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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 10 Feb 2014 (Monday) 12:29
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Michelle ­ Brooks ­ Photography
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Feb 10, 2014 12:29 |  #1

I have the hardest time with large groups. For this shot I had two speed lights on stands to camera right & left. Several of the people in the last row have awful shadows on their faces which I was able to lighten a bit in the post-processing (this is only slightly adjusted, not the finished image) but I still hate it. How can I avoid this with groups this big? I had the lights about 7 ft up.


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JakAHearts
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Feb 10, 2014 13:27 |  #2

Bigger lights and more centralized would do it.


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Michelle ­ Brooks ­ Photography
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Feb 10, 2014 13:38 |  #3

I don't have bigger lights, is it not possible somehow to shoot something like this with the speed lights & not have this problem?


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JakAHearts
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Feb 10, 2014 14:28 |  #4

Sure, shoot them into umbrellas. :D I meant bigger, not stronger. :D


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Feb 10, 2014 14:43 |  #5

try to keep it to 2 rows of people... 2 flashes pointing at people will cause shadows no matter what you do!

bounce up, and you'll reduce those shadows... or add more light


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Feb 10, 2014 14:59 as a reply to  @ SMP_Homer's post |  #6

You need to keep each of the row in a single plane of reference; Row 1 seated, Row 2 about a head higher, row 3 increasing another head higher, ect. (think theater seating)

You are getting shadows because you light cannot wrap completely around one person's head and light the one behind it on the same plane.


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CAPhotog
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Feb 10, 2014 16:31 |  #7

Yes, all of the above. You may also want to increase your ISO. Then bouncing off the ceiling if possible will eliminate your face shadows. If not, 10' stands more centralized will make an improvement with more downward angle. Alternatively, bouncing off two umbrellas will diffuse your light and give you the height at the same time. Figure that people in large groups never position themselves properly so you always need to direct their position deliberately as well.




  
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Feb 10, 2014 16:33 |  #8

How were you lights aimed? If you put them aiming straight forward one on each side of the camera the side shadowing will be limited, but if you place them a ways out and point them back into the shot you will end up with more extreme shadows. And of course higher so that the shadows go down behind the subjects not back into the subjects as you have here.




  
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lehmanncpa
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Feb 10, 2014 16:40 |  #9

If you arch the rows into a quarter-moon shape and angle the lights properly, you won't get shadows and you gain some depth.


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sigma ­ pi
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Feb 10, 2014 16:40 |  #10

Move in closer with the lights and your self


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Feb 10, 2014 16:43 |  #11

taller light stands, so you can point down at about 45 degree. Bounce probably won't do much in such a tall room. Maybe even add a 3rd light on a stand just behind and above you.


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CAPhotog
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Feb 10, 2014 17:06 |  #12

See this thread. Much bigger group and his shot turned out excellent. Too bad he removed the link, but you can still read the comments.

https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1346654




  
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jcolman
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Feb 10, 2014 17:09 |  #13

Very simple. Place both light side by side and shoot them into a large umbrella, placed next to your camera, about 8-10' up. Have the lights far enough back so they cover the entire area. By having your light source next to your camera, the shadows will fall behind the subjects instead of off to the side.


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dmward
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Feb 10, 2014 17:55 |  #14

I've shot groups of 25 and more in hotel conference rooms using two speedlites, collapsible shoot through umbrellas and 10 foot light stands. One stand on each side of camera (on tripod) so the umbrellas are nearly touching. I feather the umbrellas about 15* out to minimize the center hot spot.

I shoot these in ETTL, although manual works fine, I have the camera on a tripod, to accomplish two things, first identical framing if I need to swap a head, second, permits using a slower shutter speed and smaller aperture with manageable ISO.

As I mentioned in the other thread, this is an exercise in getting smiles and seeing every face it is not a lighting exercise.


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SkipD
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Feb 10, 2014 17:57 |  #15

When I photograph large groups, I cluster my lights a few feet directly above the camera. When I'm using six monolights, each outfitted with a large umbrella, the result is a solid cluster of lighting that is about six feet high and 12 feet wide. It's like a giant softbox. I never get the shadow of a person on the people behind him/her.

When I started doing groups, I tried the two clusters of lights located right and left of the camera and got the very same horrid shadows you're seeing. Simply relocating the lights as I suggested above and using the largest umbrellas (reflective umbrellas, that is, NOT shoot-through umbrellas because they waste a lot of light) that your lights can fill on each light will solve your problem.


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