Museum photography
Hi everyone,.

This upcoming weekend I'm going to an anthropology museum here in Philly and I'd love to take some breathtaking shots, but I'm afraid that my "unsaviness" in photography might come in the way of my grand plans..

I own a Canon Powershot SX100 IS which lets me control Apperture and Shutter Speed, also it lets me control ISO..

Could you please give me pointers on what settings to use to get great shots?.

Also, do you think a tripod would be appropriate?.

Thanks in advance!!!..

Comments (6)

First of all, check beforehand that the museum will let you use a camera. Here in the UK most don't..

Secondly check whether they will let you use a tripod. If they do, great - most of your problems will be solved. Take the tripod along and use it as much as possible..

If you can't use a tripod, I would use the following settings. Shoot as much as possible at the wider end of your zoom range and turn on image stabilisation. Generally don't try to use the flash unless you are very close (a few feet) and there is no glass immediately in front of you to create reflections..

Set the camera to aperture priority and set the aperture to it's minimum value - f2.8 at the wide end. Set the ISO to 80 and half press to see what shutter speed you get. At the wide end with IS turned on you need a minimum shutter speed of about 1/5 to 1/10. At full zoom you need about 1/50-1/100 minimum. If your shutter speed is too slow try turning up the ISO, but image quality will suffer especially above ISO 200. You may be able to use lower shutter speeds if you rest the camera on or against something.

If you are using a tripod you can leave the camera on automatic (but set the ISO at 80). Make sure that the flash is turned off and preferably use the self timer to take shots. Using the self timer allows any vibrations caused by your pushing the button to die down before the shot is taken..

Try to keep other people out of your shots - this may be difficult..

If you really have problems you may have to restrict yourself to shooting in places where there is plenty of light..

Best of luck.Chris R..

Comment #1

Great advice Chris, I appreciate it. I will post pictures depending on the outcome. Thanks a lot!..

Comment #2

I am the director of a museum. We allow photography of all our exhibits, but flash is limited to those that are not affected by UV light. We do NOT allow tripods unless arrangements have been made in advance. I suspect many other museums have similar practices (or even don't allow photography at all). I strongly suggest that you call the office of the director and inquire about bringing a tripod and taking low-light shots without flash..


Comment #3

Hi Jerry,.

I checked the museum website and it says that private, non-commercial photography is allowed, and they do not allow the use of tripods. I really don't want to use flash, since I know museums are not very fond of it's use, that's why I asked my question..

Thank you for your insight...what museum do you direct?.


Comment #4

Some museums that do not allow tripods do allow monopods. You might check on this..


Comment #5


I am director of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Kansas. You can find more info on my zenfolio site, below. If you cannot use a tripod or flash, I doubt that you can get decent photos (I've tried in my own museum, and the lighting in most areas is to low for good photographs even at f1.8 and an ISO of 1600)..


Comment #6

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