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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Feb 2010 (Tuesday) 05:42
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how to light good family photos?

 
des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 05:42 |  #1

i took one family shot just a few days ago, and would appreciate if any comments could be given with respect to lighting big group shots in relatively small rooms.

here's the picture!

The gear used were as follows:

tamron 17-50 with petal hood @ 30mm, mounted on tripod, max length, 30 degrees down to family

2 x YN 460ii @ MAX power, one left one right of the family, both bounced to ceiling with index card throwing light to the sides. ( i didn't place both flashes just by the side of my camera as i didn't have my light stands with me, and i'm afraid the lens would get flare if positioned too near to my camera )

fired by CTR-301P.


the PS adjustments i did were :

1. correcting barrel distortion ( notice the sides were pretty flat )

2. cloned out drawers in front of the family ( couldn't clone out the sofa as i think it's quite hard to do so? )

3. reduced exposure on extreme ends ( there was a hotspot, i guess it's because of the index cards.. )

4. adjusted for higher saturation.


---

my question is : how can i better light this shot? i actually have another opteka ef600fg unused, but would have to use it with an optical trigger instead. i also have a 43" and 33" shoot-through umbrella, both with light stands.

thanks for reading! :)




  
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Edbee
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Feb 16, 2010 08:00 |  #2

I like it. Large family shots are always a bit of guess work. As far as I'm concerned if you get them all fairly evenly lit you've done well.




  
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des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 08:06 |  #3

thanks!

getting them evenly lit is already one big challenge. i did quite a bit of exposure 'brushing' to even them out actually - it brought out quite a bit of noise since i was already at iso400. i'm aiming to print at 8R size (8"x10") for my relatives. :)

would it have been better if i used the umbrellas instead? i could see that with the ceiling bounce, the first row would be slightly underexposed as opposed to the top row.




  
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SkipD
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Feb 16, 2010 08:28 |  #4

As constructive criticism:

There's too much of the light coming from above. It creates lighting hotspots on the upper surfaces of faces (foreheads, noses, upper cheeks, etc.) and shadows under eye sockets, below prominent cheeks, etc.

I would minimize the bounce off the ceiling and use large bounce panels, umbrellas, softboxes, or a combination to get more of the light coming from a lower position. You still want to have the light appear to be coming from a very large source, but from a different direction than the ceiling.

When I'm doing large groups, I normally use four to six studio flash units on stands with big (60") umbrellas used as reflectors (rather than shoot-through) to soften the light. Positioning them takes a bit of doing, and I make many measurements across the area with my handheld light meter before getting the people into position.


Skip Douglas
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des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 08:52 |  #5

hey skipD, thanks for the comments. i agree with you on the hotspot part - inevitably a disadvantage of bouncing, and causing light fall off to the bottom.

i'm not too sure about the reflective umbrellas though - i thought shoot-throughs should give a gradual fall-off (albeit less efficient) as compared to reflective, and hence should be recommended for group shots - maximum spread.


how do you position your strobes? i only have 3 puny hotshoe units @ roughly GN38 each and don't intend to get anymore soon. don't think it can even fill up the whole of the 43" shoot-thru unless i put the WA diffuser, which is again eating up my precious light. what suggestions would you make, given the constraints of all my equipment as listed in my previous posts?




  
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SkipD
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Feb 16, 2010 10:55 |  #6

des34415 wrote in post #9619347 (external link)
i'm not too sure about the reflective umbrellas though - i thought shoot-throughs should give a gradual fall-off (albeit less efficient) as compared to reflective, and hence should be recommended for group shots - maximum spread.

The umbrellas I use are satin white with a black cover over the back. If what I wrote had you thinking about silvered umbrellas, that was wrong.

The primary reason that I do not use my umbrellas in a shoot-through mode is not the inefficiency (though that does come into the thinking) but the uncontrolled light bouncing out behind a shoot-through umbrella which then bounces all over the room and pick up unwanted colors before it gets back to the subject(s). I typically will use fairly large softboxes for lighting portrait subjects, by the way.


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rjc1
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Feb 16, 2010 14:43 |  #7

Its tuff to get the lighting needed if the equiptment isn't there. I think it looks good, but don't know how much time was spent on the PP. By the way, the man with the graphics on his shirt, looks like he would be a riot to do some funky ,funny portraits.


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baw5t0n
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Feb 16, 2010 14:46 |  #8

did you consider bouncing one lightsource against a wall behind the camera for fill?


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PhilF
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Feb 16, 2010 17:19 |  #9

a bit bright on the upper bouncing light ... the chair on the right in front of the boy (w/ the peace sign) is distracting too.


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111t
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Feb 16, 2010 18:14 |  #10

Lighting issues aside... That photo will not crop to 8x10 because it's shot too full frame. (at least without cutting off someone's arm) Be sure to leave a little space to allow for the desired aspect ratio.

Additionally watch out for the skirts.


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WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON"T HAVE A LIGHT METER AND YOU STILL WANT TO MAKE INTELLIGENT EXPOSURE DECISIONS.

  
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des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 18:33 |  #11

SkipD wrote in post #9620027 (external link)
The umbrellas I use are satin white with a black cover over the back. If what I wrote had you thinking about silvered umbrellas, that was wrong.

The primary reason that I do not use my umbrellas in a shoot-through mode is not the inefficiency (though that does come into the thinking) but the uncontrolled light bouncing out behind a shoot-through umbrella which then bounces all over the room and pick up unwanted colors before it gets back to the subject(s). I typically will use fairly large softboxes for lighting portrait subjects, by the way.

yup, i understand what you mean. that argument makes sense to me now. i was thinking of getting a brolly softbox, but what holds me back is the distance from the flashhead to the umbrella - it's just too near for the flash to spread fully across the whole umbrella.




  
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des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 18:36 |  #12

rjc1 wrote in post #9621607 (external link)
Its tuff to get the lighting needed if the equiptment isn't there. I think it looks good, but don't know how much time was spent on the PP. By the way, the man with the graphics on his shirt, looks like he would be a riot to do some funky ,funny portraits.

hmm, so you mean the positioning couldn't have been better in this case?

didn't look at the time, but i guess it was <10mins of PP work for all the fixes. usually i tell myself not to spend even >2mins on each photo - there are hundreds of them and i only touch up those that are worth fixing.

yeah, that guy's my brother-in-law. all the kids love him. hah!:lol:




  
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des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 18:38 |  #13

111t wrote in post #9622922 (external link)
Lighting issues aside... That photo will not crop to 8x10 because it's shot too full frame. (at least without cutting off someone's arm) Be sure to leave a little space to allow for the desired aspect ratio.

Additionally watch out for the skirts.

oh, the original photo had some space actually. this is the cropped version made for 4x6 prints.

no choice for the 2nd one.. as mentioned in the other thread - my wireless triggers screwed up. only one of them fired for the subsequent shots.

this pic was the only one that was lit by both flashes. :(




  
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111t
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Feb 16, 2010 18:40 |  #14

Oh ok, my bad.


All The best!
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WHAT TO DO IF YOU DON"T HAVE A LIGHT METER AND YOU STILL WANT TO MAKE INTELLIGENT EXPOSURE DECISIONS.

  
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des34415
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Feb 16, 2010 18:43 |  #15

PhilF wrote in post #9622577 (external link)
a bit bright on the upper bouncing light ... the chair on the right in front of the boy (w/ the peace sign) is distracting too.

yup.. mentioned in first post. the room was too small for the sofa to be shifted around.

any PS expert willing to share how to clone that thing out and still retain the realism of the photo? :lol:




  
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