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Informal group shoot lighting setup with LIMITED FIREPOWER

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by SamIAM, May 8, 2007.

  1. My boss saw my insane obsession with photography and asked whether I can take an informal group photo of my group colleagues inside our office (a small group of about 12-14 people including CEO and president). The brave guy in me said yes. :redface:

    I do not have too much lighting at this moment.

    Built in flash of D200 + 1 SB800 + 1 SB600

    The place is moderately lit with fluorescent light. Gone thru the threads here to dig as much information I could. But the more the merrier...

    If you have read till this and if you are a pro you might be terribly mad. :biggrin: But the boring storey continues..

    I do have a spare tripod to mount one of the flash (say SB800) to use as Main light. Plan to use the SB600 (on camera or with a SC28 cord off camera) as Fill light. I do not have umbrellas. Only equipped with a ABBC (a better bounce card) and Gary Fong light sphere.

    [I plan to buy some umbrella and stands soon but I do not have time for this one.]

    With this limited resource, can you offer me some ideas to make this photo shoot successful. Specially the placement of flashes.

    I appreciate your suggestions, advices amd blessings.

    Kind regards,
  2. How about this?

    Put the SB800 in manual mode, and the SB600 in SU4 mode.

    Attach the Fong diffuser to your SB600, and put it on your tripod, raised to its highest level, to the left of the camera, positioned at 45 degrees to the person in the middle of your group of subjects. Aim the Fong-thingie directly at the subjects. That will be your main light. Set it at 1/2 power.

    Put the sb800 on your camera's hotshoe. It will be the fill light. Use the ABBC on it, and set it at 1/4 power.

    Take a test shot, check the histogram, and reset the flash power settings.

    Repeat the above as many times as necessary, until the histogram and the review of the image show a well exposed product.
  3. Great. Exactly this what I was looking for. Thanks a million.
    I have the shoot at 10:00 am tomorrow.

    When you say SB600 in Su4 mode, what shall I do:
    1) I put SB600 in remote mode and set D200 built in Flash in Commander mode and do not fire.
    2) Set SB800 on camera hot shoe on Master mode Manual.

    Kind Regards,
  4. Also another question on Lens.
    I plan to use 17-55 Dx for this shoot.
    What zoom angle is optimal or recommended for group portrait shot (I plan to use around 35mm) and what aperture is recommended (I plan to use around 7.1)?

    Thanks for tolerating these silly questions.
  5. Sorry, I don't think the SB600 has an SU4 mode. Let's reset.

    Use the SB800 in the hotshoe as the Commander. Put the ABBC on it, select manual mode, and set the power at 1/4. It will be the Commander and your fill flash.

    Attach the Fong diffuser to your SB600, and put it on your tripod, raised to its highest level, to the left of the camera, positioned at 45 degrees to the person in the middle of your group of subjects. Put it in remote mode, and manual mode. It will be your main light. Set it at 1/2 power. Aim the Fong-thingie directly at the middle subject.

    Take a test shot, check the histogram, and reset the flash power settings.

    The zoom setting will be related to how much room you have to shoot the group, and how tightly you pack them. I wouldn't use anything wider than 28mm, to mnimize perspective distortion.

    The aperture selection will be related too the level of ambient light in the room, and to your iso setting. Keep in mind that the tighter the aperture, the harder your flashes will have to work.

    Your best answers will be from your test shots.
  6. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    You might want to consider gelling your flashes. Your SB800 came with a set of gels, two of each I think. This will allow the ambient fluorescent to mix with the flash and not result in an ugly WB nightmare. Shoot in RAW.

    I see no reason in keeping a flash on the D200 itself. If you the office space uses a drop ceiling, you can rig the flashes to hang from the ceiling supports with a little bit of wire.

    You really need to have both flashes at 45 degree angles. Otherwise, one side will be darker than the other.
  7. Uncle Frank, Thanks a lot for your help.

  8. Great tips Joshua. Many thanks.
  9. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Practice with those gels first...so you can achieve the proper balance...also shoot RAW and set WB to Fluorescent, then adjust in a RAW converter.
  10. If it makes you feel any better, an idiot (me) with one SB800 set on i-TTL, poor house lighting and a better bounce card took this shot of this huge group.

    It's hardly a great photo but just gives you an idea of what the speedlights can do. All I did was fire the flash at the subjects with a homemade better bounce card flipped up for fill.

  11. Thanks Brian.
  12. Uncle Frank, Joshua and others. Sorry I could not provide update to that shooting. The shooting had been postponed due to unavailability of all the top guns together. But our Marketing chief saw some of the informal shots I took at office and giving me an opportunity to shoot some head-shots for a company brochure. It will be my first paid photoshoot. So I have immediately ordered the Impact Umbrella kit and as soon as it arrives, I will familiarize myself with handling it and some test sessions at home.

    Some images I took there using SB-800 on iTTL:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  13. Here's a thread I started on a group shot...some good advice in there. The one piece of advice that I highly recommend, is set the WB for the lighting conditions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  14. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Sam, your images seem dark. Did you use bounce flash. Share your shooting info with us.
  15. Thanks for pointing it out.

    I had the diffusion dome on my SB-800 in iTTL mode oncamera.
    (prior to that my Flash was in Manual 1/4th power. I assumed that when I switched to iTTL power level gets reset).

    Both the images are at 1/60 s F/2.8 ISO 100. Shall I go in S mode where I can go for higher shutter speed?

    (By mistake my Exposure comp was -1.3 EV and Flash had -.3ev. Should have checked histogram)

  16. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    Yeah, that was likely the culprit. Nice shots otherwise.

    You don't want to raise the shutter speed if our images are too dark...that would darken them more. Just make sure to get a nice balance with the Aperture and SS. Too low of a shutter speed and you might get ghost trails...dont go much lower than 1/60.
    The exposure you mentioned earlier was probably fine. Enough SS to stop motion and prevent camera shake, as well as a wide enough aperture to get ambient light in for the background. Try it again with no EV modifications and I think you'll be surprised. Also, shoot RAW..these two shots might have been salvageable if shot in RAW.
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