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Photo Problems at California Council for the Social Studies Conference

Calling all photographers.  I’ve been away at a conference, so my first day back into the blogging community, and I’m begging for help!

I seem to have photographic disasters every time I try to take indoor photos of important things like conferences.  The CCSS Conference was a major success with nearly 800 in attendance, but my pictures are worse than embarrassing!

I have a Canon Xti Camera.  My problem used to be lighting, so I switched to program rather than automatic, and adjust the lighting. The result is that I didn’t use flash.  When I switched to automatic and used flash, the picture came out bluer and harsh.

CCSS 52nd Conference

When I didn’t use automatic, some, but not all, of my photos are blurry.  Do I need a tripod?  Part of the movement seems to come from the people themselves as much as my movement.

Here is an untouched photograph that I really needed to come out beautiful.

CCSS 52nd Conference

Here is the same photo touched up with my drawing pad, so that it is now more like a painting than a photo.

CCSS 52nd Conference

Are there any Photoshop remedies for blurry pictures.  I love what Photoshop does for bad lighting, but that is not MY only problem!

HELP!  What should I do?  I have important people who need and deserve better pictures than I took!

38 replies »

  1. Wish I could help, Marsha. With my little Photoshop experience I can’t offer any remedies. Though, I too will be interested in any helpful comments… Here’s to lots of help… 😉


    • Thanks! My hubby asked me this evening after I had spend hours trying to design a brochure for tomorrow, “Do you want to be good at everything?” It just seems like there is so much need to be good at everything, and I’m just not! Very frustrating to me!!! Oh well…. being bad at things sure keeps me busy!!! 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement, Carolyn 🙂 Marsha 🙂


  2. Oh goodness Marsha, you’ve been through it all haven’t you. Indoor lighting is very tricky. While a flash can help, it doesn’t sent the light very far into an area so your subject has to be close (usually 15-20 feet away). Normally the blur happens because the dim lighting (compared to outdoor lighting) requires the camera to make a long exposure. And anything that moves during that exposure like the people, or even you while holding the camera can cause blur. A tripod is an excellent way to help reduce that but it’s not always easy to use in a situation like you describe. Pro’s also use very fast (and expensive) lenses that help the camera make the photo quicker. A less expensive solution you might try is to increase the “ISO” setting of the camera (usually done with the turn of a dial or menu selection) which helps it take photos quicker. I suspect your camera might be taking photos at 100 or 200 ISO. But you might experiment with increasing that to 400, 600 or possibly 800. The higher you, the more the quality will decrease but it will help the photos stay sharper. Hope this helps a little.


    • Thanks so much! Another question is what can I do with the bad pictures I already have, since I can’t recreate the situation? Any ideas? I will try your suggestions tomorrow at another event. 🙂 Marsha 🙂


  3. Marsha, I may be able to shed some light on your problem. First it appears your white balance is off. With point and shoot cameras you don’t have a lot of control over that but if you are using a larger SLR you can adjust it; check your owner’s manual or google it. The problem arises when you are shooting in a room with multiple light sources like one having both fluorescent and incandescent lighting. The first image is too “cool” and the second and third are too “warm.”
    I used to have that problem when I shot events at our local library. Most times I leave my camera on A for auto WB (white balance). Play around with the WB to get the best image or one that is the easiest to correct in editing.
    Next problem that I see is when people overshoot their flash. An onboard flash may only shoot up to 10 feet. A good mounted flash can shoot up to 50 feet. But keep in mind that a flash works only if it has something to “bounce” off of back to the camera. So if you are in a large room (conference centers, gyms, football fields) the flash will seek out the nearest subject to bounce light back to the camera. If there isn’t anything close enough all of the image is in the dark or underexposed.
    Also, if you are not giving your flash time to recover (recharge) between shots, you will find that you are basically shooting without a flash on the second shot and it becomes blurry (second and third shot). Tripods won’t help if people are moving. A larger lens with a smaller focal point will allow more shooting range indoors.
    Also, do you remember what I told you about ISO? The larger the ISO, the better your camera will work indoors.
    Rule of Thumb on ISO:
    100-200; bright sunlight
    300-400; cloudy days or indoors with a good flash
    1600; some indoors without a flash (depends on lens)
    3600; indoors without flash and outdoors at night with no flash if you have a good lens
    The best teacher is experience, so take your camera, flash and find a big room with few people in it and start practicing; be sure to keep notes.
    I hope this helps.


    • It seems that I am not too great either. But I’ll learn! 🙂 Thanks Dianne. How’s the house going. I haven’t had time to visit everyone’s blogs. OUr conference is over, but History Day is tomorrow, and after that another event, then company. Yikes!!! Then back to blogging!!! Hope things are going well. I miss you and all your adventures!! ie Mr. guy in the rain on the roof!!! I just love your posts! 🙂 Marsha 🙂


  4. Marsha,
    You have two seperate problems that are easily fixed. Blue pictures are due to improper white balance. Indoors choose floresent or incandescent. The owners manual will explain how. The color of each light is different. This will fix it. The blurry pictures can be fixed by changing ISO to 800. Leave on program and shoot away. Setting ISO is in the owners manual.


  5. Babs might have some tips. I do know the more you use zoom, the worse the pictures. Closer to the subject helps. Someone mentioned White Balance, many cameras have Scene selection that can reduce blue tint or too red. Set ISO up higher, as someone suggested. I have to practice. Babs has shot tens of thousands of pictures, that helps to figure out settings!!


    • I prefer outside shots, and shots that aren’t important. This was an awards ceremony with the Chief Justice of the State of California. Talk about pressure. Her body guard had to check me out to make sure it was ok if I was close to her. I was invited to sit at her table for dinner, which was such an honor. But I’m afraid my pictures weren’t very good. I didn’t even bring my camera to dinner in case someone would think I was qualified, but I was asked to get it. Our organization needs Babs!!!! You guys need to move closer so that I can have another pretend daughter – I collect them – and sons, too. My first husband and I weren’t able to have children, so I have pretend kids scattered all over the country. I’ve added Babs to my list. I hope you don’t mind sharing!!!! 🙂 Marsha 🙂


      • Sorry to hear your first husband and you did not have any children. I did not take my camera into the last convention either. We keep working on another job so will see where it lands. Steve


          • I haven’t the funds or really the time to set up a business, still not thrilled with what happened in 2001 with freelancing then. So focusing on work I do now. Renewables seem to be kinda flat right now, so am turning more to same work I do now. Not sure about Defense work with the endless cutbacks, worrisome. Not to give up but press on and something will come aoubt. Just got resume finalized from old style to modern bullets, easy to tune for a specific job ad or position.


          • I wish you the very best. Let me know if I can ever help in any way, though I’m not loaded with influence or pull! I can always lend a listening ear! By the way if you would rather email, my email is almost the same as my website. 🙂


  6. Marsha, Rick and Darla above are right on. Your other problem may only be fixed by using Photo Shop or some other program. It’s the pits when things don’t go right.


    • You got that right. I deleted several pictures on the spot, but these were some of my ok ones. I’m not as worried about the blue ones as I am about the out of focus ones. I’ve learned how to adjust hue somewhat, but the out of focus ones are much worse. Once in a while they come out great. Thanks for your help! Marsha 🙂


      • When I was taking classes I was told a good photographer never shows his/her bad photos. In the Augusta,GA phgoto week and classes there was a class I took that showed some photos that where blurry and called it new photo art.Like the one I posted a few weeks ago. It takes time and a lot of practice.


  7. I turn blurry photos into art. Photoshop has a lot of filters that can do the trick. Photoshop, and probably others, are working on algorithms to make blurry photos crisp and clear but I think it’s still a few years away. I guess it depends a lot on the power of the computer chips that would be running the algorithms.


    • If you learn something about fixing them, let me know! Meanwhile, I’ll keep them to practice on! I’ll just have to go with the best!!! 🙂 Yikes!!! 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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