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View Full Version : Have trouble shooting two people or more... Pls help!!


Just_started
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:19
Hi, I rented a 5dii and a 35mm 1.4L. I can shoot one person fine by having the focus point aimed between the person's eyes(is that a good method?) When it cones to more than one person, I have trouble focusing. I see that we can only select one focus point, so let's say a shot of two people. If their heads are about two feet away, how should I have my focus point?

The method that I can come up with when shooting 10 people is to set my aperture to somewhere around f10 and have my focus point at the center. This method works fine but I can't have my f stop at f10 when shooting inside unless I have really bright lights. So how do I keep everyone in focus when shooting two or more? So when I shoot inside I would have my 35mm at 1.4 and iso at 800 and that would be sufficient for the exposure speed. Now the problem is how do I keep two or more people all in focus.

I really need your help as my family I'd throwing a new year's party tomorrow and I hope to be able to give good results. I feel bad when I need to shoot two people or a group of 10. It's sad because I realized that when I shoot two people I make them crunch together and then aim at between their heads. :(

So pls help!!

SBK1
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:24
from my limited experience and depending on the size and arrangement of the group, I am thinking that f10 is a bit harsh. I'd start with 5.6 or possibly f/8. I would also change my focal point from single to multiple points. I shoot mainly sports so I sure someone will jump in here to get you on the right track. I'll be watching this thread as well.

DreDaze
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:27
you could use a flash...i think at f1.4 you might not be able to even get two eyes in focus, let alone two people...also instead of aiming for in between their eyes, i'd aim at one of the eyes...

but back to your question you'll have to stop down the lens...and bump up the ISO if the shutter is becoming too slow, and causing motion blur...doesn't the 5D MKII go to 12800? that'd allow you to stop the lens down to f5.6...i don't have the camera, and have no clue what the noise is like...but a noisey in focus shot, would probably be better than an oof noiseless shot

Vulcan58
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:32
Select all 9 focusing points, rather than just centre point, and go for smaller aperture - the larger opening you're using is narrowing your depth of field for a start, and increase the ISO to attain a faster shutter speed.

DreDaze
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:35
Select all 9 focusing points, rather than just centre point, and go for smaller aperture - the larger opening you're using is narrowing your depth of field for a start, and increase the ISO to attain a faster shutter speed.

i don't really understand how all 9 focusing points would help?...

wouldn't it be better just to choose a single one that is over the persons face?

themadman
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:39
1.4 wouldn't even focus all parts of a single eye =P Smaller aperture!

jeromego
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:40
i don't really understand how all 9 focusing points would help?...

wouldn't it be better just to choose a single one that is over the persons face?

you're right DreDaze. Having 9 focus points wouldn't really help.
having them on the same focal plane would help.

S30L28
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:51
With my 5D, if I'm shooting more than one person with my 35L, I'll set the aperature to f/4 or f/5.6 and shoot with a flash. Full manual with the focus point between the two subjects, but I usually focus very slowly until it's sharp. Then I'll take a couple of shots, and check if they're sharp enough on the camera. :\

xhack
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:58
A 35 lens at ƒ1.4 at 10 feet gives a depth of field of just 1.3 feet in front and behind the focus point. Less in front; more behind the point of focus.

Same lens, same distance at ƒ5.6 will give decent focus between 8 feet and 13.6 feet.

ƒ8 - 7.3 feet to 16 feet

See here for depth of field guide : http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

In a stepped group of 10 people, I'd go for single-point focussing on the eyes of a person about a third of the distance into that group.

zshaft
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 01:58
With my 5D, if I'm shooting more than one person with my 35L, I'll set the aperature to f/4 or f/5.6 and shoot with a flash. Full manual with the focus point between the two subjects, but I usually focus very slowly until it's sharp. Then I'll take a couple of shots, and check if they're sharp enough on the camera. :\


~ AGREE! take more than 1 or 2 pictures of the same object.
~ with f/4 , f/5.6, f/8 should be sharp enough for group photos.
I usually put f/4 for small group (3-4people) or f/8 for many people (even not in the same line).
~ use Flash.
~ Use RAW. :D

Tom H. Photography
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 02:05
A 35 lens at 1.4 at 10 feet gives a depth of field of just 1.3 feet in front and behind the focus point. Less in front; more behind the point of focus.

Same lens, same distance at 5.6 will give decent focus between 8 feet and 13.6 feet.

8 - 7.3 feet to 16 feet

See here for depth of field guide : http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

In a stepped group of 10 people, I'd go for single-point focussing on the eyes of a person about a third of the distance into that group.

This always works fine for me too. If they are in two rows behind each other, focus on the eyes of someone in the middle of the first row. I use f/5.6 to f/8 for this kind of pictures.

Try using a (bounced) flash inside if there's not enough light.

pgruiz123
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 02:06
You don't say whether you owned or rented a flash. That would help tremendously. As has been suggested f8, try 1/80th of second, play with the ISO (on the 5DII it goes up to 6400) without having to go into the expanded modes.

Just_started
31st of December 2009 (Thu), 12:43
Here's the main problem. I do use a 580exii flash with the iso at 800 and f-stop at 1.4. I do understand that it does put some out of focus, but darn it! I would love to stay at 800 iso if I could. However, I am fine with 3200 iso, but going beyond that is insane as the picture will come out grainy even though the 5dii is good at handling high iso. So here's my setting that I am willing to go to and I'd like to see how everyone's comment on it.
I really don't want my ISO to go beyond 3200, so lets leave it at 3200 ISO.
But I also realize that leaving my f-stop at anything higher than f/4 will leave the shutter speed to be too slow, thus causing motion blur(darn it if only people would stay still as I do use a tripod, but people, especially kids do not cooperate xD)
so.... shooting from 2-10 people using f/4 iso at 3200 focus at the middle row at the person's eye. Will this method be fine?
To be honest, I think I know my answer to my problem, but I am just too stubborn to want to increase my ISO any higher.

To someone who stated to turn on all focus points... I don't think that method will work. When you press the shutter button half way down, it will show its auto point at the closest distance which will leave the subjects in the back out of focus. And yes sometimes I would wish to have all 9 focus points show up T_T.

I also have one additional question. I want to know when I am shooting two people holding hands at their waist level, but with their heads spread apart about 4 feet, how should I place my single focus point at? aim at one person's eye and increase the f-stop to 5.6-8?

JVS
1st of January 2010 (Fri), 00:15
I think you do know the answer to your problem. Don't be afraid to use 3200 or higher iso ad that is what your 5dii is made for ;).

hollis_f
1st of January 2010 (Fri), 08:07
Here's the main problem. I do use a 580exii flash with the iso at 800 and f-stop at 1.4. I do understand that it does put some out of focus, but darn it! I would love to stay at 800 iso if I could. However, I am fine with 3200 iso, but going beyond that is insane as the picture will come out grainy even though the 5dii is good at handling high iso. So here's my setting that I am willing to go to and I'd like to see how everyone's comment on it.
I really don't want my ISO to go beyond 3200, so lets leave it at 3200 ISO.
But I also realize that leaving my f-stop at anything higher than f/4 will leave the shutter speed to be too slow, thus causing motion blur


I don't understand. You say you're using flash - so you shouldn't need high ISO, wide aperture and slow shutter speeds. Use something like ISO 800, f/8 and 1/60 and let the flash take care of exposure and motion blur.

James P
1st of January 2010 (Fri), 08:17
I don't understand. You say you're using flash - so you shouldn't need high ISO, wide aperture and slow shutter speeds. Use something like ISO 800, f/8 and 1/60 and let the flash take care of exposure and motion blur.

I agree. For two people standing one behind the other, focus on the ear of the person in front. Your depth of field will be 1/3 in front of the focus point and 2/3 behind it. It's been my experience that F8 works perfectly for getting both people, or rows of people in focus using this method.

artyH
1st of January 2010 (Fri), 08:33
You need to know your lens, and how much of the focus will be in front and in back at close distances...
With two people next to each other -
One easy solution is to focus on the eye of one of the two people, and shoot. If close, you will have some space on the side - just crop the image afterwards.
The "elegant" solution is to use camera controls to focus on one person, fix/lock the focus and exposure and shoot after you recompose.
With people, it is often good to just focus and shoot - and then crop out the excess space on one side of the shot.

TooManyShots
1st of January 2010 (Fri), 09:18
All the people have to be on the same focus plane. Like a line. If anyone is standing in the front or back, you would miss the focus. I am sorry but your camera or lens can only focus one point at a time. If you want EVERYTHING in focus, you need to stop down a lot. Maybe F8 or F16. Since you are indoor, this ain't going to happen. The best is to have all the people lining up on the same level or plane.

ISO setting and flash exposure would have nothing to do with your focus. They control your exposure. Unfortunately, that's another topic that needs another thread for it.

bohdank
1st of January 2010 (Fri), 10:45
I see no reason to go to any ISO higher than 400 when using a bounced flash for shooting 2 people. The flash will put out plenty of light for f4/f5.6 in most environments and with a shutter speed of 1/200 you will capture enough of the ambient light to make it look quite natural.