Hidden on Cornelia Street in the West Village lies the beautiful Palma restaurant in NYC. The entrance is unassuming, but once you step inside, you’re immediately surrounded by the quaint ambiance of a small Italian villa.
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My client, Michelle, and I connected through a mutual friend, the amazing photographer Wini Lao, when she was looking for a photographer to capture candid moments at her engagement dinner.
The private event took place on the second floor where family and friends mingled interchangeably between Palma’s outdoor terrace and the Carriage House Library. There were about 20 people in attendance, including myself, but space is pretty limited which made photographing candid moments and group photos quite the challenge! Using a prime wide-angle or a zoom lens under 35mm is definitely recommended for tight quarters.
Since the engagement dinner was when there was still a lot of natural light, I tried to photograph as much as I could on the outside terrace. I knew once everyone went inside to the Carriage House Library it would become significantly harder to take pictures. I had brought the Godox TT685S Thinklite TTL Flash as a backup in case the room was too dark, but even on TTL mode, it would take too long to figure out exposure settings. Foregoing the flash and working with the natural light, I upped my ISO to compensate and prayed the pictures wouldn’t be too disastrous in post.
One of the key features and draws of using a Sony mirrorless camera is its low light ability, but personally, I really dislike seeing ANY grain. Here I was bumping up ISO to ~8000-20,000! What ended up saving every low light picture to look as natural as possible was a plugin, Topaz Labs DeNoise AI, that I previously purchased for times like these. If you look at the pictures of the interior and table decorations you can’t even tell how much editing went into them. Looks naturally ambient, right?
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