Shooting over crowds

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by jaclu, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. jaclu

    jaclu Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2014
    I just thought I would share a few tricks I use when shooting events over crowds, I use it both on the EM1 and EM5II

    Items needed
    a) Monopod to get altitude
    b) Remote trigger, the phone app is not a good solution for this, either cable or wireless, doesn't really matter as long as it has the two step functionality, half press for focus, full press for shooting. The reason the phone app isnt ideal is that its really hard to secure a monopod, holding the phone then touching focus and shutter icon in a smooth manner with people all around you. With a remote trigger you can focus up on the camera screen and just use your tactile feeling in the thumb for operation.

    First things to do is to prep the camera
    1) Max the screen brightness to be able to see it better at a distance
    (Menu-Setup Menu-third item)

    2) Set shooting mode to Sequential L or Sequential H depending on rate of action at your target, but it is strongly recommended to use sequential even if that is not your normal shooting style.

    3) Shoot in S-mode, set to a reasonable speed depending on amount of movement by the target, match ISO to get a reasonable working aperture range.

    4) On the em5ii turn the display 90 degree out facing down - 180 usually collides with the remote trigger... It takes a bit getting used to aiming with the screen 90 degrees of, but shouldn't be too hard with a bit of practice. On the em1 just tilt it down.

    5) For focusing I usually use smallest size single point centre focus.

    Here comes the reason I suggested sequential shooting mode, it is much easier to get the intended shot this way, since aiming high over your head isnt the most precise action...
    You half press for focus, and sometimes need to try a few times to get it looked on the intended target. Once you have focus, keep the release half pressed, thus focus is retained, full press to take shot(s) but then just go back to half pressed, if you just want a single shot but end up getting 2-3 its not the end of the world, and if things are moving firing of a round of shots makes it more likely one of them works in the end. Keeping it half pressed also retains exposure settings, but if you aim for a specific target that is usually not an issue. If you want to refocus, just let the trigger go and half press again to repeat the whole procedure.

    I have used it on several events this summer with great success standing behind the first two lines of photographers.

    Zoom lenses are a bit of a pain, since you need to lower it down to re-zoom, so rather shoot a bit wide then crop.

    Nothing of this is new or revolutionary, but since it took me a while to figure out a working strategy, I thought I should share it...
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  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Thanks... which remote triggers do you like?

  3. jaclu

    jaclu Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2014
    Im using a pair of Yongnuo rf-603, but any wireless triggers should do as long as they have the half-press feature, no need to over spend, get the cheapest you can find. If your starting out, remember to also get a shutter cable to connect between the wireless device and your camera of choice
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  4. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    Pretty good. A few things I have learned, not to compete but to supplement:

    In addition to it being difficult to hold a phone to use an app to trigger, the Panny app is quite slow; there is a noticeable delay between touching the phone button and getting the shot. I use a cabled release that cost me $10 on eBay. In general, I try to avoid using radio triggers in the field unless it's really necessary because that is two more batteries to go dead at a critical time.

    I haven't ever felt the need for half-press but my experience is outside, bright light, so DOF is usually pretty good. In bright light it's hard to see the LCD (the app would be an advantage here) so I just shoot blind with the lens zoomed a little wider than I would otherwise use.

    I have fastened a length of split tubing to the back of my remote trigger. The tubing snaps onto the monopod shaft and my right thumb serves for triggering as I grip the bottom of the monopod. If the trigger is not fastened to the monopod you really need three hands or to have one of those little belt pouches to hold the bottom end of the monopod. I have not tried the latter.

    I haven't tried using a multiple shot mode. I just click the button a lot. I might try it though.

    The camera needs to be tilted down (I am a believer in small ball heads for this but YMMV). If it is not, you have to lean the monopod at an angle, cantilevering it out ahead of you, and it gets very heavy. In all respects, a near-vertical monopod is the easiest to handle.

    I would disagree that zooms are a pain. Sure it's extra effort to adjust the zoom but that is only because you have the option of adjusting. I would argue that it is primes that are a pain because you are stuck with just one angle of view. :biggrin:

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  5. jaclu

    jaclu Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 17, 2014
    Some good points! I havent tried with a ball head since usually i have shot at far enough distances that the down angle hasnt been an issue, but its on my totry list!
    When it comes to holding the trigger i havent experienced that as an issue my top hand stabilises the monopod and holds the trigger, thumb controls the button all tactile so no need to look at it.
    Lower hand controls aiming.
    I only rise my contraption enough to get free LOS since aiming gets exponentially harder with height.
    I did one event with the 40-150 high in the air, that was painful with a capital p....
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