Learn how to Optimize the Panasonic G1/GH1 for indoor or party scenes in this digital Photography tutorial from LBGuides.
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For indoor pictures, there are a couple of things you can do. One thing is very, very simple. Go ahead and turn your mode dial to portraits and in the back, go ahead and choose indoor from the options. Press set and what this does is automatically set the white balance and ISO. It also set the auto-focus mode to face detect. Now, this is fine if you are actually taking a picture of a portrait indoors. Keep in mind with the white balance set to auto-white balance, your indoor pictures may come out very yellowish because the auto-white balance has a very hard time compensating for incandescent or halogen lights.
So the other thing you can do is turn your mode dial back to P for program, again this is what we normally use because this gives us the flexibility we need to control white balance and ISO. Let's go ahead and change our ISO and white balance. Just press the up navigation button to set the ISO. Mine is currently set to 100 but indoors, that’s probably not going to be enough. So I’ll increase that a bit to 400. Now, this is not necessarily the case in every situation. Sometimes even when you’re indoors, you do have enough light for the 100 ISO but most of the time, you don’t have nearly as much light as you would at outdoors so therefore, you need a higher ISO to compensate for the lack of light.
Go ahead and press set, now press the WB button here to set the white balance and move over to the tungsten or the halogen setting. Go ahead and press set. Now the white balance and ISO are properly set. My focus is set to the center as opposed to face detect, I can change that if I want but I’m pretty comfortable with having it set this way. I can focus on the face and then recompose the image very easily. If you are going to use the flash indoors, go ahead and pop it using the flash switch here and keep in mind, when you press the shutter button halfway to look at the values set by the camera.
Right now, because I do have a lot of light in my scene, my aperture is set to F11. For the portraits, that’s not really good. If I’m just taking a picture of the room indoors, that might be exactly what I want. However, if I am taking a picture of the room, I may want to consider not using the flash because it won’t be able to illuminate the entire room. For pictures of people however, I may want to have a writer aperture opening such as 4.5 or 5 in order to have a more narrowed depth the field, so not everything is in focus.
With the flash up and the mode dial set of program, I can't really do that. So you may want to really consider whether you want to use the flash or not in this picture. I’ll go ahead and put the flash down, now when I press the shutter button halfway, you’ll notice that my aperture is a little bit wider and I can use the dial to make it even wider still. So I can go with an aperture of F5. My shutter speed is currently set to 1000, yours will probably not be that high because you won’t have nearly as much light as I have in my scene right now and now, I know my depth of field is great for a portrait, I’ll blur the blow the background and I can go ahead and take my picture.
If you’re taking a picture of a long table with a lot of people, then you probably want to have a longer depth of field and a more narrowed aperture opening. So go ahead and press the shutter button halfway to bring up the figures once again and use the dial again to change that value back up to 13, 14 something like that as long as your shutter speed is faster than 130th of a second with the image stabilization active, you should be just fine. So now, I’ll go ahead and focus on my target, again, if it's just one person, no problem. If it's a long table with people, then what you want to do, is focus on someone close to the center of the table. Press the shutter button halfway, let the camera focus on your target and then you can recompose with the shutter button still pressed halfway and then go ahead and press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the picture.
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