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Archive 2012 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?
  
 
elicious
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


hi all,

I've agreed to shoot groups of 2-10 people between 11am and noon this Saturday for a non-profit event. I have a 60D, Tamron 17-50/2.8, Canon 55-250IS, and a cheap strobist setup consisting of: 41" Wescott umbrella, 9' stand, 580EX, and YongNuo 603 wireless triggers.

Midday sunlight is dreadful! I experimented yesterday at noon at a local park to simulate the shooting conditions (zero tree cover) and the results weren't that great. I tried using the sunlight at various angles, the flash into or through the umbrella at about 7' from the model with a 45 degree-ish angle relative to my shooting angle and about 9' elevation of the mount. I tried various flash power ratios. It seemed that I couldn't quite catch the best way to balance the sunlight from one angle and the flash from another. Am I better off lowering and firing through the umbrella as a fill? I'd post examples but I have my model's anonymity to consider.

What have you done to achieve results you were proud of in this type of scenario?

Thanks in advance!



Aug 09, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Ho1972
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Find some open shade. Barring that, turn your subject's backs to the sun and use flash for fill.


Aug 09, 2012 at 09:00 PM
elicious
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Shade isn't an option...should bounce the flash out of the umbrella at subject face level, just offset from the shooting angle? 1/32 power (I'm assuming f/7ish, ISO100, 1/250)?


Aug 09, 2012 at 09:37 PM
aborr
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


A 580 isn't bright enough to overpower direct noon sunlight for a 10 person group shot.

Find some open shade, or accept that you're either going to get badly blown backgrounds (subjects backlit) or nasty facial shadows (subjects frontlit by direct sun).



Aug 10, 2012 at 09:03 AM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


aborr wrote:
A 580 isn't bright enough to overpower direct noon sunlight for a 10 person group shot.

Find some open shade, or accept that you're either going to get badly blown backgrounds (subjects backlit) or nasty facial shadows (subjects frontlit by direct sun).


+1

You're asking a small light source to do something even some more powerful lights can have trouble with. Depending on exactly where the sun is you may accomplish it but don't get frustrated that it doesn't work. It may help to use a silver umbrella but then you have to deal with specular highlights and still not get what you want.

Open shade can be available in a lot of places when you look hard enough. I assume the subjects are....well, the subject. Don't allow the background to control the situation. Merely by the gear you are trying to use the background will become not so "scenery" anyway because you may end up blowing it out to properly expose for your subjects.



Aug 10, 2012 at 02:28 PM
RDKirk
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


No one stands in the noonday sun but the mad dog and the Englishman -- Kipling

As has been said, there is likely some open shade somewhere because people are not going to be standing around in the sun during the event. The patches may be small--you might have to pose the larger groups rather tightly--but shade should be there.

Given a patch of shade, then use your flash to bring that light level high enough to keep from burning out the sun-lit background.



Aug 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM
mill4570
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


As has been said, a speedlite (even two) especially through a modifier has no chance against direct noon day sunlight. As I see it, you will need to drop the event or rent a flash (preferably two) in the 600 ws range.

Good Luck,
Richard K.



Aug 10, 2012 at 04:32 PM
elicious
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Thank you for the responses!

There is no shade I can work with. This is a 24-hour walk event at/near a beach, for which I am shooting the walk teams as they complete their first lap (and so cannot pull them away from their path.) Small tents for the overnight, benefit vendors may have overhead cover for their wares (which does us no good.) No shade.

Is the consensus to have the sun behind the group or in front?

The 580 won't even do fill if I shoot the sun behind the group?



Aug 10, 2012 at 05:57 PM
RDKirk
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


You'll have to put the sun behind them. The flash not going to fill a group of 10 very well if they're out in the sun. But if you can't pull them off the walk path, how are you going to do group shots?

Would there be some event sponsor with a tent shelter available? An event sponsor would be glad to help in this respect.




Aug 10, 2012 at 06:34 PM
elicious
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


I'm setting up on the side of their walking path, just need to plan a spot that has the sunlight to the rear. They'll step just off of the path, smile, I'll take the shot, they go back on the path, etc. Teams won't all be 10, probably mostly 4-6 with as few as 2 and as many as 10.

The likelihood of a tent is slim. I'd be happy to use such a shelter from the sunlight if it were available but after scouting the location, taking test shots in the same sunlight, and discussing the shoot with the event coordinator I have to plan on no shade and 11am.

I'm happy to offer my services to them for free but since it is not a paid gig I can't see the point in spending the money on a dual AB1600/Einstein setup. I'm simply looking to take the best possible photographs with what I've got on hand...very unGAS-like, I know



As far as flash position goes: 580 on camera/direct or bounced out of an umbrella at subject eye level and 45 degrees?



Aug 10, 2012 at 07:02 PM
 

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JohnBrose
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


don't bother bouncing your flash in an umbrella or diffusing it in any way, you need all the power it has, if you had several, you could trigger them all wirelessly, but that doesn't sound like an option. Yes, keep their backs to the sun and meter for the shade and let the backgrounds get blown out. You really would need a studio strobe or several run off battery packs to really do a descent job, but hopefully it will work out.


Aug 10, 2012 at 07:13 PM
jfnphotography
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Go to a home improvement store and get a 4x8 sheet of foam insulation that has silver on one side (around $10.00 - $20.00). Sun at backs use it to reflect light back into there face. WARNING the silver can blind someone or get them real mad at you. Keep it at a distance and slowly bring it closer. If its a small group you can put it over them and use your flash to pop a little light in. An assistant that is tall help.


Aug 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
RDKirk
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


jfnphotography wrote:
Go to a home improvement store and get a 4x8 sheet of foam insulation that has silver on one side (around $10.00 - $20.00). Sun at backs use it to reflect light back into there face. WARNING the silver can blind someone or get them real mad at you. Keep it at a distance and slowly bring it closer. If its a small group you can put it over them and use your flash to pop a little light in. An assistant that is tall help.


I'd use a white sheet, although trying to hold any reflector large enough to do the job will be a significant chore.




Aug 10, 2012 at 08:46 PM
James10013
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Have you considered renting a Scrim Jim kit with a silk? You can mount it between two stands using the universal clamps and have your subjects stand underneath. You should be able to set this up right off the path. Another option if you have someone assisting you might be to rent a California Sunbounce Sun Swatter.




Aug 10, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Try to keep it simple, hope for overcast light.
Two people is not a group. Ten people is not a big problem, make two rows and bring them close together. The 580 should have enough power to work ok. Shoot from waist up to show the free t shirts and logoed stuff. HavE enuf batteries.
For Pete's sake do not use a 4-8 silver board to reflect sun into innocent peoples faces. Not only will you annoy most of them, all of them will be squinting. And the light will be awful.
These aren't Annie Leibovitz production value shots...OCF (on or off) should be enough to make all happy...
If you decide to tackle using a large reflector at the beach it'll look better if you can mount it higher than the people so you don't get weird fill light from below. Bring a couple people to help. Or like i said at the beginning...simple.



Aug 11, 2012 at 12:32 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


http://blog.emmett-photography.com/2008/06/guide-numbers-101-canon-580ex-ii-and.html

You don't need to "overpower" the sun, you only need to make up/fill the 2-3 stop difference between sun & shade/shadow side of your subject ... and even if you only pick up 1/2 of that, you'll be fine to lift it in post.

+1 @ Mickey's point @ the 580 having plenty of power with sufficient GN (see link above) should be fine as long as you are not trying to shoot them from a really far flash to subject distance. Even shooting @ 28mm WA coverage setting, you've got a GN of nearly 100 ft that would translate to roughly f8 @ 12 feet, so you should be plenty safe as long as you don't waste your light by lengthening the flash to subject distance when you point your flash backwards and make it travel the extra distance into (and back out of) an umbrella.

Shoot it simple with direct flash (skip the light eating umbrella). I know that people are "direct flash phobic" thinking that you have to use "soft light" to make anything look good, but if you'll dial your direct flash back a touch, you can achieve a nice balance of ambient & flash ... give it a go with your testing.

GL & HTH



Aug 11, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Steve-Adoria
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


The first picture in this teen fashion shoot my wife took was taken just before noon in full sunshine (late Autumn in Sydney).
It was lit with a single canon 580exii off camera in a 22" kacey beauty dish with the sun mostly behind.

The speed was set to somewhere around 1/3000, possibly faster and the flash was triggered in high speed synch mode using an a Phottix Odin Trigger.
As you have manual triggers you would be limited to slower speed. You may need to find some shade, use a CPL filter or keep you flash on camera to use HSS.
Regards,
Steve - Adoria Photography



Aug 11, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Very nice, Steve. Did you use the sock on the Kacey beauty dish, or leave it undiffused?



Aug 11, 2012 at 07:46 AM
Steve-Adoria
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


Thanks,
No the dish didnt have the sock on. I find three white surface of the dish works well unmodified.
In sunlight like this i think it is best to avoid anything that eats light.
Regards, Steve



Aug 11, 2012 at 07:59 AM
BrianO
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · How would you shoot groups in noon day sunlight?


elicious wrote:
...I've agreed to shoot groups of 2-10 people between 11am and noon this Saturday...


Hey! What happened to my post?!? I posted at about 11:30AM Pacific Time yesterday, and now it's gone!

Well, too late now to repost. I hope everything goes/went well with your shoot.



Aug 11, 2012 at 02:00 PM
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