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Thread: Help With Family Portrait

  1. #1

    Default Help With Family Portrait

    Hi I've been asked by my uncle to help his family take a family portrait in their house. I have already decided what lens to use.

    The problem is I'm not sure how to do the lighting part. I have a Canon 580EX and a Canon 430EXII. I was initially planning to use a 60cm x 60cm softbox w my 430EXII from the right and mount my 580EX on my camera body as the Master flash.

    After a little chat with Jon from ***********, he advised me to use two 'brollies', left and right instead of the softbox as it wouldn't be sufficient light for the family portrait.

    I was then thinking of getting two white 'brollies' and two light stands and a flash trigger.I want to minimize cost which is why I'm here to ask for help. Should I just get a continuous light with a softbox? Or can I just get one 'brolly', would it be enough light?

    Please advice, thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Wackyzacky; 4th June 2010 at 12:07 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Short answer:

    KISS

    If the group is not too big, or you're not shooting over a large area (width and/or depth), just use ONE diffused light source from the center, just above you, pointed slightly down towards your subjects. A shoot-through umbrella will allow more light to spill everywhere, which may be a useful thing aka, you get softer, more distributed light. Rule of thumb for softboxes - choose a softbox size roughly the same size as your subject(s). In this case, a 60x60 will not cut it.

    Sorry I can't offer more. You gave virtually no details.

    All the best.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    It's a small family of four, the children are 26 and 20. It's probably going to be on their sofa set. How should I do the lighting and Where should they position themselves?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    I would suggest keeping it simple. One flash, one shoot through umbrella.

    Concentrate more on posing and getting various shots to choose from. Shoot in RAW and even though you're shooting in RAW, be aware of the color temperature from ambient light, if any.

    Google posing guides for groups or families. You would likely get much more detailed hints and tips in the articles. The public library also has a few very helpful books in this area of photography, in case internet searches don't answer your questions.

    CHEERS!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    I would suggest keeping it simple. One flash, one shoot through umbrella.

    Concentrate more on posing and getting various shots to choose from. Shoot in RAW and even though you're shooting in RAW, be aware of the color temperature from ambient light, if any.

    Google posing guides for groups or families. You would likely get much more detailed hints and tips in the articles. The public library also has a few very helpful books in this area of photography, in case internet searches don't answer your questions.

    CHEERS!
    Thanks for the advice!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Numnumball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Wackyzacky View Post
    Hi I've been asked by my uncle to help his family take a family portrait in their house. I have already decided what lens to use.

    The problem is I'm not sure how to do the lighting part. I have a Canon 580EX and a Canon 430EXII. I was initially planning to use a 60cm x 60cm softbox w my 430EXII from the right and mount my 580EX on my camera body as the Master flash.

    After a little chat with Jon from ***********, he advised me to use two 'brollies', left and right instead of the softbox as it wouldn't be sufficient light for the family portrait.

    I was then thinking of getting two white 'brollies' and two light stands and a flash trigger.I want to minimize cost which is why I'm here to ask for help. Should I just get a continuous light with a softbox? Or can I just get one 'brolly', would it be enough light?

    Please advice, thanks in advance!
    Directional lighting seems like a gd idea, but know ur flash well and how to use it to ur advantage is what matter most, understand inverse square law/and corelatonship among instantaneous/continuous light with shutter speed etc.. Knowing how to pose ur model etc..

    I will go with DM's advice.. Go simple and add if necessary.. Sometimes too much of something is not good..
    I turned PRO in diaper chg!
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Thanks for the advice. One more question, how do I obtain a faster shutter speed with the flash mounted in a dimly lit place? I tried but I seem to be able to only get like 1/10 - 1/25 but I want to get a shutter speed that I can be sure won't produce any blur photos. Am I missing something?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Wackyzacky View Post
    Thanks for the advice. One more question, how do I obtain a faster shutter speed with the flash mounted in a dimly lit place? I tried but I seem to be able to only get like 1/10 - 1/25 but I want to get a shutter speed that I can be sure won't produce any blur photos. Am I missing something?
    Use manual, shutter speed 1/60, f5.6(supposing if you're shooting the family protrait as you mentioned earlier.), and pump ISO to a usable value: say.. ISO 400(generically speaking). Your speedlite will try to expose the whole scene. Bounce would be best, if not, direct diffused would be your next best bet.

    When I do shoot events in dim places i'd do just this and play around with the ISO control and f number(depending on the DoF that i need), and leaving the shutter speed constant.

    also, if your lens has IS, it'll be a bonus.
    Canon EOS 6D|EF 24-70L|EF 16-35 f2.8L II|EF 70-200 f4L IS|580EXII|

  9. #9

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by startrails View Post
    Use manual, shutter speed 1/60, f5.6(supposing if you're shooting the family protrait as you mentioned earlier.), and pump ISO to a usable value: say.. ISO 400(generically speaking). Your speedlite will try to expose the whole scene. Bounce would be best, if not, direct diffused would be your next best bet.

    When I do shoot events in dim places i'd do just this and play around with the ISO control and f number(depending on the DoF that i need), and leaving the shutter speed constant.

    also, if your lens has IS, it'll be a bonus.
    Hi thank for your help, I'll try it out again. Thanks again for all your responses!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Making a very simple shooting situation complicated by thinking too much.

    If you have no experience of using any of the studio flash units, I suggest you better not.

  11. #11
    Moderator ed9119's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    easy...... set up a couple of hours before the shoot ..... set camera to full manual ........then get a willing subject to sit down and get the settings on the flash and camera to what you're comfortable with....... and use these settings to shoot with a couple of +/- EVs for insurance

    as Dream Merchant said......... what you should be thinking more about is posing and art direction .... set-up is the easy part

    good luck
    shaddap and just shoot .... up close
    Walkeast

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Help With Family Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Wackyzacky View Post
    Hi thank for your help, I'll try it out again. Thanks again for all your responses!
    Don't forget to use a tripod if you can. Helps alot from shaky and sweaty hands also.
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