Beginner Prom photography tonight

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jason
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#1
Ive been asked to take some photos of the step son arriving at his prom this evening. Bit last minute but what are the best and easiest way of getting some candid snaps and posed shots? The venue is a stately home so the photos will be out on the driveway. Looks like the weather will be miserable and overcast.
Ive got a Nikon D3200 and lens of choice is always a Sigma 17-70 F2.8-4.
I also have a 50-200mm Nikon F4-5.6, 70-300mm Sigma F4-5.6, 35mm f1.8 prime and 50mm prime.
What would be the best settings to get some good portrait shots?
I was thinking lowest f-stop (F4 ish) for a nice short DOF, fast shutter speed, crank the ISO to 800???

I am really trying to learn this stuff so any help would be great.
I also have a mounted flash at my disposal.

I was at an indoor function in a dark theatre the other night and noticed the pro-photographer had a mounted flash, but had it pointing upwards about 45 degress with diffuser over.
Would this flash setting apply to outdoors too or have no effect?
 
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David
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#2
Jason

I am not a person people shooter, but I shot my step-neice's (is that even a relationship?) Prom a couple of nights ago at a local town hall (think posh building in landscaped gardens), the biggest issue will be that it will be chaos, so trying to get shots without distractions in the background, etc will be difficult.

I resorted to a 90mm lens, and shot most at f2.8, to give me enough DOF to keep the salient facial details in focus, but to blur out the background. I didn't do many full body shots, and those that we did we went to a quiet part of the garden, but I did do a lot of head and upper body shots.

Most of the time your step son will be interested in phone shots with his friends, and be in amongst the general melee.

Personally I'd take just the 35 and 50, use the 35 to take some staged shots when you arrive and the rest of the time shoot candidly with the 50mm (using f2.8 or similar, just set the ISO to suit, or AutoISO, keep the shutter speed quite quick)

These are a handful of mine https://www.talkphotography.co.uk/gallery/albums/default-album.1283/ , hope the info above helps
 
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Ian
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#3
With something like this I wouldn't risk a prime. My girls both had hordes of parents everywhere using mostly iPads which meant field of view could be difficult. At least with a zoom, you have options if you can't move your feet. I'd go with the 17-70 so that you can get the group shots as well as some candid head & shoulder stuff.

I'd set auto-ISO to start ramping up if shutter speed drops below 1/250 (if you're not as shaky as me you could try 1/125) and play about with aperture on the day/night. Ideally looking for f8-11 for most portraits & group shots to give a bit more flexibility in missing focus, but if I wasn't under pressure, I'd drop down to f4 for single head shots to see what they looked like.

I'd probably try and have a go with the onboard flash, but I wouldn't rely on it because I don't know enough/want to start practising on a day like that.

Finally, I went to both my girls' "prinks" "parties" (pre-party drinks/get-together for a smaller group) which was far better for getting family album shots. If you have time, popping along to this might be better.

Good luck!
 
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jpgreenwood
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jason
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#4
if I increased the shutter speed so it was a darker shot, would the flash compensate or would I just get bright portraits with a very dark background? I've also got a 1.4tc but that will drop the stop by a couple of notches won't it?
 
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Paul
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#5
Use the 17-70 but leave the TC at home. Use the mounted flash only if it starts to get too dark that the camera's ISO can't compensate. Now's not a good time to learn to use it if you haven't already. I'm not sure of the D3200's capabilities but, in general, put it on auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed and your maximum ISO. If you do end up using the flash, try to angle it 45 degrees up so it puts some light on the people but doesn't go nuclear on them. If you have time, have some quick practice inside your home to see what the results look like.
 
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jpgreenwood
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#6
I've practiced in the garden on the 17-70. Got F2.8, 1\1250 , flash makes no difference really. But, I'm not particularly focused on anything.
 
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jpgreenwood
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#7
Well, I managed to get a dozen or so ok shots. It was a difficult task as mentioned. Lots of folk about, difficult to find the right shot. I swapped between the 17-70 and the 70-300 Sigmas. Camera performed ok with ISO 800. I can understand now why professional wedding photographers charge so much for this kind of thing. I'll try and post a few up later.
 
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jpgreenwood
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jason
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#10
my fave is the over exposed shot. Number 3. I think its got a look of a red carpet, film premier paparazzi type shot. I purposely left it like that.
 
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