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Archive 2016 · group photo, backdrop questions
  
 
MikeW2
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · group photo, backdrop questions


Hello all,

I get to do shoot in a couple of weeks for a local sports team/association. It's a lot of fun but always challenging because of the numbers and the pace.

Anyway, I need to shoot some groups of fifteen or so and they all need to be on a backdrop. So that's a pretty big background to cover and not something I do regularly. I've got a 20'x30' area to work with. I've used black and gray in the past (couple of 10x20's?) and each had it's challenges for me in post processing. It would be great to be able to add something to the back or foreground in pp but not really too sure about that.

Any suggestions, questions, answers?

Thanks




Nov 10, 2016 at 06:36 AM
tdlavigne
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · group photo, backdrop questions


I once needed a super wide shot on a cyc, only problem was the studio I now use doesn't have one and I only have 9' wide seamless. Fortunately it has white walls. I ended up rolling the seamless out the long way, and taping it up against the wall to just form the curve and used the white wall to form the background with the seamless extending from the curve (approx 2' up the wall) and ~6ft out towards me. Lots of clear tape to hold everything in place, and some photoshop and I was able to fake it. If you need grey you can use more paper and pull the group away from the background. There's probably something easier that escapes me at the moment, but that's something that I wouldn't hesitate to do if I needed wider than 9' and had a clean/smooth wall available.


Nov 10, 2016 at 07:57 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · group photo, backdrop questions


MikeW2 wrote:
Hello all,

Anyway, I need to shoot some groups of fifteen or so and they all need to be on a backdrop.

What type of sport? Why do they need to be on a backdrop?

Way back when I was a full time pro I did my share of Memory Mates of local Little League and also the team sports for the high schools where we had Senior Portrait contracts.

I always looked for a related background. If none was available, I posed them in front of a non busy background and used OCF on the team and set the shutter speed to drop the exposure on the background down 1/2-2/3 stop.

Even doing three rows of five might be challenging unless you can find a very large backdrop.




Nov 10, 2016 at 03:38 PM
 

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Steve Wylie
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · group photo, backdrop questions


I do this all the time with dance studios that require group shots. So I've invested in a 20' wide backdrop stand from Backdrop Outlet. It's a three pole stand kit with several interlocking crossbars giving you the ability to make it wider or shorter as the need dictates. I've also purchased a few 10x20 backdrops from them that they sew together making a single 20x20 backdrop/floor combo. They then sew a rod pocket across the top that accommodates the support kit. If you don't use one of their backdrops, you can clamp a 20 or 24' long backdrop horizontally to the crossbars and gaff tape another identical backdrop to it at the floor line.

Then, to light the group, I typically use the largest umbrella I have (a 60" Photek Softlighter or an Elinchrom 41" Varistar, depending on which lights I'm using) up high and directly centered to give a broad fill to the entire group. This light does the heavy lifting. I've lit over 20 dancers this way. I will also usually have a second light, again with a large modifier (e.g. a 53"octa) from one side or the other at approximately 45 degrees, set at nearly the same power or slightly less, depending on how far away I can put it) to provide some directionality to the otherwise flat light from the center source.

Alternatively, if you have two umbrellas, and a really big group, you can place them equidistant from the camera position and faced directly forward to light the group. What you don't want is severely crossed lighting, so don't point them inward toward the center.

Two big things to watch for: Pose the group more tightly than they think is natural or even comfortable. Why? First, your lights will cast shadows on your backdrop that will be very noticeable and difficult to tone down in post. Best to have them cast straight back and downward. Also, by packing the group tightly, there will be fewer shadows on the back. Second, be very mindful in posing such that one person's head does not cast a shadow on another person. That's the main reason for central lighting.

Finally, look at your exposures carefully before you let the group go. The more people you have, the more awkward things occur (blinks, looking off-camera, unwanted shadowing of faces, etc.). It's terrible to come back to your editing only to find that all of your captures have issues like these.



Nov 13, 2016 at 04:43 PM
flowrider
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · group photo, backdrop questions




Steve Wylie wrote:
I do this all the time with dance studios that require group shots. So I've invested in a 20' wide backdrop stand from Backdrop Outlet. It's a three pole stand kit with several interlocking crossbars giving you the ability to make it wider or shorter as the need dictates. I've also purchased a few 10x20 backdrops from them that they sew together making a single 20x20 backdrop/floor combo. They then sew a rod pocket across the top that accommodates the support kit. If you don't use one of their backdrops, you can clamp a 20 or 24' long backdrop
...Show more

I've been looking for info like this as well. Thanks! Do you happen to have a BTS of your setup?



Nov 17, 2016 at 07:45 AM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · group photo, backdrop questions


Sorry, but no.


Nov 17, 2016 at 12:19 PM







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