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Thread: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

  1. #1

    Default What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Hi guys, I've recently went to fren's wedding dinner and shot a few photos. Do you guys mind telling me what f/stop to use when shooting 2-3 persons standing in a row and 5 or more persons standing in 2 rows? Sometimes, i shot in f/4 but it seems that some people is still OOF. But when i shot in f/8, tt is too dark. lol.. and my flash couldn't bounce it as the ceiling is too high. I could have aim the flash straight at them, but what's the minimum f/stop i need to shoot those people? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Use this to calculate :

    Online Depth of Field Calculator

    Let's just use a simple set.

    D80 camera
    50mm lens
    f4
    Distance to subjects - 3m

    this is wat you'll get :
    Subject distance 3 m

    Depth of field
    Near limit 2.74 m
    Far limit 3.31 m
    Total 0.57 m

    In front of subject 0.26 m (45%)
    Behind subject 0.31 m (55%)


    Try f8 at the same distance
    and you get this :
    Subject distance 3 m

    Depth of field
    Near limit 2.52 m
    Far limit 3.7 m
    Total 1.17 m

    In front of subject 0.48 m (41%)
    Behind subject 0.7 m (59%)
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  3. #3

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Walau eh.. so complicated. haha... I'll do my studies on what u told me, and also on the websites. Thanks man.. i really appreciate it. Guess I'll bring a table on my next shooting. .lol..

  4. #4
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Walau eh.. so complicated. haha... I'll do my studies on what u told me, and also on the websites. Thanks man.. i really appreciate it. Guess I'll bring a table on my next shooting. .lol..
    It's a matter of practise... after a few sessions, you'll get the hang of it and won't even need to refer anymore. It'll all be in the back of your head.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  5. #5
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    I usually shoot above 5.6.

    Ryan

  6. #6

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Thanks... i guess i wont be needing a very fast lens for group shots....

  7. #7

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    I find it extremely difficult to take group shots on my 450D. Normally I'll just let some other PnS shooter do it. If I set f8 or so, everyone can be in focus but then there'll not be enough light at all. When I have my 580 on, there's still not enough light at f8 strangely, unless its a direct flash.
    Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts - Riuva.com

  8. #8

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjhan View Post
    I find it extremely difficult to take group shots on my 450D. Normally I'll just let some other PnS shooter do it. If I set f8 or so, everyone can be in focus but then there'll not be enough light at all. When I have my 580 on, there's still not enough light at f8 strangely, unless its a direct flash.
    Is your flash set to manual? Did you reduce the power of your 580?

  9. #9

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by tjhan View Post
    I find it extremely difficult to take group shots on my 450D. Normally I'll just let some other PnS shooter do it. If I set f8 or so, everyone can be in focus but then there'll not be enough light at all. When I have my 580 on, there's still not enough light at f8 strangely, unless its a direct flash.
    What is the ISO used ? I would recommend to use ISO 400 or higher.
    See my Photo Gallery at the Clubsnap

  10. #10
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    f/5.6
    1/30s (for static subjects), 1/60 for moving subjects.
    ISO800

    When shooting bounce flash, the camera is very suseptible to subject reflectivity, which may cause the image to underexpose, for example.

    Where you bounce towards is also very important. Plain white ceiling is good. But if your flash light hits a ceiling light, will also result in underexposure.
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman View Post
    f/5.6
    1/30s (for static subjects), 1/60 for moving subjects.
    ISO800

    When shooting bounce flash, the camera is very suseptible to subject reflectivity, which may cause the image to underexpose, for example.

    Where you bounce towards is also very important. Plain white ceiling is good. But if your flash light hits a ceiling light, will also result in underexposure.
    If your subjects are in multiple rows, would u still use f5.6?

    Dun forget the DOF depends on the aperture, distance to subject and also focal length.
    Michael Lim
    My Flickr Site

  12. #12

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Hmm. What about moving further back? The DOF would increase right?

    For the flash not having a proper ceiling to bounce on, why not use a bounce card?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by doom102938 View Post
    Hmm. What about moving further back? The DOF would increase right?

    For the flash not having a proper ceiling to bounce on, why not use a bounce card?
    A bounce card simply means you are still bouncing off a ceiling but the card reflects some of the light forward.

    A bounce card ≠ a photographer-made bounce surface

  14. #14
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    it seem it is so easy and not important to take group photos, but to take good group photos has to consider a lot of things.

    1st thing is the standing or sitting arrangement, this is a area where we can see how many photographers pay the least attention here. try to pack them as close as possible, so you can work with lesser DOF and save on flash power.

    2nd thing is the expression of your subjects, the photographers fail to engage with your subjects, sure all will give you a shot like a police line up.

    3rd thing is giving enough DOF, f5.6 and above is rather safe.

    4th thing is you need to give enough light for correct exposure, so long the exposure is right, people with accept direct and harsh lighting, so don't try to soften the light unless you have adequate power from your flash.

    5th thing is having or showing ambient light from the background is good, but should not risk yourself of using a shutter speed that is too low that will prone to subject to camera or subject movement causing blur images.

    beside all these, you also need to understand the character of your lens, inverse square law of light, human interacting skills, it will help you to take good group photos.

    Hope this help.
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    Moderator ziploc's Avatar
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    And don't forget to align as much as possible in parallel the rows of people to the camera's focal plane.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Thanks for all the advice here, will try them out and see how it goes!
    Research Institute for Unicultural Visual Arts - Riuva.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Here's my take.

    If you're not a strobist kind with at least 1 umbrella, diy a bounce card from www.abetterbouncecard.com.

    If they are standing in line with your plane of focus:
    For single row, use f/4 - 5.6
    For double row, use f/5.6
    For triple row, use f/8
    For anything larger than that, find a higher spot where you are above the group and shoot f/8 - f/11

    Cheers,
    Zexun
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  18. #18

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by Headshotzx View Post
    Here's my take.

    If you're not a strobist kind with at least 1 umbrella, diy a bounce card from www.abetterbouncecard.com.

    If they are standing in line with your plane of focus:
    For single row, use f/4 - 5.6
    For double row, use f/5.6
    For triple row, use f/8
    For anything larger than that, find a higher spot where you are above the group and shoot f/8 - f/11

    Cheers,
    Zexun
    Good suggestion

    Always use a F Stop 5.6 to f8 and you are prety much safe, if still get some oof then stop down further

  19. #19

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    Hi guys, I've recently went to fren's wedding dinner and shot a few photos. Do you guys mind telling me what f/stop to use when shooting 2-3 persons standing in a row and 5 or more persons standing in 2 rows? Sometimes, i shot in f/4 but it seems that some people is still OOF. But when i shot in f/8, tt is too dark. lol.. and my flash couldn't bounce it as the ceiling is too high. I could have aim the flash straight at them, but what's the minimum f/stop i need to shoot those people? Thanks.
    f/5.6 or 8 will be ok.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What f/stop to use when shooting groups?

    If they are in a row, tell them stay still for a few second. Bring out your tripod and use whatever aperture you want. Just keep ISO at tolerable level, no need flash use slower shutter natural lighting - done.

    You are shooting ppl not wildlife.

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