D800E event photography: Settings help needed

raw shooter
Registered: Jan 11, 2009
Total Posts: 138
Country: United States

All my photography is indoor flash/ strobe - so I am out of my expertise with an event. I am shooting (as an amateur) a party event and need some advice on the auto ISO settings, WB, and in-camera Jpgs. Like usual, my clients (family & close friends) are expecting pro results.

My initial setup:
* Due to my testing (guessing!), for Auto-ISO, I now have set the Maximum Sensitivity to 6400 and the Minimum Shutter Speed to 1/100.
* Capture is set for RAW + JPG (small). JPG set for High ISO NR = Normal, Active D-Lighting = Normal
* White Balance is set for Auto1 (normal). This is a big concern, as I would prefer a non-variable setting.

The shoot is indoors and outdoors in early evening. I will use the popup flash (fill flash) about 50% of the captures. I will use the RAWS and the JPGs will be downloaded, to a guest laptop, immediately at the end of the event.

Will appreciate any guidance with this shoot. Any advice will be awesome! Thanks in advance.

Registered: Nov 07, 2005
Total Posts: 10471
Country: Australia

You might want to ignore auto ISO with flash so that you get better control over the situation. Otherwise you have auto ISO messing around with ambient light exposures at the same time that the flash system is playing with settings to provide 'balanced' exposures using undefined methods to assess balance. Lots to go wrong because you don't have control of it all.

Instead, you could set the ambient exposures manually so that you have control of it for each scene and then set the flash ratio accordingly and let it work automatically to give the overall exposure that you expect.

An external speedlight would be better because there'd be fewer red eyes and you have the option of bouncing light off something.

With flash involved I'd probably try using daylight of flash WB and tweak the Raws from there. It's also less likely to affect the colouring of any mood lighting. You don't necessarily want everything corrected.

Are you planning to use auto ISO in aperture priority mode, shutter priority, or manual ? I doubt that it changes my advice above but if you want to do any exposure bracketing then manual mode won't behave as you would expect, but it does work nicely with exposure adjustments for non-bracket shots - until you mix with flash.

Also, there will be a setting somewhere that controls what variables, including or excluding flash, are changed when you adjust exposure. Do you want the ambient changing instead of the flash, or as well as the flash, to achieve an exposure adjustment ?

- Alan