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Thread: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

  1. #1

    Default How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    I'm assigned to take a group photo of 60 persons, outdoor at The Padang field, with my subjects facing Singapore Recreation Club and the CBD on the background. The shoot is scheduled at 5:30PM and might drag as late as 6:00PM, including time to set up and directing the group in positions.

    The sun will set right behind the Supreme Court building. Based on this situation, I'll be likely to get backlight which causes some exposure challenges on my subjects' faces.

    Will it be advisable to use 2 off-camera speedlights (Nikon SB-800 or Vivitar 285HV) to fill in? Should it be mounted with or without umbrellas? I'll be using a Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8, Nikon D300 camera mode set to Manual, aperture @ f/8 or f/11. Shutter speed will be adjusted after the first couple of test shots. Should my 2 speedlights power set to full (1/1)?

    I'm seeking some technical advise here and hope experts here can help me. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member +evenstar's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    if you're unsure of how to go around doing it, why did you take up the job in the first place?

    personally i feel it's unprofessional for one to accept a job, be it paid or unpaid, but do not know how to go around doing it properly.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    - 4 flash, umbrella silver bounce and tall stand, get the high stepladder and shot from top.
    - option 2: make 3 row of people (20ppl per row) with 1st row sit at the floor, 2nd row sit at the long chair/ stand with their knee, and last row stand up. Shoot with low angle

    my opinion 2 flash will not be enough, 8 is best but 4 i think should be ok, you don't have to make 1/1, you can get help from adjusting the ISO until you think noise is acceptable.

    and for this Pocketwizard is highly recommended compare to CLS (distance could be a problem to trigger the flash)

    To accept this job, paid or unpaid, you will learn from mistake, get the positive thinking!
    Last edited by xl1; 27th May 2009 at 11:22 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member geraldkhoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    It really depends on how you position them, how much backlight you have, etc. Here is a picture of a large group shot I did some time back...



    I used 4 flashes with 4 umbrellas, but it is bounced and not shoot through. I was using f/8 at ISO 640, and each flash was at 1/2 power (if I remember correctly). I was also at an elevated position to take this shot. I used 2 flashes with 43-inch bounce umbrellas in front (hehe... I only had 2 anyway), and that was a pretty big light source. And had 2 flashes with 33-inch bounce umbrellas, one on each side further out, to throw light further to the back (which I later did not quite like because of the shadows it cast).

    So... depending on how you position your group would determine where you put your lights, but I would suggest at least 4 strong lights from the front, 2 on camera right and another 2 on camera left, spread out.
    Last edited by geraldkhoo; 27th May 2009 at 11:24 PM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    Thanks guys for yr kind advises. Really appreciate for yr time and patience. It's certainly a great way to learn new challenges, be it on paid job or not. Personally I do own 2 Vivitar 285HV and 1 SB-800, along with one 28inch white umbrella with sliver linen for bounce light, 1 33inch shoot-thru umbrella. With the limited equipments, that's why I'm seeking some expertise here.

    I was told that the number of persons on front row will be 10, sitting. I intend to position the 2nd and last row in a inverted-wide open V position i.e. 12 on left & right on the 2nd row, standing and 13 on left & right on the last row, standing on long benches. Hopefully that way I will be able to make them more closer and compact to frame the shot. They want the CBD to be included on the background in the picture.

    Here's my pre-visualized set-up:

    If I use 2 Vivitar strobes on optical remote slaves, one position on each side of the camera with 43inch bounce silver umbrella and I have requested from one of the suppliers to provide me with a 4ft x 7ft white kapaline board, as light reflector to be placed in front of the group, where hopefully I'll be able to bounce some light from the setting sun behind the group back onto them. I'll be mounting my SB-800 on my camera to fire directly to the group in the center, full power. Will I be able to get away with decent shots with this set-up?

    Hope you guys can give me more pointers on this. Thanks.

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    you'll need your flash to cycle as fast as possible, since you have limited flash power, you better off with shooting direct flash. forget about 1/1 full power, it is too slow, your subjects will show you faces if the shoot take too long.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    fire both flashes direct from front, approx 45 degrees on either side. you probably need all the power you can get as you'll need to back them up quite a bit to get roughly even lighting through the rows.

    may or may not be helpful: http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/05...roup-shot.html
    eyes | head | feet | flickr | APAD: straight from camera

  8. #8

    Smile Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    all the best with your shoot. pray that you have favourable weather and subject with lots of patience.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mezzotint View Post
    Thanks guys for yr kind advises. Really appreciate for yr time and patience. It's certainly a great way to learn new challenges, be it on paid job or not. Personally I do own 2 Vivitar 285HV and 1 SB-800, along with one 28inch white umbrella with sliver linen for bounce light, 1 33inch shoot-thru umbrella. With the limited equipments, that's why I'm seeking some expertise here.

    I was told that the number of persons on front row will be 10, sitting. I intend to position the 2nd and last row in a inverted-wide open V position i.e. 12 on left & right on the 2nd row, standing and 13 on left & right on the last row, standing on long benches. Hopefully that way I will be able to make them more closer and compact to frame the shot. They want the CBD to be included on the background in the picture.

    Here's my pre-visualized set-up:

    If I use 2 Vivitar strobes on optical remote slaves, one position on each side of the camera with 43inch bounce silver umbrella and I have requested from one of the suppliers to provide me with a 4ft x 7ft white kapaline board, as light reflector to be placed in front of the group, where hopefully I'll be able to bounce some light from the setting sun behind the group back onto them. I'll be mounting my SB-800 on my camera to fire directly to the group in the center, full power. Will I be able to get away with decent shots with this set-up?

    Hope you guys can give me more pointers on this. Thanks.

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    I'm no professional, but since you already know the place and time, can I suggest that you bring your equipment to the location to do a mockup and test out some shots. That way, you know exactly what you want to do and what you want to achieve.

    We can talk about it here, but being there and actually testing your pre-visualisation is a different story altogether.

    Best of luck for your assignment!
    Pictures always should have a special story behind it or a special meaning to the photographer.

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to take group photo of 60 persons?

    Thanks alot guys for yr kind words and advises.

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