Birthday Party

The occasion: a family birthday party. The location: a boat on the Thames on a Saturday night, in 1920’s costume. The challenge was to take the photos, delivered in a monochrome / sepia finish.

Why was it a challenge? Simply put, I don’t normally do people photography. I don’t normally do indoor flash photography. I have never tried a people based mono / sepia conversion! But how hard could it really be?

The last was most easily solved. A hunt around the internet soon brought me to some Darktable “Styles” (similar to Lightroom presets). a quick look through these gave me one which would process the photos in a slightly soft sepia tone. In practice I did tweak the style a bit, to get what I wanted.

People photography in this context is actually not particularly hard, being much easier than shooting a wedding, for example. It is mainly a matter of ensuring that there is a p-leasing picture of everybody there, along with a few group / amusing / silly pictures. lighting can be an issue, but the requirement of sepia processing actually made this a bit easier to handle.

The Photo Gear

My Nissin Speedlite is only compatible with the Canon EOS 450D. So, really, there was nothing special in taking the photos. The 17-50 f/2.8 zoom on one camera and the 50mm f/1.8 on the other, occasionally swapped around produced a good set of results. Using the flash, even with a Sto-fen fitted, resulted in a stop or so of overexposure. In the belief that this would work well with the mono and sepia toning I let that stay uncorrected. I shoot RAW in any case, so was not too worried.

Processing was completed in Darktable. Check out the slide show below for my favourites.

Looking ahead, maybe I should do more of this type of photography!


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Call us silver surfers or empty nesters if you will. Our kids call us hippies. Our friends just accept us as we are.
Juggling jobs and travels, eating good food, and taking photos. We are living our lives our way. Life is a journey!

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