Photographing Comic Con - Experience, Challenges & Learnings

Discussion in 'Arts and Photography' started by dbg, Sep 26, 2013.

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  1. dbg

    dbg RAID Staff Staff Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    So I spent this past weekend visiting and for the most part photographing Comic Con Express Event in Hyderabad. Organized by Comic Con India, the CCE event was held at the HITEX Convention Center over a weekend of 21-22 September.

    Having just acquired my Camera + Lens just a week prior I decided that this would be my first proper Photo Day.

    [justif]Equipment was a bare minimal - Nikon D7000 + 50mm 1.8D + El-Cheapo Flower Lens Hood.[/justif]

    Album 1 - Comic Con Express - Hyderabad - Day 1 Cosplay Album | Facebook
    Album 2 - Comic Con Express - Hyderabad - Day 2 Cosplay Album | Facebook

    [justif]Most of the shooting was done in the Cosplay Booth where Participants would get their photos taken by the Official Event Photographer after registering. I perched myself right next to the Photographer's Tripod and would snap away at every contestant would pose for their photos. Then As the participants would leave I tried to note down their first names & cosplay for my own list, though none of this planned beforehand.[/justif]

    (Below is my account of how I handled the shoot. I am still getting used to camera features and I tried best to practically apply all that I read in various Manuals & Feature Guides. This may/may not be the right way to have done it, I'll leave that upto you to point it out :) )

    I shot exclusively in Aperture Priority Mode ranging from f1.8 to 2.8. Though in hindsight I think the shots which were below f2.8 incorrectly blurred my main subject. For shooting Cosplayers who were doing all sorts of action poses, an f4 would have been much better.

    To compensate for the Yellow Light Illumination of the Booth vs the Daylight lit venue, I had to keep switching the White Balance from INCANDESCENT to AUTO quite a lot between shots. Forgetting the change the WB mode back did result in some poorly balanced shots with bluish tinge. I used the Exposure Comp to -.3 when I saw most of the shots were overexposed.

    I shot pretty indiscriminately during the whole day .. racking up 2060 photos. I had set the Photo to JPEG - LARGE - FINE which resulted in an average file size of 7-8 MB. It was more of Focus first and Compose later.

    The first Day shoot was very exhausting to the point I almost gave up going on the 2nd Day, but getting all the positive response from Comic Con fans through Facebook kept the spirit strong :)
    On Day 2 I tried to come mentally prepared, firstly I headed straight for the Cosplay booth because that was where most of the action was.

    I then ditched my backpack at a Red Bull stall and only kept my camera with me. I still managed 2600+ shots at end of the day though I was able to use around 550 of them. (1 out of 5) compared to 200 for the first day (1 out of 10).

    The main stage had a giant screen as its backdrop which caused the people in front to become silhouette. I realized on Day 2 that switching to Spot Metering was the solution to this and it helped it getting some usable shots. After a bit of practice I was quickly able to switch the Metering from MATRIX to SPOT as the I tracked the contestants entering the stage & setting up. I did get sweaty palms but only towards the end of Day 2, the extra lighting might have caused it.


    - Photographing with the 50mm Prime proved challenging as one had to move around quite a lot and step on many toes to get a shots of different composition. I had to constanly move +/- 3 Steps when Photographing the Cosplayers to get full length Portraits which the extremely crowded venue made very difficult, I had to settle for Waist up shots for most.

    - The Cosplay booth had a bright Yellow background and lit up my 3 Yellow light fixtures on the rear wall. Also one of the Stagelights was focussed into it from from 20 ft behind us. The stage audience which gathered around the stage lights would cast shadows into the booth which ended up messing up many of the photos.

    - Shooting continuously for around 8 hours on Day 1 (with one 15 Lunch minute break) proved to be quite physically exhausting. Standing on one's feet for so long and lunging forward & backward to compose with the 50mm proved to be quite a lower body workout. I ended up needing a painkillers after getting home. (or maybe I'm in really bad shape)

    - Shooting 2000+ photos which seemed liked an 'achievement' became a real curse when it came down to selection+processing. I had to fire up the good ol' Picasa to hack & slash at the photos ultimately. Saving LR for a later day now.

    - Forgetting to change the settings back in hurry did ruin some shots.


    Nikon D7000: Without a doubt the D7000 performed excellently at every turn, always a shutter click away it served out 2000+ snaps before the battery warning came on. The various quick access controls of the camera proved worth the investment. Changing all Aperture, WB, EXposure Comp & Metering in about a couple seconds helped get the right exposure for various shots.

    Nikon 50mm 1.8D: This nifty 50 was super fast in focussing especially when I switched to Center Spot Focussing in AFS Mode. Walking around with the 50 on made it very easy to snap that Candid shot without fussing too much. It would focus quickly and the big aperture allowed for higher shutter speeds so shots could be taken even while on the move.

    Flower Hood: Although AFAIK the Lens hoods are useful when shooting outdoors to avoid direct light, I found it quite useful in keeping my camera + lens safe from the bumps & pushes of the swelling crowds. I had the Camera slung over my shoulder the entire time and didn't have to worry about any damage. I had snagged this one off eBay for 75 bucks only and it is quite sturdy & tough.


    -- Be Patient, Going all RAMBO burst shots of bad scene only makes the output incrementally worse.
    -- Photography is hard or rather can be as hard as you make it.
    -- A quick friendly wave/'Thanks' before or after taking unsuspecting subjects photo goes a long way to establishing a level of comfort, as you might happen upon the same subject again.
    -- RTFM & practice.
    -- Sometimes you have to shoot in shitty conditions, you just have to persist and wait for the good shots to appears.
    -- Have a gameplan, set a mental goal.
    -- Be nice to the Officials at any Event, they might cut you some slack when you need to overstep a little :)
    -- Always keep a quick snack like a Mars Bar or some Oreo Biscuits, this will cut down on your break time and let you shoot more.
    -- Be Clear about your intentions for taking a photo, any hesitation when asked will make people uncomfortable. Offer to delete photos if they want.
    -- Take one shot and Use the Preview to quickly judge if the settings are right. More often then not you need to tweak something.
    -- Slinging the Camera over your right shoulder is much better than around the neck and You can always keep is securely gripped with your right hand at all times. It wont tire your neck.

    Its a long read but I would love to get your feedback :)
    Latest Given Reputation Points:
    initpidzero: 100 Points (good work lad.) Sep 26, 2013
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    initpidzero, harryneopotter and JD666 like this.

    BANHAMMER Teh Almighty BanHammer Staff Member

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    I would have loved to see pics here on forum, but since it is done it is done.
    JD666 likes this.
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    Long read for sure dbg, gotta go thru it again :p

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