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I shoot stationary subjects that are subject to motion (like a standing person that might move vs a perfectly still landscape) with my camera hand held. Normally I try and stay at 1/200 or faster when shooting and it does me well.

I'm going to a night event to shoot photos in low light and I want to do everything possible to reduce camera shake so I can shoot slower shutter speeds so I don't need my ISO super high. So far I have learned to use mirror lockup, to reduce camera shake. I'm also bringing a tripod to steady the camera. Finally I'll use the 2 sec delay so I'm not touching the camera when it shoots. These should all help, but I don't know how much slower I'll be able to shoot than normal. I'm shooting people, so they will naturally be vulnerable to moving slightly so I can't shoot super slow at like 1/5s. But what about 1/30, 1/50 or 1/80s? What is the limit?

The t5i I'm using has a hand held night portrait mode which shoots 3 underexposed shots at 1/60s and stacks them, but it takes a long time to process and they don't usually turn out too sharp. I thought maybe instead I could use this tactic manually (with a tripod) and take as many faster shots as I wanted at my own desired speed and stack them in Photoshop so I have maximum control over the end product, but I've never tried it. Would this be more effective than what I mentioned before? Or are there any other additional suggestions?

Note: I'm shooting wide open on a 50mm f/1.8 with a crop sensor

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I'm going to a night event to shoot photos in low light

Flash. Use the flash. Did I mention using the flash ? :-)

and I want to do everything possible to reduce camera shake

Shake is really not the issue here. Motion blur in slow exposures is probably a bigger issue.

Flash eliminates both issues. A flash burst is extremely fast and will freeze all motion.

Done properly (hot shoe mounted flash, diffuse with a bounce card or similar) you also get a softer lighting that flatters the subject (usually).

so I can shoot slower shutter speeds

At an event ???? With people ????

I'm shooting people, so they will naturally be vulnerable to moving slightly so I can't shoot super slow at like 1/5s. But what about 1/30, 1/50 or 1/80s? What is the limit?

No. You'll get motion blur doing that. Why would you want that ?

Use flash to freeze motion and drag the shutter to capture backgrounds in a controlled way. There's a more updated way of thinking about dragging the shutter here. I'd suggest reading the original discussion and getting it clear in your mind before trying the modernized version.

This is a great technique to know for event shooting.

Having said that I've shot at f1.4 and ISO 3200 in quite a low light pub-type setting with good-ish results and without flash, but not an event - that was just a social gathering. The problem is that you're reduced to narrow depth of field and this is quite limiting for events. Shutter speeds were painfully slow in that case too.

At events you usually want a reasonable amount of depth of field available for groups. I'd never rely on available light wide aperture under these circumstances.

I'd use (yup) flash. That's a hot shoe mounted flash with bounce and tilt, normally with a bounce card or similar. Depends on exactly what you've got in the way of ceiling to work with.

so I don't need my ISO super high

Use high ISO. What's the point in having a large sensor if you're going to avoid using high ISO when you need it ?

mirror lockup 2 sec. delay

These are not useful for shooting people.

They are used to reduce shake, but you don't need that here, because the mirror lockup usually requires you to use a delay to get the best out of it. You'd typically use this for e.g. macro or long exposure stuff, maybe HDR.

But people shooting indoors is flash territory where possible (occasionally the venue won't let you).

  • +1 for "What's the point in having a large sensor if you're going to avoid using high ISO when you need it?" This is one of the Photography 201 -level lessons to learn. Clear crisp shots with high ISO are much preferable to low-ISO shots that are fuzzy because of too slow of a shutter speed caused by a desire for low ISO. – scottbb May 30 '17 at 1:58
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    @scottbb Seems like I've heard that somewhere before. photo.stackexchange.com/questions/40265/… – Michael C May 30 '17 at 5:21
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    @StephenG There are plenty of good answers here at Photo.SE about dragging the shutter. You might consider adding a few links to them as well. Internal links are much less likely to disappear than external ones. – Michael C May 30 '17 at 5:55

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