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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 03 Aug 2012 (Friday) 13:27
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Group Photo's

 
SolEterna
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Aug 03, 2012 13:27 |  #1

Hey everyone,

I need a little advice... After loads of reading, I have established that using the center focus point by itself along with AI Servo is a great combo for wedding photography for when the bride and groom are moving towards me, or just moving in general. I have also ascertained that using the eyes/ nose as the focal point here will also assist in giving me a tack sharp image. (Of course shutter speed and aperture, etc. are factors too)

However, I have notied that when I do group shots, they are quite simply not tack sharp. Do I need to use the One Shot feature on my camera along with the centre focus point alone or is it better to ensure that all focal points are active along with One Shot?

I guess what I want to know is how do I ensure a tack sharp, or at the very least a crisp and clear group photo of about 6 - 18 people. Would I need to use all focal points, or keep it as my cneter focal point?

Thanks a lot everyone


“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” - Isaac Asimov (Lenses: Canon EF 50mm 1.8, Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS)

  
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jkru617
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Aug 03, 2012 13:44 |  #2

You need to make sure your aperture is small enough to give you the depth of field to cover everyone's face. Look up DOF converter Edit: DOF calculator. http://www.dofmaster.c​om/dofjs.html (external link)




  
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amirg
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Aug 03, 2012 14:01 |  #3

^^^ This. As far as focus point, don't use all of them. Doing so you are trusting the camera to identify the subject for you. Use one shot with center point and recompose or if you have a higher end camera with sufficiently sensitive outer focus points, use whichever falls somewhere on the subject with enough contrast.


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SolEterna
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Aug 03, 2012 14:58 |  #4

Thanks for the feedback and I will keep my center point as the one to use.

Sorry to be such a newb, but I struggle to interpret the DOF calc. I think what I essentially want to know is where on that calc does it tell me how close/ far I need to be away from my subject (group of people) to ensure the sharpness of my photo?

I understand how the features work in terms of selecting apertures, camera type, etc. it's the right hand side that throws me off.

Thanks in advance


“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” - Isaac Asimov (Lenses: Canon EF 50mm 1.8, Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS)

  
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Red ­ Tie ­ Photography
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Aug 03, 2012 14:59 |  #5

Can you show any photos with examples for what you are seeing that is not sharp?


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jkru617
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Aug 03, 2012 15:07 |  #6

Here is a better calculator. They also should have an app for your phone
http://www.cambridgein​colour.com/tutorials/d​of-calculator.htm (external link)
The Total Depth of Field calculation is the amount of space that will be in focus.




  
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SolEterna
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Aug 03, 2012 15:13 |  #7

I will post some pics on Monday Bryan. I fear the critique, but will also value it a lot.

I guess I really want to know what distance I would need if I used specific settings.

Bear in mind that the pics I will post were taken before I changed to the center focus point and also when I started out taking photo's.


“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” - Isaac Asimov (Lenses: Canon EF 50mm 1.8, Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS)

  
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gen2roller
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Aug 03, 2012 15:18 |  #8

SolEterna wrote in post #14810366 (external link)
I will post some pics on Monday Bryan. I fear the critique, but will also value it a lot.

I guess I really want to know what distance I would need if I used specific settings.

Bear in mind that the pics I will post were taken before I changed to the center focus point and also when I started out taking photo's.


I've found people don't really judge here, only give honest criticism. don't be too worried!

Also, that chart that was posted tells you the information you need to know. what distance you need can't be determined. say you were shooting iso 200 at f/16 at 1/200, you want to know at what distance things will be in focus. you'd need to know the approximate distance to your subject first to know how wide your plane of focus will be. so at f/16 with a 50 mm lens with the subject 10 feet from you, there will be an 8.5 foot wide plane of focus, 10 feet from your camera. that means they can move toward the camera 3 feet and away from your camera 5 feet and still be in focus the whole time.


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SolEterna
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Aug 03, 2012 15:58 |  #9

That makes sense gen2roller, thanks a lot!!

Basically, I need to get the approximate distance from camera to subject then use the DOF calc and that will tell me where they will be in focus.

I do know that I need to use the center focus point though and have changed that on my camera accordingly.


“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” - Isaac Asimov (Lenses: Canon EF 50mm 1.8, Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS)

  
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picturecrazy
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Aug 04, 2012 13:21 |  #10

There are many elements that need to come together for a quality group photo.

1. Ensure proper focus. Getting proper focus is KNOWING how to focus first! Use one shot, target a hard contrast line. I like to use the line between the groom's lapel and white shirt. In many cases, if I have a few seconds I use live view and manually focus.

2. DOF. Get enough DOF to get the look you want. For family and "line-em-up" photos, you want everybody within the DOF. For more artistic bridal party photos, there are no rules for it. Put them all in the DOF or purposely leave people out of it.

All in the DOF:

IMAGE: http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/misc/forumpics/POTN/GroupPhotos/144836_7590.jpg

DOF intentionally too small:
IMAGE: http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/misc/forumpics/POTN/GroupPhotos/174444_6091.jpg

3. Exposure. Getting a good exposure is paramount to getting the cleanest and most detailed image possible regardless if it's available light or flash. Keeping ambient background exposures controlled also can help in improving contrast and detail on your subjects. Too bright of a background will wash out details of your subjects and can make them look "soft" and lose edge and outline definition.

For this pic, if I made the background brighter, we would have totally lost all definition in the hair, not to mention the smoke would be overcooked and it would blend into a soupy mess with the background. The good exposure on the faces provides a great level of contrast, detail and crispness.
IMAGE: http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/misc/forumpics/POTN/GroupPhotos/165650_6870.jpg

3. QUALITY light. Getting high quality light on your subjects is very important. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but contrary to what most beginner photographers say, overcast cloudy days are horrible for light quality. You get super bright foreheads and noses but eyes that are dark as hell. You can overcook the skin to see the eyes but the overall quality of the light isn't great. Getting good light throughout the faces will improve the perceived "sharpness" of the photograph.

Quality available light:
IMAGE: http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/misc/forumpics/POTN/GroupPhotos/153610_5031.jpg

Inadequate available light:
IMAGE: http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/misc/forumpics/POTN/GroupPhotos/123252_9824.jpg

The poor natural light can be improved with some flash.
IMAGE: http://www.nightanddayphoto.ca/misc/forumpics/POTN/GroupPhotos/123307_9826.jpg
Not only can you now see their eyes, it allows you to dial down the ambient exposure which brings the background to life too! The fountain is clearer, the sky is visible, the trees are more crisp, and it greatly improves the separation between the background and the subjects. They wanted the fountain visible in the background so it makes no sense to drown it out with poor exposure control.

Those are the very basics of getting quality group shots.

-Lloyd
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Ephur
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Aug 05, 2012 12:44 |  #11

LLoyd, great write up on the group shots. Applicable beyond wedding groups too, nice thoughts on the exposure, thanks for taking the time.




  
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-AP-
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Aug 05, 2012 12:51 |  #12

Ephur wrote in post #14817311 (external link)
LLoyd, great write up on the group shots. Applicable beyond wedding groups too, nice thoughts on the exposure, thanks for taking the time.

I agree! Excellent post and thank you as well....


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nicksan
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Aug 05, 2012 21:07 |  #13

Hey Lloyd. What was your flash setup for the last group shot? Yeah, pretty big different IMO.




  
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SolEterna
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Aug 06, 2012 06:41 |  #14

Hi Lloyd,

Very awesome write up. I'm so glad that you responded to my query on group photo's, thanks so much.

I actually had a look at some of your pics before you responded and they are very good.

Thanks again, it is foor for thought for me.

Do you use a light meter or trust the one inside the camera? We often have cloudy overcast days here.


“In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate” - Isaac Asimov (Lenses: Canon EF 50mm 1.8, Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS)

  
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Pupu
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Aug 06, 2012 13:16 |  #15

Excellent! Now I can understand my lens and it behavior better. Thank you!


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