taking group shots


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Jan 28, 2008
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#1
Hi all, just a newbie here who might be taking large group photos (>30 at least) real soon.

Any advice on taking good, clear group shots (apperture,ss,flash setting,lighting,composition... etc etc.) with my 18-55 VR + sb600 + tripod?

Thanks alot for sharing :)
 

Rashkae

Senior Member
Nov 28, 2005
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#2
Indoor? Outdoor? Daytime? Nighttime?
 

roygoh

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Jan 18, 2002
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#3
Hi,

If you encounter slow response from the CS server when you click on Submit New Thread please be patient and not click the button multiple times. It may cause the server to create one thread for each click. In this case, there were 4 threads created.

I have deleted the duplicate threads.

Thanks!
-Roy
 

m3lv1nh0

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Sep 24, 2007
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#4
I also want to know what's the best settings to use when shooting a large group standing on 4 rows in a church.

I was handhelding my cam, with external flash pointing direct, 17mm, iso 1000 and only manage a F 5.6 before the shutterspeed is too slow to shoot. Turn out that the photos is not very clear and noisy. Any ideas? using canon 40D, tamron 17-50 and sigma Flash set to ETTL.
 

Jan 28, 2008
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#5
Well, i guess it will be indoor daytime for most shots, may go outdoors though.

oops really sorry mod roy.
 

Jan 28, 2008
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West
#6
so.. any tips for indoor group shots?
 

catchlights

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#7
depend how big the photo you want to print.

if it is only 4R, ISO 800, if want some thing bigger, ISO 200.

aperture f8, shutter speed 1/30~1/60s, can forget about going anything lower, cos someone sure move around.

your flash is not powerful enough, so can only shoot with direct flash.

raise yourself as high as possible, so you able to see all the heads.

pack them as close as possible, so you do waste your flash power and have enough Depth of field.

use tripod, bang as fast as many as your flash can tahan, sure have someone eyes blink, so you need to cut and paste if you are very unlucky.

don't use the widest angle, around 24mm if you can, cos widest angle won't be very sharp.

the images have to be correct exposed, if you shoot underexposed, any post product also no use, the images will be off color and noisy
 

Nov 4, 2006
555
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#8
Hi and sorry to hijack the thread! (I felt there wasnt a need for a new thread since my case is quite similar)

I will be doing a CCA photo shoot next week. Ard from 5-30 pple (depending on cca size). The venue is at the atrium, which has a ~2 1/2 storeys high roof. And time is afternoon to evening. I've seen previous photos for the same event and the whole atrium is well lit and is white. However, background, which is an open air garden is easily overexposed (even tho the group will be covering half of the bg, some cca might request to take WA shots to get the sch moto at the top). :think: Is there anyway to expose correctly for the BG and group. Do I need light strobes and if yes, any preferable settings?

Also, there're several ccas (ahem canoeist) who have dark bodies but wears a white top! How to prevent underexposure of their bodies but at the same time prevent overexposure of the top.

Would appreciate help alot! :)
 

catchlights

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#9
Hi and sorry to hijack the thread! (I felt there wasnt a need for a new thread since my case is quite similar)

I will be doing a CCA photo shoot next week. Ard from 5-30 pple (depending on cca size). The venue is at the atrium, which has a ~2 1/2 storeys high roof. And time is afternoon to evening. I've seen previous photos for the same event and the whole atrium is well lit and is white. However, background, which is an open air garden is easily overexposed (even tho the group will be covering half of the bg, some cca might request to take WA shots to get the sch moto at the top). :think: Is there anyway to expose correctly for the BG and group. Do I need light strobes and if yes, any preferable settings?
yes, the lighting ratio of the b/g and atrium are too great, you need flash to light you subjects separately.
can't give you a magic setting, as I don't know the weather and the lighting level during the shoot, and how powerful your flash is.

the key is let the background over by one stop.
Also, there're several ccas (ahem canoeist) who have dark bodies but wears a white top! How to prevent underexposure of their bodies but at the same time prevent overexposure of the top.

Would appreciate help alot! :)
if the ratio are too great, nothing you can do, except calling a lighting expert to light them up for you or photoshop
 

Dream Merchant

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Jan 11, 2007
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#10
If you want to read about other photographers recounts of lighting and shooting large groups, do a Google or Yahoo search 'Photographing large groups'. A wealth of information is there for you, and some of these are very comprehensive with step-by-step advise.

Successfully shooting a large group depends on 3 basic, but gut-wrenching factors:


1) Location/time/conditions (Always see if you can arrange for an optimum so as to minimize technical and logistics difficulties)

2) Logistics and management (mainly of the group and #1 & #3)

3) Technical considerations (Camera/lens/lights)

Also, you have to bear in mind how big the shot is going to be blown up (8x12? A2? A0? or larger? or just 4R and 5Rs?) and whether each and every face needs to be razor sharp, or whether you can get away with 'as long as can aggak-aggak recognise the person can liao' quality.

Also, sometimes, as in artofshuenalogy's case, you may need to rely on digital editing to preserve your sanity.

I find that more often than not, management and committees tend to think that group shots are a simple gather and bang affair. If only life was that simple. :bsmilie:
 

roastpuff

New Member
May 26, 2008
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#11
Also, there're several ccas (ahem canoeist) who have dark bodies but wears a white top! How to prevent underexposure of their bodies but at the same time prevent overexposure of the top.

Would appreciate help alot! :)
Bracket and HDR? ;p THat's what it's supposed to do, right, preserve the dynamic range so that you can have a wonderfully exposed picture.
 

catchlights

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#12
If you want to read about other photographers recounts of lighting and shooting large groups, do a Google or Yahoo search 'Photographing large groups'. A wealth of information is there for you, and some of these are very comprehensive with step-by-step advise.

Successfully shooting a large group depends on 3 basic, but gut-wrenching factors:


1) Location/time/conditions (Always see if you can arrange for an optimum so as to minimize technical and logistics difficulties)

2) Logistics and management (mainly of the group and #1 & #3)

3) Technical considerations (Camera/lens/lights)

Also, you have to bear in mind how big the shot is going to be blown up (8x12? A2? A0? or larger? or just 4R and 5Rs?) and whether each and every face needs to be razor sharp, or whether you can get away with 'as long as can aggak-aggak recognise the person can liao' quality.

Also, sometimes, as in artofshuenalogy's case, you may need to rely on digital editing to preserve your sanity.

I find that more often than not, management and committees tend to think that group shots are a simple gather and bang affair. If only life was that simple. :bsmilie:
for a large group it takes hours to set up, get the large group coming in, line up ready to shoot within 10mins, actual shoot less than 5min..charge a few hundreds just for this one shot.. very simple.

btw, if the photographer don't get the shot right, he is dead.
 

Jul 13, 2008
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#13
Thanks all who shares in this thread, It's an eye openere to me. I did not know taking a good group picture need to take care of so many things. It's more informative than reading Phorography magazines and books.:thumbsup:
 

Dream Merchant

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Jan 11, 2007
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#14
for a large group it takes hours to set up, get the large group coming in, line up ready to shoot within 10mins, actual shoot less than 5min..charge a few hundreds just for this one shot.. very simple.

btw, if the photographer don't get the shot right, he is dead.
This is one of the scariest group photos to have to take: http://www.google.com.sg/imgres?img...n&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=3&ct=image&cd=1

Really ties-in with your above comment. :bsmilie:



Interesting reading:

http://www.vad1.com/photo/ultimate-photo-shoot/

Skipworth decided to do the shoot with a Sinar 4x5 camera. He says it was an easy call, since the front of the camera could be tilted to get an even focus of the large group from front to back. The camera was hauled to the top of a 35-foot scaffolding built by the U.N., which, when combined with the camera tilt, successfully compensated for a shallow depth of field and the variations in subject height. Since a wide-angle lens would make the people in the front row appear larger than those in back, he chose a slightly longer-than-normal lens (150mm) to compress the image and to allow him to pull the camera back about 100 feet.

Working closely with the Photogenic group, headed by John Shirilla, Skipworth determined he would need between 6,000 and 9,000 watt seconds of light to get the needed depth of field and a sufficient light spread. (Note: My hammerhead flash has about 300w/s of power, and your typical Canon 580 probably has less than 80 or 100 w/s of power full output, direct flash.) O-O!

"The main issue for us was to light evenly," says Shirilla. "We did a lot of testing to have every area in the photograph read at f/22. That took a lot of light."

For the main exposure, Shirilla set up four main lights, consisting of 16-inch parabolas, on the high platform. Since the main source was 100 feet back and was therefore producing a harsh light, he added six more lights, three on each side, for fill. These lights were mounted on six custom-made 23-foot light stands topped with Photogenic Eclipse umbrellas that have a flat center for efficient light spread.


The Photogenic group, headed by John Shirilla, set up the lighting for the shoot.

"We found that even 23 feet wasn't high enough, so we added eight-foot platforms for a total of 31 feet," says Shirilla. "That completely took care of the cross shadows. We actually found that the distance between the chairs worked in our favor, since the shadows would fall down behind each subject."

To complete the setup, two hair light kickers, or "garlic lights," were placed at the back of the group to provide definition of heads and shoulders.

"We know that a little garlic goes a long way," laughs Shirilla, "so we had those lights set at just f/5.6."

"That lighting especially worked for Castro," he adds. "He has a nice highlight on the side of his face."
 

Last edited:

Koelsch

Senior Member
Jan 5, 2006
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The Land of the Teddy Bear
#15
depend how big the photo you want to print.

if it is only 4R, ISO 800, if want some thing bigger, ISO 200.

aperture f8, shutter speed 1/30~1/60s, can forget about going anything lower, cos someone sure move around.

your flash is not powerful enough, so can only shoot with direct flash.

raise yourself as high as possible, so you able to see all the heads.

pack them as close as possible, so you do waste your flash power and have enough Depth of field.

use tripod, bang as fast as many as your flash can tahan, sure have someone eyes blink, so you need to cut and paste if you are very unlucky.

don't use the widest angle, around 24mm if you can, cos widest angle won't be very sharp.

the images have to be correct exposed, if you shoot underexposed, any post product also no use, the images will be off color and noisy
okay noted with alot of thanks. :)
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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46
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Punggol, Singapore
www.foto-u.com
#17
This is one of the scariest group photos to have to take: http://www.google.com.sg/imgres?img...n&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=3&ct=image&cd=1

Really ties-in with your above comment. :bsmilie:



Interesting reading:

http://www.vad1.com/photo/ultimate-photo-shoot/
yes, read this one many years ago, it was feature in the Kodak Professional Network Newsletter. each of them have a 16"x20" group photo on the same day evening.
 

Nov 4, 2006
555
1
18
#18
btw, if the photographer don't get the shot right, he is dead.
That's what's stressful. Anything I can do to prepare myself other then reading up? It's my first time doing a large photoshoot.
:(

Anyway thanks for the help!
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#19
That's what's stressful. Anything I can do to prepare myself other then reading up? It's my first time doing a large photoshoot.
:(

Anyway thanks for the help!
assuming you already know all the basic of photography, the best thing you can do is doing a few test run, just gather a few students to volunteer be your guinea pigs, try till you able to get your setting right.

btw, just notice you suppose to do the shoot this week. good luck.
 

jfoo

Senior Member
Apr 7, 2004
1,347
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#20
That's what's stressful. Anything I can do to prepare myself other then reading up? It's my first time doing a large photoshoot.
:(

Anyway thanks for the help!
as suggested, have a dry run.

more importantly, re-read this thread and take note of the important points and parameters you have to be concern about.

at the shoot, TAKE CHARGE. don't let things get out of hand. if you are in control, things will turn out easier for your execution.
 

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