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Umbrella Questions (and more...)

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Jim Strathearn, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. I will be using two 5' bounce umbrellas w/ B800 AB's for a large family portrait. (17 family members...) I need to know how to position the umbrellas. Do I get them as high as I can, aimed up, down, perpendicular, angled in, straight on, etc? The portrait will be done in a home with 8' ceilings.

    What kind of fan do you use for a hair fan? How do you blow air from the front w/o making the model squint???

    I've been asked to do a portfolio for a co-worker's daughter. She is applying to a modeling school and they require a portfolio. Can you give me a minimum pose list that would constitute a decent portfolio?

  2. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    With a group that large you should aim to get the umbrellas as high as possible, angled down to face the group, and at 45 degrees or so to the group (one either side). If you have them too low, you run the risk of people in the front row blocking light from those behind.
  3. ShadowForce


    Mar 26, 2006
    Dayton, OH
    I think you run the risk of harsh shadows by positioning the lights at 45 degrees for a large group. I'd suggest having them directly behind your camera. You'll get "flat" lighting but it's much better than the shadows.
  4. as far as the fan... That's pretty tricky, I've seen things done with small fans to large commerical ones. Mostly it depends on the hair, so you may need to talk with a hair stylist who has done work like that.

    Or, (at least my experence with this stuff) all the school wants to see is the model and they could really care less about other things in the picture. Just do some good solid work and don't worry too much about a blowing hair shot.

    here is the best blowing hair shot I have.

    that's just done with a small fan on the floor pointing up, not great, but her hair wasn't setup with things like that in mind.
  5. My boss and I recently did a shoot for some school jazz groups that included about 25 people in the largest group. His set-up was to have them all on some steps (in-doors, about 3-4 rows and maybe 15-20 ft. wide). He placed the camera about 10-15 ft. from the 1st row, and then positioned two lights in what he calls the "butterfly" position... one each on a stand (about 8-9 ft. high) about even distance with the camera from the first row, and each one out from the camera about even with the last person in each row. Of course, we metered it all first, but he shot all the pictures at about f/10, 1/60th. They turned out great, a little flat, but as good as it gets in that situation. I wish I could draw you a picture... hope this helps. :smile:
  6. Thanks Bob!
  7. Sounds like good advice... :wink: Thanks!

    Nice gallery!
  8. Thanks Shaun!
  9. When it comes to the co-workers daugther, keep it simple it should be about her so dont get to "creative" with the lightning.

    As for blowing hair shots, i havent done much of it. But here is a snap of my daughter Jemima, i used a vacumcleaner on the floor infront of her. Medusa anyone ?


    /Paul L.
  10. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    This is indeed very good advice for even lighting of a group, and becomes very clear when you think it out.

    If the lights were at the camera pointing outward to the ends, then the 45 degree light path to the ends of the group is one stop less light at the end due to greater distance (square root of 2 and the inverse square law, etc). Plus two lights on the center is another stop there, so two stops brighter at the center than at either end. This way is tough.

    But if the lights were at each end of the group as suggested here, and both pointing in at the center at the 45 degree angle, then each light at the center is 1 stop less due to the greater distance. However, there are two lights adding at the center, so it comes out even again.

    The lighting at the ends is very even intensity, but shadows are more problem. Tell everyone that every face should have a clear view of both the camera, and the lights.
  11. Cool shot Paul!

    Thanks for the reply.
  12. Thanks Wayne!
  13. Thanks Steve! I have asked her to inquire about what shots they specifically are looking for.
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