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Group Photos: Lens + Aperture

  
 
CanonShooter88
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Hi All - I just completed a group photo session with 9 people: 5 in back, 4 in front. It was a tight indoor space with handholding required. Given the indoor lighting & desiring some extra DOF, I was at the following:

70mm | f/4 | 1/250 | ISO 1250

The DOF was still shallow enough to where 1 row of people were tack sharp while the other was soft.

Given these circumstances, (a) would you have shot at f/8 and ISO 5000 instead? (My camera could have handled that cleanly.) And (b) would a 24-105mm f/4 lens with IS / OS / VR be the best lens to use?

Thanks for your input on this!



Nov 16, 2022 at 11:01 PM
renfield33
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


My opinion on this situation is the group would rather have sharp faces than a little bit of noise. Most of the noise disappears when it gets resized and posted to social media or a website.


Nov 17, 2022 at 06:22 AM
formula4speed
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Noise is pretty much the easiest issue to deal with, so I would just bump the ISO to whatever you need. ISO 6400 doesn't feel like a big deal these days.

IS/VR is great but subject movement is a pain to deal with as well, if everyone was standing still dropping down to 1/200 would probably be fine.

Although if possible for a group shot indoors, I'd be using some kind of flash/strobe to control the quality and direction of the light.



Nov 17, 2022 at 08:56 AM
CanonShooter88
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Thanks @renfield33 and @formula4speed


Nov 17, 2022 at 11:11 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


If you really wanted everyone in focus for that shot, and you had a stabilized lens, I'd have dropped the shutter speed two stops to 1/60th, moved your ISO up to 2500 and your aperture to f/11. Plus, it couldn't have been that tight if you could fit all nine in with a 70mm lens. I'd of found a way to squeeze a tripod in there as well.


Nov 17, 2022 at 11:53 AM
James Markus
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


An easy rule for group shots is never to open the lens beyond f5.6. Another trick to equalizing the DOF is to seat the front row, and then elevate your position on a stool, chair etc.

CanonShooter88 wrote:
Hi All - I just completed a group photo session with 9 people: 5 in back, 4 in front. It was a tight indoor space with handholding required. Given the indoor lighting & desiring some extra DOF, I was at the following:

70mm | f/4 | 1/250 | ISO 1250

The DOF was still shallow enough to where 1 row of people were tack sharp while the other was soft.

Given these circumstances, (a) would you have shot at f/8 and ISO 5000 instead? (My camera could have handled that cleanly.) And (b) would a 24-105mm f/4 lens with IS / OS /

Thanks for your input on this!
...Show more




Nov 17, 2022 at 01:04 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture



I agree with Peter. If they're just standing there posing, there's no need to have a shutter speed at 1/250. I'd happily take it down to 1/60.



Nov 17, 2022 at 01:18 PM
keepclicking
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


I agree with Peter, I just did a group photo of 16 people. 2 rows of 8. I was at f11, iso was 1000 and used 1/30. I am no professional but I was able to get everything in focus. Used 24-70 lens.


Nov 17, 2022 at 10:39 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Yep, getting up a little higher helps to put the plane of focus of all the faces closer to the film (sensor) plane and helps with getting everyone in focus. Raising the camera can also be a great help in eliminating or diminishing things like double chins.


Nov 18, 2022 at 01:48 AM
 


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CanonShooter88
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Thanks for all the input!


Nov 18, 2022 at 10:34 AM
pjbuehner
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


I have a couple of suggestions.

-Shoot several images, making sure to alternate focus on the front row and then the back row, and then combine them in photoshop. It takes about ten seconds and keeps your ISO lower. Since it is the exact same shot except for focus, simply stack the images on top of each other in photoshop. Mask the top one with a black mask and then paint with a white brush on the sharp row of the masked layer. Unless the subjects got up and moved, the background will be the same so you don't have to be precise. This also works when you get a photo that you like but one person is blinking, etc.

-Get a DOF calculator (lots of free apps to do that). This allows you to calculate the depth of focus needed and then dial that into your settings.




Nov 20, 2022 at 03:55 PM
mudlake
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Lots of good advice here.

The easiest way to get everyone in focus is to get higher than the group (either by lifting up your arms, standing on something, or using a tripod mounted on something higher). As said before, when you get higher, you are tilting the camera down which aligns the plane of focus to match the heads in the group. If you are high enough, you could even use f2.8 and still get everyone easily in focus.

I just took this large family shot last night at a family get-together with my tripod on a kitchen table. Using f5.6, everyone was in focus. Using the 50GM for this shot.

**And YES, Tim Curry from Home Alone 2 is supposed to be in this shot! We all thought it was hilarious for the photo.




  ILCE-7RM3    50mm    f/5.6    1/50s    2500 ISO    0.0 EV  




Nov 20, 2022 at 10:36 PM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


pjbuehner wrote:
I have a couple of suggestions.

-Shoot several images, making sure to alternate focus on the front row and then the back row, and then combine them in photoshop. It takes about ten seconds and keeps your ISO lower. Since it is the exact same shot except for focus, simply stack the images on top of each other in photoshop. Mask the top one with a black mask and then paint with a white brush on the sharp row of the masked layer. Unless the subjects got up and moved, the background will be the same so you don't have
...Show more

Focus stacking on a group of people is almost always a disaster in terms of post. People move and there's lots of backfilling. And depth of field calculators are notoriously only in the ballpark - y'know - because they're based on CoC and have no idea what your output is going to be, and besides, the group of people your'e photographing are only going to get antsy when they have to wait for you to figure out what you're doing. You really need to just know this stuff while you shoot.




Nov 21, 2022 at 01:59 AM
pjbuehner
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Peter Figen wrote:
Focus stacking on a group of people is almost always a disaster in terms of post. People move and there's lots of backfilling. And depth of field calculators are notoriously only in the ballpark - y'know - because they're based on CoC and have no idea what your output is going to be, and besides, the group of people your'e photographing are only going to get antsy when they have to wait for you to figure out what you're doing. You really need to just know this stuff while you shoot.



To each their own.
When I am in bad lighting and haven't brought lights, I have used Photoshop many times over the years and I find it quite easy and the results have been fine for me and the client. It takes me about one second to change focus to a back row...not much time for people to move around, especially if you are communicating with them. I should say that I was assuming a tripod was in place.
As for the DOC, I wasn't suggesting that you sit there and fiddle with it while the clients are there waiting. I was saying that can help you to estimate what depth of focus you get at each aperture. Once you have done that a few times, you will know what you need for one row, two rows, etc.
All that being said, each person finds their own way to work.





Nov 21, 2022 at 09:10 AM
pjbuehner
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Peter Figen wrote:
Focus stacking on a group of people is almost always a disaster in terms of post. People move and there's lots of backfilling. And depth of field calculators are notoriously only in the ballpark - y'know - because they're based on CoC and have no idea what your output is going to be, and besides, the group of people your'e photographing are only going to get antsy when they have to wait for you to figure out what you're doing. You really need to just know this stuff while you shoot.



I also wanted to say that you have some fantastic images on your website. The artichoke portrait popping up on your people page is inspired. Very nice work.

cheers,
Peter



Nov 21, 2022 at 09:12 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


pjbuehner wrote:
I also wanted to say that you have some fantastic images on your website. The artichoke portrait popping up on your people page is inspired. Very nice work.

cheers,
Peter


Thanks so much Peter. That's Steve Jordan, someone I met here on Fred Miranda. Lives in Lompoc, Ca., is an enthusiastic amateur photographer and grows the best artichokes I've ever had. The best thing is that every so often a random box of 'chokes shows up at the door for us to enjoy. Very high fiber though.




Nov 21, 2022 at 11:19 AM
CanonShooter88
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Group Photos: Lens + Aperture


Thank you @pjbuehner and @Peter Figen!
@mudlake - Many thanks for the sample image & explanation. That family shot is fantastic



Nov 21, 2022 at 11:20 AM







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