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Archive 2012 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed
  
 
BrianO
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


RustyBug wrote:
...I don't think exposure is the big challenge here ... I think it is coverage vs. falloff.


I agree; especially given the use of a 5D Mark III. I think one could safely go as high as ISO 3200 and get a pretty clean image considering the use for which it is intended.

Shooting from 50 - 60 feet to the front row with a 28mm lens and the Speedlites set to match should provide the coverage needed, and from that distance, factoring in the downward angle discussed above, fall-off from front row to back should be acceptable and easily evened out in post if needed.



Sep 22, 2012 at 04:30 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


+1 @ downward angle to assist with falloff reduction
+1 @ PP to even things out

All good things to consider ... it isn't as "obvious" as it might seem ... both for vs. against the two speedlights being up to the task. I think it is doable, but there isn't a ton of leeway without some forethought @ approach ... especially for a first time "volunteered" effort.

Here's a thought ... mount the 600EX's in the rafters with the stage lights to get your height / angle. Put those RT's to good use.

HTH ... GL

Edited on Sep 22, 2012 at 04:50 AM · View previous versions



Sep 22, 2012 at 04:36 AM
BrianO
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


RustyBug wrote:
...it isn't as "obvious" as it might seem...


Very true. Had I not done almost exactly the same thing when shooting for my school paper way back when I might not have though it possible either. I wish I still had the samples to show here, but that was back in the early '70s.

No, not the 1870s! I'm old, but not that old!



Sep 22, 2012 at 04:42 AM
RustyBug
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


Well, that makes me a "Young Pup" ... I went to school in the LATE 70's.

I wish I had my old "Modeling Photography" book to show as well. The back cover was a picture of a models backside with the words "STOP" and "THINK" embroidered on her jean pockets. I don't always remember to do so, but it was a salient point that it is often a matter of thinking the "impossible" through ... in order to transform it to success.

BTW ... if anybody has that old book ...



Sep 22, 2012 at 04:54 AM
 

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sic0048
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


I'd love to see the images if this is successful with just two speedlights. But the lighting is going to be extremely hard causing really bad shadows and the falloff severe across a group that size that I just don't know how it will come out looking anything close to acceptable.

I'd love to be proven wrong, but I wouldn't want to go into the shoot thinking I could "wing it" and make it work. I'd rather change the venue to be outside and be assured of getting a much better result.



Sep 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM
BrianO
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


sic0048 wrote:
I'd love to see the images if this is successful with just two speedlights. But the lighting is going to be extremely hard...


That's true; very hard light. Similar to a sunlit shoot on a clear day. Using big strobes in big modifiers would give softer light, and so renting some pro-caliber lighting gear would be a good option if one is able.



Sep 22, 2012 at 04:45 PM
mmurph
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


BrianO wrote:
That's true; very hard light. Similar to a sunlit shoot on a clear day. Using big strobes in big modifiers would give softer light, and so renting some pro-caliber lighting gear would be a good option if one is able.


I would still advise that route. It is a chance for you to learn.

Plan it and light it like you are going to do a magazine shoot. Then try to execute that way. In the future if called on again you will know what you are capable of. When people see your work, it represents you. Your Work = Your Brand.

We spend a ton of money buying equipmenmt, but never on models or shoots to develop skills.

I just did a group shoot 2 days ago. I can't share pioctures here because they are all minors, but I will describe the shoot. All of my own equipment.

I used 3, 1600 Ws power packs to shoot a group of 25 on Sunday. I had 4 packs, but we had a bad power cord for 1 pack. Too bad, I really could have used it.

Each pack had 2 outlets, so I used a total of 6 heads with 3x1600 Ws. I was dialed in at 8.7 to 9.0 on each pack, 1 stop down from full power (10.0) for faster recycle (Broncolor Topas packs, with a mix of Broncolor heads. Heads are fully "asynchronous, which means you can set each at any value independent of the other on the pack.)

I metered at 8.0 for main, 5.6 for fill. Shot at 8.0 +1/3 for a little "hot" look to on the skin tones. Always better to pull back expoosure in post, but I used them straight out of the camera as shot.

Main: I used 2 Photoflex Large soft box side by side horizontally, with about 3 feet between them, at a fairly shallow angle (maybe 25 degrees left from camera?) I metered along the subject line and balanced until I had all spots within .5 stop along the line.

Fill: I used a 6' Photoflex Octodome without the face (inner diffuser) behind camera position. Metered at 5.6, again tuned to be within .5 stop at line.

Hair/Rim: I used 2 Photoflex Medium softbox, one at 8' on a boom, one just below on a lightstand. The lower pointed toward the further end of the group, the higher to the nearer portion.

Background: I had a 20' tall white screen on a school stage. I used 1, 70 degree reflector in the middle, aimed upward to give a spreading light. I actually planned to do some shots with the background blown to white for knockouts, but the power cord for the 4trh pack had a UK plug, not US. (Don't ask - no idea howw. We tested all packs before we left.)

I used a 24-70 2.8 L on my T4i. Unfortunately I was not able to use my 5D3 that day. I shot at just over 24 mm, I could have used the extra range of the full frame to get out of the wide angle (left some room, used lens correction in Lightroom.)

I used 5 large, air cushioned stands and 1 medium sized boom. At least 5 extension cords. I also brought a portable background stand & 4 colors of paper (for the individual shopts.) Grey, white, light blue, light creme. A small step ladder, which I used part of the time for the group shots. An extra softbox or two, and a couple of extra heads.

Also a laptop to check the results in progress. I was going to shoot the head shots tethered, with the assistant to watch each shot come up, but didn't have enough time.

This was a high school music group. We also did headshots for all 25 players after the group shot.

I had an assistant. Setup and testing took about 2.5 hours. Group shots took about 1/2 hour (also with smaller groups.)

Individual with 3 poses each, 2 shots in each pose took about 1.5 hours total, though I wanted 2+. We were running almost 1 hour late by the time the group was able to get everyone there and ready.

Total time was about 7.5 hours from setup to packed and gone. I paid the assistant $125 out of my pocket - this was also "volunteer" work for my sons music group.

I used to have a studio, now I am partially retired. I also have portable battery power packs which I used for a different group this summer (Broncolor Mobil), but I only have 2 of those and wanted more power.

I was looking at some of the historical sports team shots at the school. Some are pretty big. You might go look and judge for yourself, and see what kind of work you want to show.

I say: Think aspirational. The last group shot I did this summer for a music group, I had 5 parentsd ask if I did Senior Portraits (I don't right now.)

If I did, EACH of those contracts could mean between $600 and $2,500 of income, depending on the student. And if you do a good job, perhaps 20 more jobs the next year ... Take cards to hand out. Give people a link to your web site, and promise to post pics.

Good luck.

Best,
Michael



Sep 26, 2012 at 03:04 AM
ravisrajan
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Group Photo Lighting Advice Needed


I came across this website few weeks ago and how he used PCB PLM system with three AB1600 to light this group shot.
http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/imageR.asp?rim_id=3548
Here is complete link to his setup, hope this helps if some one plans to use strobe with PLM.
http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-10046-10396



Oct 21, 2012 at 03:32 PM
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