Help! - Shooting a Large Group Tomorrow

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by ShadowForce, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. ShadowForce


    Mar 26, 2006
    Dayton, OH
    I've been asked to take a family photo tomorrow of roughly 20 people. It'll have to be outdoors and I suspect that I'll plan it for around 7:30 or so to avoid the harsh sunlight.

    I don't have my strobes with me on this trip but do have 2 SB-800's. How would you suggest using the SB-800's or would you use them at all?

  2. If you can trigger them remotely I would put them on stands and put one on each side of the camera pointed inward some. I would raise the stands high enough that the flashes would be pointed downward a little so as to cast any shadows downward and not have the first rows shadows interfere with the ones behind. If you have umbrellas I would consider using them so as to soften the shadows. Put the stands close to the group as you can but not so close as to interfere with the line of sight from your camera position. I would use the camera on manual and the flashes on TTL.

    If you can put the group in a shaded area do so. Meter the background and set it at -1 and let the TTL set the level of the flashes. Do not let the shutter speed exceed the the sync speed of the camera. If it is bright out set the shutter speed at the sync speed and adjust the meter with the aperature (camera on manual). If the group is too bright or too dark, adjust the flash level by clicking the up or down arrow keys on the flash.

    This should go well so don't fret.
  3. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    The only thing I'll add to Gordon's excellent advice is, to make sure you think about the size of the prints you'll be making, normally 8x10 and above for this size group. 8x12's will give you close to the full frame on your D200, but it's an awkward size photo. If you're printing 8x10's, remember you are going to lose about 1/6 of your frame to the be really carfeul when framing the shot, and don't have people all the way to the edges of your frame. Position the group deeper, rather than wider, i.e., three rows of seven as opposed to two rows of 10

    Stop down for good depth of field, edge sharpness, etc and shoot LOTS of frames and you should be good to go. Let us know how it works out.
  4. ShadowForce


    Mar 26, 2006
    Dayton, OH
    Gordon and Ray,

    Thanks so much for the detailed advice! I think I'm going to pick up an extra light stand today because I only brought one with me!

    Hopefully the rain in Indianapolis will hold off this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.
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