1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

:Results Posted:Quick help needed for group portrait.

Discussion in 'People' started by Harry Lavo, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. Quicky question. In about three hours I need to shoot a group of 30 people, outside, bright sun, sun will be at my back, their faces. I'm shooting with a Nikon D50 and probably a 50 1.8. This is not my normal type of gig, so I'd like some expert opinion.


    * Would you use matrix metering, or centerweighted?

    * Would you use central area focusing, or matrix focusing, or doesn't it matter? Closest subject or not?

    * What would you consider optimum apature setting. I anticipate the group will be three or four rows deep, front to back. I'll be using a tripod, so SS is not critical above a certain point.

    Any and all quick but considered responses will be appreciated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2007
  2. ouch! is there any way you can get them under some shade? anywhere?

    I'd shoot matrix, and still use your flash for fill...f8 or f11
  3. Stop the aperture down to give yourself enough DOF to keep all the rows in focus. Take a few and see what you like - if there's one universal truth about large group portraits, the first few are ruined by someone blinking or putting up rabbit ears behind someone's head, so you should have time to make a few adjustments.

  4. I agree with Chris... get them in the shade and use a flash. If the background is bright use fill-flash. Bring a step stool to get high. Carefully stage your 30 people, shorter in the front (on their knees?), med height, then tall.

    Shoot ISO 100 or 200, F5.6 to F8. Matrix or center zone metering, standard focus area. Take the diffusor off the flash.

    If you do not have a SB600 or 800 (or equivalent) shoot with the sun at your back ISO 100, F8 and pray that there is a little overcast.... otherwise they will all will be squinting...

    Good luck.... let us know how it went....
  5. I don't think shade will be possible.

    I was thinking F8, but will also use F11 to cover myself.
  6. Thanks, Sean. I think Chris suggestion of F8 or F11 is where I'll start. That seem okay to you?
  7. Only the on-camera flash, and the D50 only goes down to ISO200. But I hear ya, thanks.
  8. I think f8 is a good place to start. Does the d50 have a dof preview button?

    FWIW, I tell jokes and stuff during portraits for large groups - keeps people loose and gives me time to change settings and review shots!
  9. Billy Ng

    Billy Ng

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hartsdale, NY
    Don't ignore Sunny 16 ... it'll work for you here since it's midday sun.

    My recommendations

    Manual mode
    ISO 100
    Add fill flash

    That should work just fine for you. Bracket to make sure.

    1/200th, 1/400, and 1/100 will keep you covered.

  10. Billy Ng

    Billy Ng

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hartsdale, NY
    Sorry .. missed the ISO200 part.


    Bracket 1/500th, 1/1000th, 1/250th. That will cover you.

  11. Thanks, Billy. Got them memorized.
  12. Here are the results.

    Funny how things work out. The coach and owner got their signals crossed, and so the photo shoot was delayed until late afternoon/early evening instead of mid-afternoon. By then, the one place in the whole sports complex that had some shade, had some shade. So I used it. That was, of course, the main advice given...find some shade.

    I ended up moving to my Sigma at 24mm for the group photo, in order to get a little more setting into the shot...at the expense of a minute amount of CA around the pants of some of the players. Then I shot some of the outfielders who rarely get into my game shots in individual photos using my 85 1.8. I've included my final choice for team photo, and one of one of the outfielders below at 50% reduction and cropped to size (5x7 team, 6x4 individual):

    NIKON D50    ---    26mm    f/11.0    1/20s    ISO 200

    1/20s f/11 26mm iso200

    A little overexposure from the background sky in one corner, but not enought to ruin the shot. If I had better photoshop skills I could probably mask it (but see below).

    NIKON D50    ---    85mm    f/2.4    1/250s    ISO 200

    1/250s f/2.4 85mm iso200

    Now for the kicker. The owner and manager forgot to notify two team members who were not at practice because of illness/injury, and did not realize this until afterwards....so I've been asked to shoot the team shot over...guess when? ... in the middle of the day before a game on Sunday! So all the "sun advice" will probably come in handy after all. But if I can find enough shade under that tree......
  13. My sincere thanks to those who responded here with excellent advice. See the results in my response to Chris....I think it turned out fine, but I didn't end up having to shoot in the sun. However, I may still have to....stay tuned...

    BTW, all predicted came true...including throwaways on the first two shots because of clowning...I actually used them as exposure tests... And a joke or two didn't hurt as well.
  14. Well, as long as you have to shoot it again, see if you can get the front row to all wear similar shoes and not show or all show the same amount of sock, it would unify the shot a little more. Good luck in the hot sun, better you than me! :) 
  15. hey Harry, looks good. One suggestion from Scott Kilby comes to mind....as I *think* the 4th player from the left and the 3rd player from the right have their eyes closed....is to have everyone close their eyes, you count down 3-2-1 and at 1 they all open their eyes. Helps to ensure that everyone's eyes are open and not blinking. I've tried it and it does work.

    Well, the forecast is rain on Sunday, so maybe you'll luck out and just get overcast out by you.
  16. Good idea, thanks Chris.

    As to the weather, we are more likely to get rain....don't know what we'll do then. Maybe live with the one we have.

  17. Back to Square One

    Well, since rain is forecast tomorrow the makeup game has been scheduled to move to Wednesday, when sunshine is forecast. So we are back to square one.....probably a sunshine shoot (the shade under the tree is pretty mottled by sunlight at that time).
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.