Trouble Shooting redux

I'll probably post some examples a little later today, but I wanted to give everyone an update on my shoot I had last night.  Well, like I thought, it was cold and very dark. 

For the group portrait, I shot two ways, high-iso medium-aperture in order to try to equalize the subjects in the foreground with the buildings in the background. It worked to a point.  It's a little noisy, especially after my brand of retouching, and the guy in the back isn't perfectly sharp.  But it's passable.

The second option was to shoot them with a smaller aperture to get them all in focus and make up the difference with the flash, but which left me with too little light to hold the background.  Before they got there I took some long exposures of the background, which I then merged in post.  The result is passable, in fact, the average person would probably never question it, but then you see it next to one of the single shots, it looks a tiny bit off.  Again, passable but not super.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm a bit anal about my photography. Scratch that. I'm just plain anal about it.  I need my pictures to be good, so I hate situations where there is no perfect answer and it's just the lesser of two evils.  Last night was definitely one of those.  Though I don't know what I could have done differently, it still bothers me. We'll see what the client has to say.

On a brighter note, during the individual portraits, I got some really nice shots of one of the guys. we were standing on a corner down on Wall street and the sum of all of the lit buildings and street lights and headlights of running cop cars led to this storm of light that looked really cool at 1600 iso and short depth of field.

Anyway, more later.