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Another Chapter of "What Would You Do?"

I worked an company event last night at a place called "Game On". Basically, it's a chain that features a space with ping pong tables and corn hole. About 125 rowdy guys and 3 women.

The place, a large basement-type venue, was seriously orange. Exposed, industrial-looking ceiling with everything painted a orangy-beige. The walls were orange and yellow. And, did I mention it was kinda dark?

Anyway, I am so jaded against direct flash, that I fail to sometimes see the forest through the trees (is that the expression?), that there are some indoor situations where you simply cannot bounce your flash. But, since I'm writing this, I obviously tried to bounce.

Mercifully, it was only an hour I was hired for, but now I have 80 raw photos that look like yellowy-orangy crap, and I will be spending some time developing and processing. What a truly awful night, one of the worst I've had. Because of the setup, I had a lot of difficulty getting those great candid photos I love. And, I can tell you that these pretty rowdy guys were not in the mood for posing.

At F4 and 1/125 shutter speed, the ambient light didn't move the meter until ISO 2000+. With 3700K dialed in, wicked orange. With Tungsten WB (my camera reads 3250K), still orangy. Also, since the ambient was not registering, I tried Flash WB. Oh my, you want orange? And, I was photographing people playing ping pong, so you can't really go to less than 1/100 shutter.

I had in my bag: a flash bracket, a brand-new Lastolite (Joe McNally) Softbox (I think 8"x8"), a Rogue Flashbender, and a LumiQuest System. I failed to try any of them.

I need a good "rig" for these situations, and the ability to forego the perceived "devil worship" of direct flash. If anyone can clue me in to what has worked for them in the past, I'm all ears. Boy, do I wish I had someone with a lot more experience in event photography with me last night.

One question: In a room such as this, where the ambient is Tungsten, but really is not registering at "normal/comfortable" ISO settings, and bounce flash is nearly impossible, what would you use for a WB setting. I realize it can all be adjust in LR, but sometimes I have difficulty with this, because nothing in the photo give me the ability to use the "eye dropper". How do you set the color?

I'm sure I'll be writing more later, and hope to post a couple SOOC, to give an idea of what the place was like.

Thanks - Dave


  • First and foremost, don't beat yourself up Dave.  It happens to the best of us. Secondly, you have the raw files and amazing things can happen:) Thirdly, before I say another word, would love to see what your dealing with here. I have had some very awful white balance situations myself and was able to correct them to better than acceptable without the eye dropper tool. Once I see what you have, I can possibly give you an approach that i would do. Maybe It will help. 

    PS..........To answer your one question, pick a white balance. Any white balance (except auto) will do in raw and deal later. That way all the shots are the same tint and you will be able to paste the settings going forward in the raw processor. Once I see the shots, I will tell you what I would do. 

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Thanks, Jay. I'll post a couple later on. I spent some time with them last night, and they are not as awful as I initially thought. I would really like to know what you do to balance colors without the eye dropper. I don't use it extensively, just when I know I have a really consistent white or gray area in a photo.

  • One easy trick for balancing skin tones. In Lightroom, open the develop module and go to the HSL/Color/B&W section. Click the HSL area. You will see three sets of sliders open up. Hue, Luminance, Saturation.  Look to the top left of each of those slider modules and you will see a small tool. Take that tool and put on the skin and slide to taste. Play with each tool in each section for the best possible combination of skin tones. Give it a try. Of course it works better for people and not anything else. Thats just one trick. 

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    edited July 2017
    Jay - the other part of this is I need to come up with a go-to setup for when I can't realistically bounce my on-camera flash indoors, and off-camera is not an option. A couple I've thought of:

    Using a flash bracket, just to get the Speedlite further away from he camera lens, and either my new softbox, or a Gary Fong lightsphere.

    Putting the camera body on a monopod, and hand-holding the Speedlight with modifier, connected by cable or remote trigger.

    I once used one way I saw Neil do, but it was for a nighttime portrait session outdoors - camera in one hand, and 24-inch triangular reflector in the other, bouncing the on-camera light into it. The one time I used it (dark venue, black walls and ceiling), I know I heard one or two people make comments about it, and it wasn't "Oh that was great!".

    My issue is in my own head. When I arrive at a venue, I take a good look at the surroundings, and make a determination of what I can and cannot do.

  • I would just get a modifier, such as the spin light 360. That way you have choices to work with. I would not be hand holding anything, as it will become cumbersome. One or two shots sure. But for a night of shooting, no way:) 

  • Jay - I delivered the photos, but I haven't forgotten to post a couple, and my "interpretation". I'm finishing up another job from last Friday, but will get to this. I'm sure you are not on the edge of your seat, waiting, but I did want to let you know.

  • Too funny Dave. No worries. I am flattered that you thought of me. 

  • Hey, Jay - I had a chance to look at some of these, and found a couple of the worst ones "raw sample-xxxx", and tghe corresponding "my take-xxxx". As I was resetting to the originals, they were not as awful as I once thought, maybe the LCD view on the camera was spooking me. Anyway, here are a couple to show what I was dealing with. Mercifully, it was only an hour in the game room.


  • Hi Dave!

    Thanks for sharing. I took the liberty and did a 30 second edit just to see what happens. Here is a quick result. 


  • I just adjusted white balance and vibrance and added a half tilt shift. No exposure adjustments added, just 10 on contrast and -4 on blacks. 

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