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Thread: need advice on the group photos taking

  1. #1

    Default need advice on the group photos taking

    hi guys, newbie here with Canon 500D, 18-200mm kit lens, no external flash installed.

    need some advice on taking photos of a group of people, with 1st row sitting and 2nd row standing [for example in a wedding table]. i usually use Av mode with "one-shot AF", auto-selection of AF points, AWB and no flash.
    the photos look good in the camera LCD screen [i.e the face of the subjects looks focused] but when i view it on the computer, some of the faces are really blurred.

    does this happen because of the "auto AF points" ? sometimes i've to keep repeating the half-pressed shutter button to get the multi AF points i want, but because of that, the subjects usually complain why i take so long to get the shot and also the multi AF points set are usually not as what i want.

    so which method should i use to get a focused face of all the subjects [w/o using flash] ?
    what about if i use the center AF point , but will i get the focus of all subject's faces ?

    really thanks in advance for the advice given.

  2. #2
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by al13ns View Post
    hi guys, newbie here with Canon 500D, 18-200mm kit lens, no external flash installed.

    need some advice on taking photos of a group of people, with 1st row sitting and 2nd row standing [for example in a wedding table]. i usually use Av mode with "one-shot AF", auto-selection of AF points, AWB and no flash.
    the photos look good in the camera LCD screen [i.e the face of the subjects looks focused] but when i view it on the computer, some of the faces are really blurred.

    does this happen because of the "auto AF points" ? sometimes i've to keep repeating the half-pressed shutter button to get the multi AF points i want, but because of that, the subjects usually complain why i take so long to get the shot and also the multi AF points set are usually not as what i want.

    so which method should i use to get a focused face of all the subjects [w/o using flash] ?
    what about if i use the center AF point , but will i get the focus of all subject's faces ?

    really thanks in advance for the advice given.
    haha. can u tell me wad aperture u used? (:

    if its a f4.0 dun bother. its all going to be quite blur seeing the aperture is quite large.

    try an f8.0. its much better

  3. #3

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Mmmm....i think bcos you used AV mode without flash and in a lowlight environment...the camera programed itself for longer shutter speed and ur subjects might have moved thus causing the blur. Normally i'd advise using the flash in indoor shoot or unless you have a very fast lens like F2.8 and below. When i'm shooting group in daylight...i'd use a min of F5.6 so that everyone can be in focus and sometimes i use flash too in case there's backlight. I usually use centre focus which is faster and more accurate...my 2 cents

    P/s from my knowledge...the 18-200 lens is pretty soft @ 18mm. Therefore i suggest you use at least 25mm on this lens for group shots
    Last edited by dev2k8; 24th January 2010 at 08:34 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Wedding shots in Singapore, are usually indoors where the lighting conditions are not exactly ideal most of the time.

    Without flash, I find myself using usually ISO 1600, f/2.8 in order to get the camera shake free shots. But the aperture might be too big to take a group shoot. If I up the aperture to 8, I have to go ISO 3200. As it is, ISO1600 is already very noisy.

    So my advise is to use an external flash with diffuser or bounce off the ceiling (if it is applicable). This way you should be able to take at f/8 and focus and shoot faster.

  5. #5

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Most room/hall lighting will cause flat contrast or bags under eyes/nose/chin.

    Best is to learn how to use flash - bounce with fill, diffused with fill, and shoot at f/8 - 11.

    Don't know why so many people think don't use flash is more 'pro'.

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Most room/hall lighting will cause flat contrast or bags under eyes/nose/chin.

    Best is to learn how to use flash - bounce with fill, diffused with fill, and shoot at f/8 - 11.

    Don't know why so many people think don't use flash is more 'pro'.
    because all the high end pro wedding photographers mostly shoot will available light, you shoot with flash people will call you uncle, not cool.

    and also many people think that using flash will kill the mood, but not knowing that shooting with available light also need the knowledge of understanding lights and more skills to handle it well.

    without the understanding of lights, whether shooting with flash or shooting with available light, the result is always KNS.
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  7. #7

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    I prefer to deliver clear, sharp, nice colors and contrast photos and be called uncool uncle than pretend to be high-end wedding pro and deliver sai results.

    Understanding light is not so easy. Even I still studying it.

    Think easily most photographers are totally not interested in studying light at all.

  8. #8

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    TS, Maybe you can post an example?

    From my limited knowledge, i can only think of a couple of reasons:
    1. What aperture did you shoot at?
    Wide aperture will result in shallow DOF - i.e only the centre person in focus (if you use the center AF point)
    2. What was the shutter speed?
    Depending on your shutter speed, objects can turn out blur when they fidget or due to your own handshake (like what dev2k8 has mentioned)
    5D3|1740L|70200F4L|40

  9. #9

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Don't know why so many people think don't use flash is more 'pro'.
    wow, that's new. I always thought ppl think that using flash is more 'pro'..
    5D3|1740L|70200F4L|40

  10. #10
    Deregistered allenleonhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    Most room/hall lighting will cause flat contrast or bags under eyes/nose/chin.

    Best is to learn how to use flash - bounce with fill, diffused with fill, and shoot at f/8 - 11.

    Don't know why so many people think don't use flash is more 'pro'.
    ROFL. tats probably the dumbest think i heard.

    its the pros who can laern how to operate flash.

    and i admit. i suck at flash. its really rreally hard to get it right. kudos to the pros (:

  11. #11

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    still struggling with light (natural or otherwise)...arrgghh

  12. #12

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by shelomoh View Post
    Wedding shots in Singapore, are usually indoors where the lighting conditions are not exactly ideal most of the time.

    Without flash, I find myself using usually ISO 1600, f/2.8 in order to get the camera shake free shots. But the aperture might be too big to take a group shoot. If I up the aperture to 8, I have to go ISO 3200. As it is, ISO1600 is already very noisy.

    So my advise is to use an external flash with diffuser or bounce off the ceiling (if it is applicable). This way you should be able to take at f/8 and focus and shoot faster.
    Noob question on flash. If say I use an external flash (in TTL mode), what should be the EV setting? Should I leave it at -2 or -1 so I can get a faster shutter speed at f/8??
    500D | EF 24-105 f4 L | Sigma 30mm f1.4 | Nissin Di622

  13. #13

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    In summary, two reasons why your picture is "blur":

    1. Shallow DOF (intentional or not intentional).
    Depends on a) your aperture size and b) the distance between you and your subjects.

    To address a) the aperture problem, it is safe to set it to F5.6-8.0.
    To address b) the distance problem, you need to know the distance to where your subject is in focused. you can use the DOF preview.

    If you have successfully addressed the above and photo is still blur, then see Pt 2 below.

    2. Auto Settings (other than Manual) + Low Light
    See explanation above by DEV2K8

  14. #14

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by mimik07 View Post
    wow, that's new. I always thought ppl think that using flash is more 'pro'..
    Quote Originally Posted by allenleonhart View Post
    ROFL. tats probably the dumbest think i heard.

    its the pros who can laern how to operate flash.

    and i admit. i suck at flash. its really rreally hard to get it right. kudos to the pros (:
    Several things I can think of ...

    - Marketing Mania: Ultra high ISO shots/videos taken at night - looks very saat, so people scrimp and save or get a second mortgage to get that D700, D3s, 1DM4, 5DM2, 24mm f1.4, 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.2, 200mm f/2 lenses and go right out expecting to get similar results under ANY lousy existing light situations with probably vastly differing lighting conditions than those in the promotional materials AND also forgetting that some production crews use things like enough light modifiers large enough to build another circque de soleil, hot lights, post work and other techniques in the mix and that the super crazy fantastic camera, while central to it all, probably accounts for less than 5% of the essential equipment required to get such results

    - People have gotten tired and sick of seeing 'deer-in-the-headlights' type flash shots, and with the advent of global diffusers like the lightsphere, all of a sudden everyone thinks that ultra-flat muddy-looking low-contrast flash shots are superb

    - As Master Catchlights mentioned, some of the top, high-end wedding photographers (I would add: probably in countries like the US and certain parts of Europe where they get some of MOST FANTASTIC NATURAL LIGHT!) like to shoot without flash and get great looking shots and again - the point about understanding light and using modifiers

    - Marketing hyperbole that using all natural light is like some kind of master magician's ability when mastering flash and making it look like natural light is probably anytime waaaay more difficult than understanding natural light itself

    - What most don't realize is that upping the ISO does absolutely nothing to alter light values and ratios. That low contrast, murky lighting and shadow under the eye socket is still going to be the same at ISO 50 or ISO 6871947673600

    These are generalizations and there are exceptions.

  15. #15

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by rommelh23 View Post
    Noob question on flash. If say I use an external flash (in TTL mode), what should be the EV setting? Should I leave it at -2 or -1 so I can get a faster shutter speed at f/8??
    If you're using it on Av mode, a -EV on would get you a faster shutter speed but it'll just decrease the amount of ambient light that is captured.. You do know that flash isn't affected by shutter speed right..

  16. #16
    Moderator ortega's Avatar
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    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    good light will make or break an image

    for ppl who think that not using flash will look better, i'd suggest trying to take one with and without flash and see the difference
    btw knowing how to control the light is also vital

    have fun

  17. #17

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    because all the high end pro wedding photographers mostly shoot will available light, you shoot with flash people will call you uncle, not cool.

    and also many people think that using flash will kill the mood, but not knowing that shooting with available light also need the knowledge of understanding lights and more skills to handle it well.

    without the understanding of lights, whether shooting with flash or shooting with available light, the result is always KNS.

    Both yourself and DM is about the only couple of people left in this forum that make sense nowadays. Sigh...

    I shudder to think what some folks here are producing when i see them shooting without flashes in less than ideal lighting conditions. Sigh...

    Got abit of money to buy expensive camera doesnt render the brain useless.

    Regards
    D3s / D3x / 18-55 f3.5 - 5.6 / 55-200 f3.5-5.6 / 50 f1.8

  18. #18

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by J-Chan View Post
    If you're using it on Av mode, a -EV on would get you a faster shutter speed but it'll just decrease the amount of ambient light that is captured.. You do know that flash isn't affected by shutter speed right..
    Thanks for the reply. Does flash work differently in different modes? P, AV, TV and Manual? I am trying to test flash using Manual mode.
    500D | EF 24-105 f4 L | Sigma 30mm f1.4 | Nissin Di622

  19. #19

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    For Canon, it MAY, depending on various factors.

    Google 'EOS Flash bible'.

  20. #20

    Default Re: need advice on the group photos taking

    Quote Originally Posted by ortega View Post
    good light will make or break an image

    for ppl who think that not using flash will look better, i'd suggest trying to take one with and without flash and see the difference
    btw knowing how to control the light is also vital

    have fun
    I always thought taking without flash is better at low light if camera handle high ISO well. Flash makes subject bright and background dark. So there's a period of time I refuse to use flash, was using a pns btw.

    But I was proven wrong by my own photos, now I know that it's because I didn't know how to use flash the right way. I'm learning by the day, use flash when there is poor natural lighting.

    There's still people who dislike using flash, I can understand since I've been there, done that.
    Last edited by pchmj; 26th January 2010 at 08:27 PM.

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