Since you asked…

Every once and a while I get a few questions about equipment/settings etc…so I thought I’d do a little post about some tips and tricks I’ve learned recently that have totally rocked my world.

For the band shots I did this weekend I was mainly using my 50mm f1.8 lens. I love that lens! Coupled with the D90s awesome capabilities at high ISOs and the lens wide aperture you can literally take shots in the dark. Since the lighting is so varied in a club (spotlights being the only lights used) I set my camera to spot metering to make sure that area that I was focusing on was correctly exposed. If I had used the camera’s default setting (which for the d90 is matrix metering) the camera would have adjusted the exposure for the entire frame…which would mean that that camera would be trying to get the dark parts lighter and would make the light parts WAY too light.

Even at ISO 3600 and Aperture 1.8 I still had a pretty slow shutter speed for all the rocking out that was happening…which means I basically had to wait for the peak of the action when there is a little pause in the movement or try to catch one of the stage lights in the right spot.

I also set my camera to aperture priority (which is what I usually use anyway) because I would never be able to manually expose for the changing lighting conditions as quickly as they were changing.

One thing that I have really fallen in love with doing lately is using wide focal lengths for close ups….instead of zooming in to get a tight shot, I zoom out and get up close and personal (which with a focal length of 17mm and a subject such as a face, would mean that the end of my lens would be about 4-6 inches away from the subject if I wanted to fill the entire frame of the shot). This creates (in my opinion) a really dynamic look to the image, a little bit of distortion happens and I just think it looks super cool. It’s great for objects and kids…but not so much for adults because it can make them look like they have a way bigger nose than they really do!
Also, if you are wide and close any movement you make will have a huge impact on the perspective. Think about it like this…if you are 10 feet away and move down 2 inches nothing will really change in your frame…but if you are 5 inches away and move down 2 inches, whoah baby! A completely different picture!

So there you have it! I hope that helps some fellow beginners out there in bloggy land!


  1. #1 by Lee-Ann on February 9, 2009 - 4:15 pm

    thanks! Although much of what you are talking about is still pretty foreign to me, I will try to learn. I like to hear what the people I admire are doing to get what they get, ya know? So thank you for sharing!!!

  2. #2 by Jonni on February 9, 2009 - 7:25 pm

    Hey Kirsten,

    Thanks for the super tips. I also like the 50mm and use mostly aperature. I love the pictures from the club, or should I say da club and act like I am still cool…yeah right! 🙂

    Your photography is just amazing. Sorry I have been MIA lately, just working on redesigning my blog and of course it took so much longer than it should have.

    I wanted to tell you that I just started sharpening my pictures with a hig-pass sharpening layer and I love it. First I duplicate the layer and then set the duplicate layer to overlay and then run the high-pass sharpen on it and then add a layer mask and select black and it allows me to bush wherever i don’t want the high pass ahrpen, or I can just lower it. For instance I like it lower on faces but full strength on the rest of the photo. Your photos look so good already, you don’t even need to know this probably but I just started it and I am amazed.

    Hope you guys are well and Sofia sends Coen a kiss.


  3. #3 by killlashandra on February 10, 2009 - 9:08 am

    I have to agree with up close and personal rather than the zoom shots. I use that technique too. 🙂

  4. #4 by robin bird on February 10, 2009 - 12:36 pm

    hello! i’ve been enjoying myself while perusing your site, reading about your creative process, your family and your thoughts on photography. you have a wonderful talent for capturing the real essence of a moment in time, and the person in that moment.

  5. #5 by Christina on February 10, 2009 - 1:45 pm

    I am always amazed to think how much you’ve learned, so quickly. You’re a natural!

    Oh, and I agree about wide angle perspective, but I don’t have a good wide lens. Whaa.

  6. #6 by Amber on February 11, 2009 - 3:42 pm


    You are such a professional.
    Go Kirsten!

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