I am photographing a Luncheon for HIP Housing, and the keynote speaker was singer, actor, and social activist Harry Belafonte. Because I was on a tight schedule, I checked with the event planner and found that I could photograph Belafonte during the "meet and greet"/book signing from 11:00 to 12:00 noon, and during his scheduled speech from 12:30 to 1:00 pm. Since I had to leave at 12:45 to meet a 1:00 appointment, I would have only 15 minutes of "lens time" while he spoke.
First, I did some shots during the book signing, and for the most part, got some pretty ordinary "smile for the camera" shots. I did submit one to the editor, since people generally like to have their photos in the newspaper, especially when their standing next to a celebrity. Bounce flash, nothing fancy.
The photo pretty much follows all of the basic rules of composition. However, it lacks sparkle. With everybody looking at the book, you really can see anyone's eyes. And how could you tell if it was actually Harry Belafonte? Well, at least I had a shot.
I then moved into the dining room, and while the guest were eating, I walked around the room, looking for a vantage point. I found a spot where I could photograph from a low position and not interfere with anybody's view of the speakers. I decided to return to the back wall and determine whether I would use flash while I shot. When the first speaker took the stage, I turned on the flash and made a shot.
Yikes! This was horrible! What had gone wrong? The white balance was set to the Flash preset, but the color was a strange blend, halfway between incandescent and flash. At that point I realized that the ambient light was of an intensity nearly equal to the light from my bounced flash. Since I was already set to 1/200 at 3.5, ISO 1600, I couldn't reduce the effect of the ambient that much, since my top flash shutter speed was 1/250, only a 1/3 stop decrease. So I decided to turn off the flash, set the white balance to the Incandescent preset, and try again.