'll get a lot of background blur and Ghosting. You can increase your shutter speed by increasing the ISO. With the 14mm, adjust ISO until you can get shutter speeds around 1/30. If the meter shows that you are underexposed by a stop or so, that's ok. You'll still capture ambient light, but not as much.

    Play. Enjoy. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. After all, it's digital.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    150
    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    That's a great tip, John! I would have never known... would you mind posting perhaps an example picture so I can compare with them in the future to see if I'm doing it right? I know there's no "right" picture as it's subjective, but it would however help to see an example.
     
  14. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    No worries. That last photo I posted - my nephew with the green tennis racket and yellow practice ball in mid-air - is an example of dragging the shutter. It's got a balance of room lighting and flash lighting. Looks pretty "natural".

    Click to the Flickr and go Actions -> View EXIF to see my settings.
     
  15. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
  16. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Nov 4, 2010
    But when dragging the shutter can you shoot handheld easily since the shutter speed i slower?
     
  17. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    150
    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    I see. Great samples. I actually took my kids bowling and I was in the exact same environment... except when I used the flash the background would be completely black without the neon lights showing or the background showed up and my kids would be black. Now I know. Thanks! A productive Saturday morning it's been... haha
     
  18. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    150
    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    That depends on the lens that you are using... and how slow you set the shutter speed to...

    As a rule of thumb...

    if you're using a focal length of 20mm then you don't want to shooter any slower than 1/20 handheld...

    if you're using a focal length of 45mm then you don't want to shooter any slower than 1/45 handheld... etc...et...
     
  19. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    150
    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA

    I'm also pretty sure this also applies to shooting a person behind a sunset where you want the pretty lights from the background and also be properly exposed for the person in front.

    So do you first set aperture, then shutter speed, then ISO? What's the order you would go in for these shots?

    Normally I'll set the ISO then shoot in aperture priority mode but I feel very comfortable in manual mode...
     
  20. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    With flash photography, you rely upon the strobe of the flash to freeze action, not the shutter speed. As you can see in the examples, there is a limit where the slow shutter speed does capture some of the subject movement. That the Ghosting I was talking about.

    Here's a classic example:

    5557966390_64bda48d93_z.
    Logan Serves by john m flores, on Flickr

    Look at the ball. The ball was stopped in mid-air by the flash, but if you look above the ball, you'll see it's flight path* captured by the slow shutter.

    * Ideally you want the flight path to be behind the ball. And for that you do something call Trailing Curtain Sync or Second Curtain Sync where the flash fires at the end of the exposure, not the beginning. I had the camera to do that but for some reason it didn't work.