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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 Aug 2011 (Saturday) 17:18
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Lighting a larger group

 
Jonko
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Aug 13, 2011 17:18 |  #1

I´ve been asked to take a groupshot of a family, the group will be somewhat large (~25ppl) and I´m not sure how to put up the lights, it will probably take place in a local sportscentre so there will be plenty of space.
My gear: 2*300ws flashes with ~90cm umbrellas.

I made a pic of my thoughts but i think I should place the lights a little further back.


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rsieminski
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Aug 13, 2011 17:38 |  #2

I would place the lights at 45 deg to the group with the brolly on the right pointed directly at the guy farthest to the left, and the brolly on the left pointed directly at the guy the farthest to the right. Keep them high so the front row does not cast a shadow on the guys in the second row. I'd shoot at like f/8, and focus on the center middle row. Keep the lights at least 10" away on the diagonal.


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jdpence
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Aug 13, 2011 18:43 |  #3

10 inches may be a little close ;)


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SkipD
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Aug 14, 2011 07:07 |  #4


  1. Get the group organized in a curve so that everybody in a row is the same distance from the camera.
  2. Make sure that you have enough distance between the camera and the group to avoid perspective distortion. You do NOT want to simply use a very short focal length lens to "get them all in" from a close distance, as that will distort the elements of the group at the corners. Your sketch should have the camera about five times further from the group than it shows.
  3. Get the camera ABOVE the group. For large groups, I often use a six-foot or eight-foot stepladder with the camera mounted on a rig (that has a ball head on it) that I bolt to the top of the ladder.
  4. Get both of your lights two or three feet above the camera and locate them as close in to the camera (on both sides of the camera) as possible. This will help to avoid nasty shadows of someone's head on someone else's face.

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lazer-jock
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Aug 14, 2011 07:59 |  #5

SkipD wrote in post #12932239 (external link)

  1. Make sure that you have enough distance between the camera and the group to avoid perspective distortion. You do NOT want to simply use a very short focal length lens to "get them all in" from a close distance, as that will distort the elements of the group at the corners. Your sketch should have the camera about five times further from the group than it shows.

Skip, any suggestions on this? I occasionally shoot large groups as well and have not gone below 50mm so far, but I have thought about adding the Sigma 30/1.4 to my lineup. Would that be pushing it based on your experience?


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SkipD
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Aug 14, 2011 08:04 |  #6

lazer-jock wrote in post #12932331 (external link)
Skip, any suggestions on this? I occasionally shoot large groups as well and have not gone below 50mm so far, but I have thought about adding the Sigma 30/1.4 to my lineup. Would that be pushing it based on your experience?

It's not the focal length that matters, but the distances between the people in the group and the camera. When you start getting too close (and using a shorter focal length to "get it all in"), you start seeing perspective distortion.

Actually, though, because the 30 mm focal length is a "normal" focal length for your camera, I would suspect that you'd still be OK because you'd probably still have to keep the camera far enough back from the group.

For more information on perspective control, please read our "sticky" (found in the General Photography Talk forum) tutorial titled Perspective Control in Images - Focal Length or Distance?.


Skip Douglas
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Jonko
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Aug 14, 2011 15:20 |  #7

SkipD wrote in post #12932239 (external link)

  1. Get the group organized in a curve so that everybody in a row is the same distance from the camera.
  2. Make sure that you have enough distance between the camera and the group to avoid perspective distortion. You do NOT want to simply use a very short focal length lens to "get them all in" from a close distance, as that will distort the elements of the group at the corners. Your sketch should have the camera about five times further from the group than it shows.
  3. Get the camera ABOVE the group. For large groups, I often use a six-foot or eight-foot stepladder with the camera mounted on a rig (that has a ball head on it) that I bolt to the top of the ladder.
  4. Get both of your lights two or three feet above the camera and locate them as close in to the camera (on both sides of the camera) as possible. This will help to avoid nasty shadows of someone's head on someone else's face.



  1. So I should "bend" the line a little towards the camera you think?

  2. My idea was to use ~50-~70mm but space will be no problem.

  3. This one I doubt will suit the style they are requesting, they want a simple group pretty muck like the ones you get in school.

  4. In my mind this will make the persons in the middle more lit than the ones on the edges, am I wrong? Maybe I should angle them slightly outwards?



  
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SkipD
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Aug 14, 2011 15:35 |  #8

Jonko wrote in post #12934018 (external link)

  1. So I should "bend" the line a little towards the camera you think?
  2. My idea was to use ~50-~70mm but space will be no problem.
  3. This one I doubt will suit the style they are requesting, they want a simple group pretty muck like the ones you get in school.
  4. In my mind this will make the persons in the middle more lit than the ones on the edges, am I wrong? Maybe I should angle them slightly outwards?


  1. I would. It can keep the people's size relationships more normal. It's a bit easier to light. My experience is that getting everybody in focus is a bit easier.
  2. Space is good.
  3. Either get the various rows standing at different levels or get the camera up a bit so that you can see every face individually in the image.
  4. I typically work with four to six lights for large groups (usually 60 or more people). I keep the lights all bunched up together (each with a 60" umbrella on it) above and just either side of the camera and aimed from the central point toward various points in the group. Before getting the subjects in front of the lights, I try to adjust the lights so that all subject positions get lit within ±1/2 stop or so of the median value. This requires the use of a meter and remote triggering, of course.

Skip Douglas
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Jonko
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Aug 14, 2011 16:14 |  #9

SkipD wrote in post #12934074 (external link)

  1. I would. It can keep the people's size relationships more normal. It's a bit easier to light. My experience is that getting everybody in focus is a bit easier.
  2. Space is good.
  3. Either get the various rows standing at different levels or get the camera up a bit so that you can see every face individually in the image.
  4. I typically work with four to six lights for large groups (usually 60 or more people). I keep the lights all bunched up together (each with a 60" umbrella on it) above and just either side of the camera and aimed from the central point toward various points in the group. Before getting the subjects in front of the lights, I try to adjust the lights so that all subject positions get lit within ±1/2 stop or so of the median value. This requires the use of a meter and remote triggering, of course.




  1. Ok

  2. Indeed

  3. I´m thinking that 1st row will be sitting, 2nd standing and 3rd standing on a small bench

  4. Ok I will probably give that a shot, I will have an hour or so before they arrive.
    I will ofcourse use a lightmeter, I don´t think it would be very popular to try and dial the lights in by chimping..




  
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Lighting a larger group
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