A Lengthy Reboot

By Richard Hsu
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Camera: Shutter Priority

Six years ago, I made a fundamental mistake and got 80 underexposed or blurry photos for my friendly neighbour Arun's birthday party. Last November, I was at the same house, with similar lighting conditions, and the same camera (his Canon DSLR), but this time for his wife Mangala's birthday party.

I did a better job this time. Very few photos were underexposed. I am writing these down if I ever get to do it again.

Settings I used:

  • External YongNuo flash was pointed at the ceiling, slightly angled forward
  • The white card on the flash was raised to reflect light to the faces
  • Flash was in automatic TTL exposure mode (I regret this)
  • Camera on Shutter Priority (Tv in the dial)
  • Shutter set to 1/100th
  • ISO set to Auto (it picked 400 for all the photos)
  • Aperture was Auto
  • Autofocus (9-points covered most of the view)

I made 117 photos on birthday eve when they set up the decorations. Then, another 200 pictures for the birthday party dinner.

The photos were first reviewed in FastRawViewer to decide which ones to reject. Photography Life has a good article on using FastRawViewer. I use a simplified culling process.

FastRawViewer is keyboard friendly:

  • Left/Right arrows navigate
  • x for Reject (moves into a _Rejected folder)
  • z for Zoom
  • p to show edges, fine details (indicates in-focus area)

The selected photos were then copied to an SD card and imported into the iPhone, where basic edits were applied in Darkroom app (something I learnt recently from Sean Tucker's YouTube video). From Darkroom, the edited photos were exported into Google Drive and shared.

Things to try next time:

  • iPad would be better than iPhone for Darkroom
  • Manual power mode in flash
  • ISO from 400 to 640 (half stop brighter)?
  • Fuji + 18 f2 + Flash?