Newb here..

EvertkingEvertking ArkansasRegistered Users Posts: 10 Big grins
edited May 24, 2017 in People
I'm not seeing a section for us newbies that have questions. Am I over looking it?
I have been asked to take a group photo (8 people) and I have a 24-70 2.8 and a flash. Will this do the job? Just put them in the shade and fire the flash from the camera?
Sorry if this is post is in the wrong spot.

Comments

  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins

    There isn't a one size fits all answer here.

    The best solution is to get the light source (flash) away from the camera. Personally for people, I like shoot through umbrellas. If you do not have that option, shade can be your friend (but not always).

    Next you need to decide if your going to balance for the background or if you're going to allow it to blow out a bit. This is where shooting with a lone flash can present issues.

    One option is to shoot very early in the morning or evening when the sun is low in the sky, then you can place the group so that the sun is either far to their left or right and slightly behind (based on your position). Using subtle shade from this standpoint will be a little easier if possible without creating limbs or trees or buildings or whatever from growing out of the group.

    Have you visited the location at around the same time of day as the shoot will be to see where the light/shadows fall?

    Steve

    Website
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,542 moderator

    User "Cygnus Studios" (Steve) is giving good advice. Additionally:

    If this is a paying proposition I highly recommend you recruit a local professional or advanced enthusiast photographer familiar with your situation and able to provide on-site assistance. Alternately, hire someone who can demonstrate they have done this, and then work as their assistant.

    Some cameras and some external flashes allow the camera's built-in flash to act as a Master/Controller/Commander for the external and off-camera flash (the Slave flash). If your system supports this scenario, then you may be able to use the external flash as the Key light and the built-in flash as the Fill light. This can be beneficial in either an open-shade or deep-shade environment. Typically, you will want either a light stand or an assistant to hold the external flash.

    Steve's recommendation for using a shoot through umbrella is good, but be aware that those umbrellas can absorb 1.5 to 2 stops of light. In an outdoor situation you may need multiple external flash to provide sufficient light for good control over ambient. Outdoors, a silver-matte reflective umbrella (and ideally a parabolic or semi-parabolic shape) may yield better lighting efficiency (although a more "specular" type of light). At any rate, only a top-tier flash is likely to provide sufficient light for an outdoor, full-length group-of-8 portrait in open shade (partly depending upon the configuration of the group).

    Outdoors, and under trees in either open-shade or deeper into the trees, be aware of both "doppled" light and green-filtered (poisoned) light from the trees. Doppled light is where some of the light is direct patches of sunlight streaming though the tree's canopy, while green-filtered light is from the leaves passing some green light onto the subject. Both can be rather ugly forms of ambient/available light for people photography. If you cannot either over-power or otherwise subdue these kinds of light, you will likely wind up with undesirable results.

    Open-shade under a park shelter or high canopy is generally better for light, but usually worse for background. Scouting and shooting tests beforehand is pretty important to know what's available and to know what to reserve.


    Finally, just to punctuate what Steve suggested, practice at the actual site where you intend to shoot, and at the same time and weather conditions as you might encounter. Have a couple of people who can stand-in as a smaller group, but shoot them as if you were shooting the larger group. Try different setups before the actual event. This prior knowledge, what works and what doesn't work, is essential for the time of the event itself.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • EvertkingEvertking ArkansasRegistered Users Posts: 10 Big grins
    edited May 24, 2017
    No, it's nothing more than works softball team.. but I would like for it to at least look decent lol
    Thanks for all the help. I will try the flash.. some of the group will not be able to make it so could be anything from 8-12 so im not sure who all will show up for the pic. I will just try to place them in the shade.. but there is a building in the background. How should I meter this and use the flash?
  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Super Moderators Posts: 22,542 moderator

    As a "for instance", back in 2006 my son and I participated in a Father-Son Retreat with his football team and their fathers. On the last day it was suggested to shoot all of the kids, together. All I had was my Canon XT/350D and Sigma 18-50mm, f2.8 standard zoom with me. But, I had brought a full kit of small flashes and a couple of 10' stands, just in case.

    If I recall correctly, I set up two of the flashes on stands flanking the camera, with an additional flash on camera for fill. Likely, these were all compact Sigma flashes, but the highest output Sigma had available at the time. I believe that I used white, reflective umbrellas for the flanking flashes.

    The kids were located in half of an outdoor pavilion (with other kids playing basketball in the other half). The light outside of the pavilion was full and direct sunlight, so ambient inside the open pavilion was open shade.

    Settings were probably full-pop output for the flanking flashes and less for the fill flash, optical slaves, 18mm, f4, 1/200th.

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • Cygnus StudiosCygnus Studios Commercial Photographer San Francisco's North BayRegistered Users Posts: 2,294 Major grins

    @Evertking said:
    No, it's nothing more than works softball team.. but I would like for it to at least look decent lol

    Thanks for all the help. I will try the flash.. some of the group will not be able to make it so could be anything from 8-12 so im not sure who all will show up for the pic. I will just try to place them in the shade.. but there is a building in the background. How should I meter this and use the flash?

    There are options here also depending on what you like. Personally I always set the camera to meter for the background and then use lights for the subjects. Depending on how bright the background is, one flash will probably not be enough.

    Some people like their backgrounds to be slightly brighter, it's a matter of taste to a point. What you don't want is a completely blown out background, that is distracting to the eye.

    As ziggy pointed out, a bounce back umbrella is also an option, but usually I recommend that to photographers who want to shape light more than actually lighting up the subjects. It certainly can be used for fill lighting. Bounce backs give more options, and can be fun if you know how to use them well.

    I would suggest that you find the softest shadows that you can find, this will allow the single flash to maybe cover your group. It's hard to do a big group with one light, but possible if you work out the scene properly.

    One last option if just the one flash won't work is to get yourself some reflectors. Those cheap white foam boards work well, although you'll need people or some good C stands to use as helpers to direct the light back onto the group.

    Steve

    Website
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