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Thread: Lighting for group shoots

  1. #21
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    the best is to shoot outdoor without flash since you only have a sb-800. sicne you mentioned executives, do take note of how much time they are giving you. most top ppl wan it to be done asap and expect you to produce results. if result no good, like what others said, you just killed your own name as a photographer. if really bo pian have to shoot,

    1. know who is coming, who is suppose to sit where (dont ask the company director to stand at the corner just becos he shortest!)

    2. what time and where you can shoot and what kind of light you will get. outdoor possible?

    most importantly, since it seem like you are doing this big group e first time....let them know what are your capabilities,limitations. dont let them have high hopes to expect photo to be like those in annual magazines etc( generally shot w 2 or 3 studio lights on location) compared to what you did ( w a SB800).

    good luck

  2. #22

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Like Ellery and others have said, if you haven't done this before, it is probably a lot more difficult than you might imagine. The technical details are only the beginning, controlling 30-40 subjects is a major pain, esp if they are upper-level executives who get impatient if you take too long, look uncertain, or take too many shots (just to be sure).

    If you do go ahead with it, I'd suggest at least a dry run beforehand -- get a few people to occupy various places in the actual setting to see whether you can light everyone properly. And one or two 'assistants' to shift lights and people, adjust collars and ties etc etc etc. (you really don't want to have to do everything yourself). Show fear, uncertainty, or mention that you're not a pro, and every 'serious amateur' photographer in the group will offer advice!

    If all this sounds daunting, get your company to cough up the dough for a professional. A half-day location shoot should cost around $1K to $1.5K (I'm estimating, get a quote ) I figure that shouldn't be too much for an organisation with 30 - 40 high level execs!

  3. #23

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    i got the chance to see a photographer doing this kind of shoot when i was an intern as a graphic designer. Basically he had 2 or 3 lighting setup and he was lifted by a crane. SO he was at a much higer level than the group of 30 or 40. that's all i can remember.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by ellery
    You are in over your head - fact. If you are not working there as a photograpgher I would suggest that you make know your level of expertise ie that you cannot do the shot with at least 80% confidence level and this not not talking about equipment - its your software that is not up to task. Let who has tasked this to you know that you cannot guranttee the shot - do you want to guranttee the shot ? Get them to get in a pro who has the equipment and the expertise to do this. Shooting family groups is not quite the same as shoot board of directors. I do not think there is a short cut thru this. No amount of friendly advice can see u thru if you do not basically know what to do. Its no just a lighting thing a shot is more than lighting.Some how I suspect you will ignore this and try - hopefully you donot over sell your expertise - within 2 minutes a season board of directors will know if you have done this or not.
    What scares me is that you do not have prior experience.. I do not know where's your level of photography skills you have till now, but all it takes is once to bring you back to where you started. I second Ellery's opinion, cos when you fail, it's not you who failed the job, it's them not getting the images.

    If you must, consider these pointers:

    1. You have only one chance in getting everybody, the 30-40 of them smiling with eyes open..Think of it... Do you have a way to make 30-40 people listen to you? Are your charges high enough for you to sustain should your final frame has 'closed' eyes, are you competant in replacing these eyes?

    2. There's no such thing as a reshoot, even if there was one, it wouldn't be you.

    3. How big is the print they're expecting you to deliver? Is you camera high res enough for you?

    4. You must be shooting tethered, there's no options.

    5. Studio lightings maybe a way to go, but are you lightings high powered enough to generate f-stops of f11 and above, with you ISO staying at 100?

    6. Do you have what it takes to remain calm and collected in front of them?

    7. Have you done your recce(even if you rely on ambience, you MUST know what f-stops you're getting) If you're using studio flash, do you know you distance, and have you calculated from front to end(remember you have to minus distortions from your wide angle lens).

    8. Are your lightstands high enough to set your lights high, because in that group of 30-40, that'll be people bespectacled, and the only way to make sure the specs won't reflect is that you set your lights high enough...(otherwise you'll start to replace eyes again and again..)

    It's almost impossible for you to know the names of 40 people, if you needed to shift them, you can't be going 'hey!', or ' hey, the one in blue', do you have 2 asst to help you position the heroes?

    If you're positive to all, I guess you can go ahead, you're the right person for the job, otherwise, there'll be other chances...

    PBS
    Last edited by pointblankshots; 20th June 2006 at 06:21 PM.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    I had the fortune of shooting a big group of execs with a real pro. It was a good experience to be an assistant to such a pro. There was about 30-40 as well and we had to do it indoor.

    We used at least 4 lights. 2x500watts,1x1000watts,1x1500 watts, all bowens btw.Different lights had different purpose, some were to fill while there was one main key light and there was one that was bounced to create hairlight as well. We took about an hour plus to set up all the lights, meter all the lights and adjust the exposure level. However the actual shoot lasted less than 20mins. These execs don't have much time to spare and they have to run off for their next event asap. No time for trials and errors, what more a re-shoot.

    I understand some people have suggested to shoot under sunlight or ambient light. If you have strong knowledge on shadow controls or you have the abilities to control weather like storm, do go ahead to use sunlight.

    Lastly, it really depends what kind of execs you are shooting If they are the chin chai,boh chup kind...then good for you.but if they are professionals really particular about your standards professionalism, then good luck to you.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by nonchann
    I had the fortune of shooting a big group of execs with a real pro. It was a good experience to be an assistant to such a pro. There was about 30-40 as well and we had to do it indoor.

    We used at least 4 lights. 2x500watts,1x1000watts,1x1500 watts, all bowens btw.Different lights had different purpose, some were to fill while there was one main key light and there was one that was bounced to create hairlight as well. We took about an hour plus to set up all the lights, meter all the lights and adjust the exposure level. However the actual shoot lasted less than 20mins. These execs don't have much time to spare and they have to run off for their next event asap. No time for trials and errors, what more a re-shoot.

    I understand some people have suggested to shoot under sunlight or ambient light. If you have strong knowledge on shadow controls or you have the abilities to control weather like storm, do go ahead to use sunlight.

    Lastly, it really depends what kind of execs you are shooting If they are the chin chai,boh chup kind...then good for you.but if they are professionals really particular about your standards professionalism, then good luck to you.
    basket... you are??? Alright, I know you.. You saw it ain't ya? Hope it was a good learning experience then...but I'm sure it's boring as well... I'm sure you remembered the waiting time...

  7. #27
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots
    basket... you are??? Alright, I know you.. You saw it ain't ya? Hope it was a good learning experience then...but I'm sure it's boring as well... I'm sure you remembered the waiting time...
    Well at least the longer you wait the more you're paid
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  8. #28

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by yqt
    Well at least the longer you wait the more you're paid
    If only there's overtime salary... I should be able to retire and fulfill my lifetime dream in wanting to be a soccer player....

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots
    If only there's overtime salary... I should be able to retire and fulfill my lifetime dream in wanting to be a soccer player....
    Well I'm sure there're many soccer player who dream of being in your shoes.

    BTW, I'm a soccer player, wanner switch ?
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  10. #30
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by morales
    keNa tasked to do up a POSED group photo for a bunch of high level executives but have no prior experience in using studio lighting. Any kind soul can help me out with these queries?

    1) For a group of about 30-40, forming up 3 - 4 rows, can the 1 x nikon SB 800 handle it to evenly spread out the lighting?

    2) If studio lighting is needed, what kind of lights should i rent and how do i use it? how should i adjust and meter the light?

    currently using a D70s with a nikon SB800 speedlight.


    swimming in the sea of questions
    How much are u paid? Im sure since these guys are high level execs, they can expect to get billed by you. Perhaps its better for u to outsource and be the main man coordinating and do PR with your clients and let a more experienced guy do the job. At the same time u can also learn how to do it along the way. just my 2 cents worth of thoughts.
    It is easier to critique than to create ; www.razin-photography.com
    My studio is available for rent

  11. #31
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by morales
    keNa tasked to do up a POSED group photo for a bunch of high level executives but have no prior experience in using studio lighting. Any kind soul can help me out with these queries?

    1) For a group of about 30-40, forming up 3 - 4 rows, can the 1 x nikon SB 800 handle it to evenly spread out the lighting?

    2) If studio lighting is needed, what kind of lights should i rent and how do i use it? how should i adjust and meter the light?

    currently using a D70s with a nikon SB800 speedlight.


    swimming in the sea of questions
    A few qns and comments. It may be repetitive?

    1. What type of location? Ballroom? How high is the ceiling? Is the ceiling even or with a lot of designs type? Any aircon ducts or beams around? Colour of the place? Etc. Try to give a description of the place so others can help u better?

    2. If u need a photographer for this type of shoots, I know of 2 (and I am not one of them) who specialised in this area and their charging is nowhere anywhere near 1K. One of them used a Mertz and therefore he does not need the extra lighting. Less troublesome. Confirm even lighting. The other one use 1D Mark 2. Hands can be steady until 1/8 sec. Also seldom used extra lighting unless necessary. Both of them specialised in company's group shoots.

    3. What lens are u using?

    4. I agree with the rest that if u do not know studio lighting and slave flash usage, u can get burnts or funny results. I had one company who brought in all the lights, using 20D plus L lens. Yet the photo is worse than my D70 with SB800.

  12. #32

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by yqt
    Well I'm sure there're many soccer player who dream of being in your shoes.

    BTW, I'm a soccer player, wanner switch ?
    Play for what team Geylang 'O'nited? I pass that one...

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    Quote Originally Posted by pointblankshots
    Play for what team Geylang 'O'nited? I pass that one...

    No lar, I weekend soccer player only, play 1 weekend a year
    I get paid more shooting part time ...... damn, I should find more time to shoot part time

  14. #34

    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    [quote=CreaXion]A few qns and comments. It may be repetitive?

    One of them used a Mertz and therefore he does not need the extra lighting. Less troublesome. Confirm even lighting. The other one use 1D Mark 2. Hands can be steady until 1/8 sec. Also seldom used extra lighting unless necessary. Both of them specialised in company's group shoots.



    Hmmm why does every equate being able to hand hold to 1/8 as some thing special ? If you have to shoot at that speed, improptu fine; if you knew before hand and did not bring a tripod tsk tsk living life a little dangerously are we ? Any seasone shooter knows how to hand hold to 1/8 or longer if he has to - its not magical.
    if you are shooting people, a group mind you, are they on freeze frame or doing what humans do normally when standing - sawy a little, rock feet a little.. 1/8 will result in some subject movement being captured. Good may if you are doing building or subject that move very little. Bad if you managed to stay still but the subject(s) moved because then you will have recorded blur.... and that even with a flash going off.
    its still as I said earlier a software and not a hardware issue. It also not what hardware you have but how you use it.

  15. #35
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    Default Re: Lighting for group shoots

    [QUOTE=ellery]
    Quote Originally Posted by CreaXion
    A few qns and comments. It may be repetitive?

    One of them used a Mertz and therefore he does not need the extra lighting. Less troublesome. Confirm even lighting. The other one use 1D Mark 2. Hands can be steady until 1/8 sec. Also seldom used extra lighting unless necessary. Both of them specialised in company's group shoots.



    Hmmm why does every equate being able to hand hold to 1/8 as some thing special ? If you have to shoot at that speed, improptu fine; if you knew before hand and did not bring a tripod tsk tsk living life a little dangerously are we ? Any seasone shooter knows how to hand hold to 1/8 or longer if he has to - its not magical.
    if you are shooting people, a group mind you, are they on freeze frame or doing what humans do normally when standing - sawy a little, rock feet a little.. 1/8 will result in some subject movement being captured. Good may if you are doing building or subject that move very little. Bad if you managed to stay still but the subject(s) moved because then you will have recorded blur.... and that even with a flash going off.
    its still as I said earlier a software and not a hardware issue. It also not what hardware you have but how you use it.
    Sorry if I have caused any misunderstanding. I did not say that being able to shoot 1/8 is something special or magical. I am just stating a fact what the two photographers are able to do. The reason why I brought the two person in was just to answer for a cheaper alternative. People who do company shoots tend to charge a lot if they were to bring in extra equipment. These two people that I am referring to are able to do a gd job in comparison with what I saw from some other companies who brought in extra lighting. This is only my personal opinion and nothing else. They just specialised in these areas. That is all.

    However, in all fairness, u are right abt the recorded blur if there is movt. The reason why I brought in 1/8 was because in one of his company shoots, the environment was extremely dark with very uneven lighting. He has to resort to that kind of settings. Usually as far as I know, he seldom used that type of settings. You may argue that as a photographer, u have to know your clients' needs before hand. But, sometimes, clients just refused to listen to advice and as the saying goes, "Customer is always right."

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