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Archive 2012 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...
  
 
no_surrender
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p.1 #1 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


Simple children's Christmas party where I'll be taking pictures of individual kids on Santa's lap. The props are slim to none being a tree and a chair. Pretty lame, but I'm not in charge of decorating. My question is how can I get that soft, warm look to the lit tree while lighting the subjects and not overexposing the tree? The shoot will be indoors in a banquet room. As of now, the tree has a window right behind it. Pictures at 4pm-ish.

Here's my options for modifiers:
strobe w/ 7' parabolic umbrella (with or w/out diffusion fabric)
strobe w/ 22" BD (with or w/out diffusion fabric)
strobe w/ medium sized SB (with or w/out grid)

I can do one light, a combo, or all three but this stuff gets heavy and I'm on foot unless I take a cab.

Will the umbrella leave me with a flat looking image?
Should I expose for the tree and try to light just the faces with the gridded SB?

Kinda having a hard time figuring out ahead of time what would probably work best.

Thanks in advance!

Kevin

BTW - The kids are from a local orphanage...prob about 30-50 will be coming through. The event is Saturday, I'll post a few here afterwards.



Nov 29, 2012 at 11:09 AM
ds211
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p.1 #2 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


First off I would cover the window with a black (or darker red) background drop. Set the tree up a little further behind them than you would normally think (for DOF, Bokeh). As for setting up the lights I would do something like THIS.



Of course you have to keep in mind what leg the children will be sitting on so the light isn't to their back. I would most likely move the SB more towards the front than pictured above.

Edited on Nov 29, 2012 at 01:58 PM · View previous versions



Nov 29, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #3 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


Hi,

My Simple Suggestion: Practice before the shoot/event.

In other words, get access to that location and shoot some test shots using a model (a kid and adult) at that tree at that SAME time (given that window may produce light if the shoot takes place during the daylight hours). I suggest using the minimum equipment necessary to get the results you want.

That is what I would do.

Otherwise, you are dealing with advice from people who don't know what your lighting skill is (i.e. whether you know what you are doing with flash) or what the location presents and that advice is based on guesses AND everyone has different tastes when it comes to the final image.

Based on some photos I have seen posted here in the past, some photographers care more about the flash lighting (usually brightly lit) of the scene rather than the atmosphere, and so the photos may look acceptable to some/many but not to me (or my taste).

I hope these comments help you.



Nov 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Jim Rickards
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p.1 #4 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


When a child sits on Santa's knee, does he/she face directly forward? To the left? Right?

Be ready to adjust your setup to allow for where Santa and the child will be facing. A chat with Santa might tell you which knee will be used, hence which way the child will face.

BTW, I have NO experience shooting Santa shots. This is just my analytical mind churning out thoughts.



Nov 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM
jefferies1
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p.1 #5 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


A slower shutter will allow more of the tree lights to show. 50th-60 sec as a start. As low of flash power as you can use so focus flash only on the subject. Use a box. Umbrellas will light the entire scent. Let spill act as fill for the background but not much of it if you want ambiant light in the mix from the tree.The flash will still stop most movement. I suggest you block the light from outside that window. At least cut it down. A piece of seamless and tape should hold a couple of hours. That is a killer because it will blow out the tree bulbs due to brightness.

Keet the light simple. The kids will be on both sides,in the lap, on the sides, parents blocking any lighting you have set-up. A mix of excited kids, crazy parents and a few crying will change how you think things should be done upfront. And don't forget everyone has a phone and flash so NO light triggered units. Only radio controled flash units. Doing two this year. Always fun.



Nov 29, 2012 at 04:49 PM
 



Steve Wylie
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p.1 #6 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


I agree with jefferies1 for the most part. Keep it simple. Remember, that's what the "mall Santas" do. One single strobe, mounted high and centered, will cover the kids on either knee. I think a softbox would be better than an umbrella, but a Westcott Halo or Lastolite 8 in 1 would also give you a similar look. You probably don't have those where you are, but the spill from these is less than a regular reflective or shoot through umbrella but more than a flanged softbox. Steady's also right; check out the location a day or so before, to see what the ambient gives you, or the problems it may cause.

Good luck!



Nov 29, 2012 at 05:07 PM
no_surrender
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p.1 #7 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


Thanks all! This will be going down tomorrow evening and I don't have access to it until noon tomorrow so the only practice shots I'll be able to take will be within a few hours before the kids get there. No parents, just volunteers...the children are local Korean orphans.

Steve, I'll look into mounting the SB high and centered first.

My plan was to angle the chair at about 45 and have Santa turn towards the camera.

I like the idea of putting the tree behind them for bokeh, not sure if I'll be able to move anything around or not.

Kevin



Nov 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM
no_surrender
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p.1 #8 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


Sooooooo...I shot with a SB up high with grid to keep light off the Christmas tree and ended up with a ton of ghosting in all the images. Couldn't really see it on the back of the LCD.

Really wanted the trees exposed with ambient only to keep them looking nice, but my shutter was so dang slow I couldn't figure out how to blend the light without ending up with a crazy slow shutter. One way ended up with underexposed trees...the other with <1/10th shutter speeds. I really blew this one.



Dec 01, 2012 at 10:15 AM
no_surrender
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p.1 #9 · 'Christmas card' shoot question...


http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1170375


Dec 01, 2012 at 02:40 PM





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