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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 10 Mar 2014 (Monday) 19:26
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Help picking a lens for outdoor group photo?

 
kbnguyen124
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Mar 10, 2014 19:26 |  #1

I have a Canon T3i with the standard kit lens (18-55mm). I was hoping to try picking (I can rent or borrow from a friend) a lens for an event with friends coming up where I'll be taking pictures of the group. I'm just an amateur, so I actually do not have much experience beyond using the 18-55. I have a 50mm f\1.8 lens I can borrow. I have also in the past been recommended by a pro a 24-105mm as a great all-around lens for portaits. Reading up on the forums, I've also seen the Sigma 17-50 as a recommended one. Just need a solid all-around lens (zoom isn't necessary, but prime or zoom would work) that will get the best results possible.

Some details about the shoot:
-Outdoor, in a garden of sorts
-Most likely sunny
-Group is about 17 people
-Everyone will be wearing formal attire (dresses and tuxes)




  
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moze229
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Mar 10, 2014 19:43 |  #2

If its sunny, try and find a shaded area if possible. Normally I'd suggest a diffuser, but I don't think they make one big enough for 19 people. Lol. If shade isn't possible, do it as early or late in the day as you can. Scope out your scene first.

The lens is going to depend on what you want the photos to looks like. I would just say your current lens at a wider angle would work. Normally you use a longer lens for portraits, but with that many people, unless you're a block away you won't get them all in. :)


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EverydayGetaway
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Mar 11, 2014 00:03 |  #3

Your 18-55mm will be fine for that type of shot, just stop it down to f/8 or so, even f/5.6 should be fine depending on your distance from everyone. The advice above is also really solid advice, you don't want shadows over people's eyes. I'd worry about picking up a flash or two before a lens so you can control your lighting better.


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Will ­ Chao
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Mar 11, 2014 02:58 |  #4

85mm F1.2 is my favourite outdoor group photo lens

IMAGE: http://clients.willchaophotography.com/img/s9/v86/p869470645-5.jpg

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John ­ from ­ PA
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Mar 11, 2014 04:50 |  #5

I would break the group into two rows, each row having a bit of curvature out toward the ends. If the ground is reasonably clean put the guys in the front and have them kneal on one knee. Get yourself 15 to 20 feet back and then let the zoom of your 18-55mm handle things. See if you can keep the aperture in the f/5.6 to f/8 region, hopefully without pushing the ISO above 400.




  
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l7s4
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Mar 11, 2014 14:32 |  #6

kbnguyen124--You are better off shooting with equipment that you are familiar with than breaking in new stuff at an important event. Your kit lens is perfectly adequate for this shot. The 24mm focal length may make you site the camera further back in order to frame the group.

One important factor when you frame this group...allow about 2 people widths per side empty space for framing purposes! You will lose much of this space if you print at 8x10...if you print at 8x12, the excess will be hidden by a framing mat.

A tripod is a good idea. Maybe get a remote shutter control, especially if you are in the picture. Set your focus and then disable the auto focus switch on the lens. Stop down..f5.6 minimum...maybe use f8-f11 as long as you can have a shutter speed at 1/60 or faster.

Take several shots...someone will be looking away and/or someone(s) eye's will be closed some of the time.

Rule of thumb...people are about 2' wide...about 1.5' wide if they angle in.

Remember the light. Best image, light from the back of the camera...This is can also be the worst for subjects if sun is in their eyes!!! Squinting does not produce memorable images. If you can get everyone in shade, watch for sunlight dappling on the faces.

Expose for the faces.

Software is your greatest friend! You can merge shots to get all the eyes open. If you shot RAW, you can adjust 2 full stops. If you have shot RAW before, camera will allow you to shot large jpg and large RAW at the same time. RAW take more card space but allows for better processing after the shoot. You convert your processed RAW into a final jpg image for distribution and printing. If everything were perfect, you can always just use the camera's jpg.

Practice anything new before the event. You can use chairs to stand in for people...1 chair at each side...maybe 1 in center for a focus point.

Look for other tips by searching for "group shot" on POTN.

Good luck, Paul

PS. Use a lens hood!




  
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MalVeauX
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Mar 11, 2014 15:51 |  #7

kbnguyen124 wrote in post #16749199 (external link)
I have a Canon T3i with the standard kit lens (18-55mm). I was hoping to try picking (I can rent or borrow from a friend) a lens for an event with friends coming up where I'll be taking pictures of the group. I'm just an amateur, so I actually do not have much experience beyond using the 18-55. I have a 50mm f\1.8 lens I can borrow. I have also in the past been recommended by a pro a 24-105mm as a great all-around lens for portaits. Reading up on the forums, I've also seen the Sigma 17-50 as a recommended one. Just need a solid all-around lens (zoom isn't necessary, but prime or zoom would work) that will get the best results possible.

Some details about the shoot:
-Outdoor, in a garden of sorts
-Most likely sunny
-Group is about 17 people
-Everyone will be wearing formal attire (dresses and tuxes)

Heya,

The 18-55 is all you need here (18mm will cover those 17 people). No need to buy anything unless you just want to ball up money and throw it at it, and get the same result as what you'll get with this. You will be stopping down for depth of field. F4~F8 easily. Work with the sun, you want fill flash. You're better off spending money on some lighting so you can help get rid of shadows on faces even in the sun. Sun light washes stuff out, so getting into a shady area is your goal here, and fill flash to even it all out.

If you don't already have lighting, here's my suggestion(s):

Stands + Flash Shoes + Umbrella holders
Westscott 43" shoot through umbrellas
Yongnuo 560 III's (get two)
Yongnuo RF603CII tranceivers (one package)

The 18-55 is sharp, stopped down. You won't see a dramatic difference with it and something better, stopped down for depth of field.

Make sure and stagger the people so that they're in even, flat rows, with their faces in the same plane. This will go further in making your photograph better, than a new lens will.

Otherwise, for a more dramatic look, a wide aperture longer focal length prime. But you have to know how to use this to get everyone in focus. It takes a LOT of planning and very cooperative people to get them all in the focal plane. But it can make very nice blurred backgrounds. But I wouldn't do this unless you've already done it and know how to set people up so you don't lose time and thus lose shots.

Very best,


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kbnguyen124
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Mar 11, 2014 20:57 |  #8

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm only a beginner, so this advice helps clear up a lot.
I will definitely take lighting into account. After going to the site today to practice, I noticed the bright sunlight's effects on the pictures. There were a lot of trees and plants around, so they also formed some random shadows. I can't really do too much about lighting equipment, although I can try to borrow a larger flash from my cousin. Hopefully the lighting will work out somehow.

My cousin lent me his Sigma 17-70 lens (with lens hood) anyway to play around with, so I ended up practicing with both lenses (and liked both of them for the purposes of the setting). Not worrying about the lenses anymore, although I may probably go with the 18-55 based on the advice.

I will be in the pictures, so I do have a remote shutter control for this purpose along with a tripod. :)

Thanks again, and greatly appreciate the extra set-up advice!




  
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EverydayGetaway
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Mar 12, 2014 00:28 |  #9

kbnguyen124 wrote in post #16751927 (external link)
Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm only a beginner, so this advice helps clear up a lot.
I will definitely take lighting into account. After going to the site today to practice, I noticed the bright sunlight's effects on the pictures. There were a lot of trees and plants around, so they also formed some random shadows. I can't really do too much about lighting equipment, although I can try to borrow a larger flash from my cousin. Hopefully the lighting will work out somehow.

My cousin lent me his Sigma 17-70 lens (with lens hood) anyway to play around with, so I ended up practicing with both lenses (and liked both of them for the purposes of the setting). Not worrying about the lenses anymore, although I may probably go with the 18-55 based on the advice.

I will be in the pictures, so I do have a remote shutter control for this purpose along with a tripod. :)

Thanks again, and greatly appreciate the extra set-up advice!

If you could afford to buy a lens for this, you can't afford not to buy a flash or two for this and some wireless transmitters.

YN-560 flashes (as mentioned above) are $70 each, wireless triggers can be bought as low as $15 and the same with umbrellas. If there are going to be tricky shadows in the shot, you'd be unwise not to be ready to manipulate the light better. Don't be afraid of flash photography, it can seem overwhelming, but it will make the biggest difference to your portraiture.

Read this and look into getting some cheap flashes ASAP ;)

http://strobist.blogsp​ot.com/2006/03/lightin​g-101.html (external link)


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eddie3dfx
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Mar 12, 2014 08:03 |  #10

Will Chao wrote in post #16749872 (external link)
85mm F1.2 is my favourite outdoor group photo lens

QUOTED IMAGE

QUOTED IMAGE

This is a really wonderful photo.. the hair, the colors, the clothes, the expressions.
Even the bokeh is smooth.


Canon 6D, Canon L 24-105, Zeiss Distagon 28mm 2.8, Planar 50mm 1.4, Planar 85mm 1.4, Sonnar 135mm 2.8 & Zeiss Mutar 2x, Canon 50mm 1.8
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bberg
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Mar 12, 2014 23:12 |  #11

Will Chao wrote in post #16749872 (external link)
85mm F1.2 is my favourite outdoor group photo lens

Definitely nice photos, but I have to laugh that you would suggest a lens that costs 3-4 times what his current camera/lens setup is worth. Seems like it will be a little rich unless it's just a rental for the day.

I'd imagine you'd have to be standing a mile away to get that many people in the shot. Were you 30-40 feet back from the group in these photos?

To the OP's question, either the Sigma or Canon low-end zooms will work fine - though you'll be losing the shallow DOF you might want to achieve. As another person recommended, shoot at 35mm-50mm from a distance back at f5.6-f8 to minimize distortion and maximize sharpness.

Good luck!


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Nick_Reading.UK
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Mar 13, 2014 03:48 |  #12

bberg wrote in post #16754667 (external link)
I'd imagine you'd have to be standing a mile away to get that many people in the shot. Were you 30-40 feet back from the group in these photos?

I agree and I just don't get it!! an 85mm for a group photo (and 1.2 is overkill) .. very strange choice in my opinion.. Never the less the second photo is good..


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kin2son
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Mar 13, 2014 03:57 |  #13
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Nick_Reading.UK wrote in post #16754935 (external link)
I agree and I just don't get it!! an 85mm for a group photo (and 1.2 is overkill) .. very strange choice in my opinion.. Never the less the second photo is good..

And why not? Not a strange choice at all.

I'd use a 135L if space allows...


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Nick_Reading.UK
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Mar 13, 2014 04:14 |  #14

kin2son wrote in post #16754940 (external link)
And why not? Not a strange choice at all.

I'd use a 135L if space allows...

DOF. everyone being in Focus


EOS 5Dmk3 X2, 60D, EF24-70mm f2.8L mk2, EF70-200mm f2.8L IS mk2, EF85mm f1.8, EF50mm f1.4, EF50mm f1.8 mk1(350D with 18-55mm Sh"kit" lens).
Speedlite 600EX-RT, 430EX II Flash. manfrotto 190XDB tripod, Giottos GTMML 3290B Monopod, B+W 77mm 110 Single Coated filter, Hama 77mm Variable Neutral Density Filter.

  
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watt100
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Mar 13, 2014 06:24 |  #15

kin2son wrote in post #16754940 (external link)
And why not? Not a strange choice at all.

85mm on a crop for group pics? seems strange to me




  
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