Edit: Oh wow. Ken posted a quick and easy answer while I was writing this guide! Tripod works, but is a pain in the neck on field. Usually. If you can get one and don’t mind hauling one around, tripod is the best solution. Use the below guide for handheld shooting
I can’t tell from your reply if you’re using the original Rebel or the Rebel XT. There were some (very useful) options that were locked out in the Rebel, and could be unlocked through downloading a hacked firmware. The XT has all of these features unlocked. I don’t know if ISO was one of them.
Arrgghh… the problem with CD is that you don’t know how much experience a person has in photography. Carol, If I make you look like an idiot, I apologize now. I’m just starting from square one. Heck, might help others anyways.
With that matter out of the way, I would suggest setting your ISO to 1600. If you’re using the XT, 1600 isn’t that bad, as long as the exposure is good. Secondly, I would suggest taking a little more control of your camera in shooting, rather than leaving in automatic.
I assume you’re using the kit lens. Not to rub it in your face that you don’t have fancy lenses or anything :o . The kit lens is actually quite nice, and is often underrated and laughed at. It’s got a decent range, it’s lightweight, and has surprisingly good glass for a kit lens. As a matter of fact, I should probably use it more often, since at the moment all it does it rot on my bookshelf. Anyways even though it’s not nearly as fast as most people would want to use in such dim lighting, but evidently it’s still usable, seeing as I shot VCU mainly with a f/3.5-5.6 too.
Back to the task at hand, you can probably try doing what I did for VCU.
Seeing as everyone’s lenses (unless you happen to own the $5k 50mm f/1) won’t have a wide enough aperture to effectively use shutter-speed priority (“Tv”), set your camera to aperture priority (“Av”). Then, open your aperture all the way up or stop it down a notch for a (usually dramatic, not sure about kit lens) increase in image quality.
This should give you a somewhat usable shutter speed. As a coup de grace, if you can under the lighting on field, set your exposure compensation to -2/3 or -1/3. This will not only reduce the glare from the excessive lighting, it will also give your shutter speed a rather hefty boost. Note that so far, I’ve yet to mention flash. With my 420EX and the above settings, I was getting about 1/125 for most of my shots on field. With the built-in flash, I’d guess anywhere from 1/60 to 1/100 would be your result.
In case you got lost, heres a checklist.
- ISO 1600 (or highest you’re willing to go)
- Aperture Priority.
- Open the aperture up, wide open (smallest number).
- Ehhh… I’m not sure about built-in flash. Experiment and see.
- Experiment! That’s the great thing about digital! Shots not working? Play with exposure factors like shutter speed and shooting angle!
Oh, and this hastily written guide can be used for any DSLR. Needless to say, the better equipment you’ve got, the better result’s you’re going to get. Still, almost anything can be used to counteract a slow shutter speed. If you’ve got an SLR, you can play with many factors. Together they all add up.
Well, covered shooting on field. Now, onto getting the crowd.
Unfortunately, I had lots of trouble with this too. Even a full-power blast from my flash wasn’t that good. All it did was blind the people in front of me and dimly illuminate the crowd a little more. What I discovered you can do is get a more general shot of the crowd, perhaps walking as far away as you can, and then getting the entire field and as much of the crowd as you can in a single shot. This helps also create a sense of atmosphere. As for individual teams and such in the stands, this is very difficult. If I couldn’t do it with decent gear, then no one can with insane gear. That’s the way light works.
Man, this is a huge post. I hope it helps.