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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 29 Jul 2011 (Friday) 00:19
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Large group photography - 200 people! Any suggestions? TIps?

 
Cliffff
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Jul 29, 2011 00:19 |  #1

Hi,

I'm thinking of purchasing two Einsteins with two large PLB's for a shoot in NYC.
It's only for one photo but its a photo of 200 people for an event in central park.
I was thinking of getting the vag mini's (one for each) setting them up high on c-stands and cross lighting them from a bridge looking down onto the group.
Does anyone have any suggestions or see any problems with this?
Will the two lights be powerful enough? I'm shooting around sunset, maybe a little bit before, and have a 5D mark II, so I don't mind pushing the ISO to 1600 - the largest print will be 8x10's as a party favor.

I have another shoot coming up a few weeks after for a 40 person group shot which is why I would rather buy than rent. I'd prefer not to rent as I don't like throwing my money away but if the profoto's are the better option (even just for one shot) then so be it.

Light modifier tips anyone? I'll be roughly 70-80 feet away up on a bridge so I'm looking for a powerful yet even spread.

Thanks for all your input!


Clifford Pickett - Freelance visual artist photo/video
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Curtis ­ N
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Jul 29, 2011 07:27 |  #2

What's a PLB?


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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Kechar
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Jul 29, 2011 08:06 |  #3

That's a Parabolic Light Buff, everyone knows that ;)

You "could" throw your camera up on a steady tripod and do the shot by lighting each person individually, then composite all 200 pictures together!!!

DO IT!!!!


flickr (external link) KCharron.net (external link) - 5D mark III (gripped) | 24-70 2.8 VC | 85 1.8 | 50 1.4 | 70-200 2.8L
[LIGHTING: 3 Einsteins, AB400, CyberCommander, 2 VLMs w/2 spare bats, 2 64" PLMs, 24x32 softbox, 22" BD, grids and diffusers, Avenger stands and boom.]

  
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Curtis ­ N
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Jul 29, 2011 09:15 |  #4

A parabolic modifier won't give you even lighting across a big group. You'd be better off with traditional silver umbrellas.

You'd get a guide number of maybe 100 feet with a 640ws flash and silver umbrella. So make that GN 140 feet with two of them.

From 70 feet away you'd need f/2 at ISO 100.
Or f/4 at ISO 400.
This would never work in midday sun, but at sunset the ambient level should be low enough.

Put the two lights close together, right above and behind the camera.


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
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Brian_R
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Jul 29, 2011 09:22 |  #5

just make them stand super still and do a long exposure lol




  
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Cliffff
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Aug 08, 2011 12:37 as a reply to  @ Brian_R's post |  #6

Thanks for the tips. I will definitely be using a tripod. Will do this around sunset and will keep the ISO at least at 400, I don't have a problem doing 800 with the 5D MKII for an 8x10 with a little lightroom noise reduction.
Still a little unsure as to what light modifier will give the most even light for that large of a group of people. I don't have a lot of time to set up so I am trying to keep it simple with two large light sources. Flanked on both sides and up high makes sense, so does sunset to even out the exposure.


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Shockey
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Aug 08, 2011 12:44 |  #7

Shoot ambient, you will have a VERY difficult getting even lighting on that many people.


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dmward
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Aug 08, 2011 12:47 |  #8

If the wind is slight, the large white PLM as a shoot through should work. One on each side of the camera.

Use the black spill kill backs.

You are creating two large china lights. so moving the out toward the edge of the group on each side and feathering them back toward the middle will work and not cause bad shadows if handled properly.

Biggest challenge doing something like this is finding a big light source that is strong enough and then getting it to evenly illuminate the subject.

Front to back fall off may also come into play.


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Curtis ­ N
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Aug 08, 2011 14:13 |  #9

dmward wrote in post #12897550 (external link)
You are creating two large china lights. so moving the out toward the edge of the group on each side and feathering them back toward the middle will work and not cause bad shadows if handled properly.

I respectfully disagree with this recommendation.

In a multi-layer group shot, putting the lights out on the corners will create shadows on faces in the second and subsequent rows from the heads of the people in front of them. And my guess is the OP does not have the experience to properly aim and feather them to provide even light from one side to the other.

There's no perfect way to light a big group, but keeping the lights as close to the camera as possible will minimize any noticeable shadows.


"If you're not having fun, your pictures will reflect that." - Joe McNally
Chicago area POTN events (external link)
Flash Photography 101 | The EOS Flash Bible  (external link)| Techniques for Better On-Camera Flash (external link) | How to Use Flash Outdoors| Excel-based DOF Calculator (external link)

  
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SkipD
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Aug 08, 2011 15:47 |  #10

Curtis N wrote in post #12898040 (external link)
There's no perfect way to light a big group, but keeping the lights as close to the camera as possible will minimize any noticeable shadows.

I agree 100%.

Even for groups of 50-75 folks, I use four to six AB strobes (four B1600s and maybe two B800s because that's what I have available). They are all kept slightly above but very near the camera, all with 60" umbrellas on them.

The reason for the multiple strobes is to get enough light to have a good depth of field so everybody's face is reasonably well in focus. Cutting back to two lights would reduce that.

PS - I forgot to mention that I usually do large groups with the camera at a significantly elevated position. I'll often use my 8-foot stepladder with a camera mount system that I built for the ladder.


Skip Douglas
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dmward
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Aug 08, 2011 17:44 |  #11

Curtis N wrote in post #12898040 (external link)
I respectfully disagree with this recommendation.

In a multi-layer group shot, putting the lights out on the corners will create shadows on faces in the second and subsequent rows from the heads of the people in front of them. And my guess is the OP does not have the experience to properly aim and feather them to provide even light from one side to the other.

There's no perfect way to light a big group, but keeping the lights as close to the camera as possible will minimize any noticeable shadows.

Curtis, I agree with you and that's why the disclaimer.

Just offering an option. The china light approach generally is soft enough to minimize shadows and if the group is very wide, concentrating the lights at the camera is likely to cause falloff at the edges which is also undesirable.

I took the comment about the bridge to imply that he could get the lights high enough to have them aimed down at the group at a fair angle and have them looking up which also minimizes shadows row to row.


David | Sharing my Insights, Knowledge & Experience (external link) | dmwfotos website (external link)

  
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MrScott
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Aug 08, 2011 22:34 |  #12

1. Here's a good read regarding multiple lights and 100+ people in heavy SUN... http://www.robgalbrait​h.com …age.asp?cid=7-10046-10396 (external link)

2. Do you need a permit to setup light stands in the park? VAL's might get you around any permit issues? What about the bull horn?

3. IF you can score another 20 people to "hide" out on top of the bridge your shooting from - I would recommend a combination of crushed neon side walk chalk and water ballons to really cap off the evening! :) Hog tie the ballons to about 50' of fishing line and you'll get some really good spread when they pop in the air!




  
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ean36
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Aug 09, 2011 05:06 |  #13

MrScott, could you please further explain #3. Possibly show an example.


be safe and well. George
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MrScott
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Aug 09, 2011 07:45 |  #14

Just a stolen idea from a foam party set in a 3 story arena that had blacklights and strobes. I unfortunatly wasn't prepaired for the show.

Technically, they dropped ballons that were tied onto 5 to 10 feet of fishing line. The results were exceptional.

I only assume that the same action lit from the front, side or behind would look quite colorfull!




  
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Cliffff
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Aug 09, 2011 16:44 as a reply to  @ MrScott's post |  #15

Just pulled the trigger and got two einsteins with 2 64" silver PLM v2's and 2 vagabond minis. Cybersync and receivers as well. And white front diffusion fabric if needed and I can get away with it. Also bought 2 standard 7" reflectors as a back up in high wind or not enough power.
Thanks for all your help and suggestions


Clifford Pickett - Freelance visual artist photo/video
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Large group photography - 200 people! Any suggestions? TIps?
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