smallick wrote in post #17463242
Hi, I have been shooting friends and family events for a long time, but this weekend I have my first paid gig and understandably i'm really nervous. It's ok to screw-up for free but for good money?
The family is a largish group, about 12 adults and a bunch of children. It will be mostly outdoors. I will be using a canon 60d with 50mm 1.8 and 70-200 f/4. I have a 430ex for fill. Will appreciate all the tips that you can offer.
Thanks a bunch in advance
Scout the location. Look for the best placements during different parts of the day.
You need to know the time it's happening. Best time is morning or late evening. Not mid-day. But most people always want to do it mid-day.
This is why you need to scout the location to know your areas during the worst shooting light of the day.
These locations should really mostly be out of the sun.
You want to avoid direct mid-day sun typically. And you want to avoid squinty eyes. And avoid weird shadows from the environment on faces.
Shooting wide open for isolation is nice and all, but with a large group, it takes a lot of planning and posing. Be prepared to stop down for depth of field.
Again this is why scouting the location matters, you want to know your backgrounds when you're stopping down are not trashy or unsightly and instead provide context.
A single flash will not do much for 12 people. It's good fill for small groups of 2~3, assuming they are back-lit or in really dark shade.
I would plan some basic large family poses that you know will work, that have symmetry, and keep them in a good flat plane, so that you don't have to shoot at F8 just to get them all in focus, but shooting around F4 will probably be a good start even with planning. Don't try to do them at F1.8 as a group. Have the planned shots and planned group photos and pre-scouted spots to do them in. And keep the worst light of the day in mind, so they're not looking into the sun, having squinty eyes or being total back-lit (not enough flash to do 12 people in one go). You want them facing a direction that keeps the sun out of eyes, and from directly behind them. Again, look for shade with nice background context in case it's in focus (avoid parking lots obviously, power lines, garbage cans, etc).
And then do a lot of candids of singles, kids, couples. And just get creative with that.
Take several shots of each pose; micro-expressions matter.
Hands matter. Don't forget about them.