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Archive 2012 · Help with group shots (football, but could be applied to ...
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Help with group shots (football, but could be applied to any sport)

I have an idea, but don't know how to go about getting it done. I want to shoot a football team, in the huddle, but from overhead. I just got my hands on a 7' umbrella and may use it facing straight down to light the group. So how do I get the light and/or camera over a group like this? My C-stand arm MIGHT be long enough to extend out of them, but I'm still lost as to how to get over them with my camera. Thoughts?


Oct 28, 2012 at 03:35 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Help with group shots (football, but could be applied to any sport)

Since you are in South Korea, when you say football, do you mean American style Football or the beautiful game (what people in America call soccer)?

Check out how Robert Beck (photog for SI) did it here

From reading your post it looks like this will be a set photoshoot just for this picture, not during a game, which makes it easier.

In any case, I would rehearse ahead of time using a group of friends instead of the football team to make sure you get the shot right the first time (and you don't piss off the coach by wasting the team time... coaches can be particular about that, especially during the season).

If you do it during the day, you might not need any lights. I would do it early or late in the day. Not only that's when the light is "best", but having the main light at an angle will produce more shadows which I think will create a more interesting photo. You might also be able to use a couple of big reflectors to soften some of the shadows.

If you use strobes and don't go directly overhead, you can use tall stands. Alternatively you can use some home made poles (I usually buy some metal electrical conduit at my local hardware store) and rig something to attach your lights to the ends and use "assistants" to hold the lights.

You can use the same type of setup for the camera: just attach it at the end of a long pole, use a wide angle and a remote trigger.

If you want to get fancy, you can tether the camera to a laptop with a USB cable, set it in Live View to frame your shots and review the results as your shoot.

Finally, I don't know about South Korea, but here in the US that's the kid of stuff you don't do unless you have some liability insurance... With a setup like that it's easy to drop a light or the camera on your models.

Hope this helps and keep us posted on how you go about it and the results.


Oct 28, 2012 at 07:42 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Help with group shots (football, but could be applied to any sport)

Denis, my apologies for not clarifying...I'm referring to American style football, but the Koreans really do like soccer! I'm active duty Air Force stationed here...the teams are made up of people from the different units on base. I do agree though that I need this concept down and have already experimented with it before I schedule it with the team, which are fellow co-workers.

The shoot will likely be in the evening and will need some sort of fill light, if not all flash. You're right, I could do it during the day if everyone was available, but there would be a good chance either I, or my equipment, would cast a shadow and I don't want that.

I have experimented with tethering a few times with my desktop computer, but unfortunately I don't have a laptop here with me to use it on the field.

I'm thinking I might be able to get away with mounting an umbrella on the extension arm to my C stand for the light and use my tripod and remote cable to hold the camera overhead.

I would like to get further away to use a better lens, but will likely have to settle with the wide end of my 17-40 since I won't be able to shoot from a blimp, lol. The shot will probably have some distortion, but should actually look okay...similar to the football huddle shot you linked from Robert Beck.

I'll post the results here after the shoot.


Oct 28, 2012 at 11:00 AM

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