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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 06 Dec 2013 (Friday) 12:23
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Bouncing Light for an Indoor Pool?

 
Sagerauru
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Dec 06, 2013 12:23 |  #1

I am going to be shooting a local swim team soon and had the opportunity to visit their pool yesterday to see how the lighting was. The light isn't that great so I'm going to have to rely on the two speedlites I have to get the job done. I'm pretty confident that I have the lighting for the head shots taken care of but my big concern is lighting the group shots.

From what I understand, the swim team is rather large- 40+ members. In order to even fit everyone into the frame, I'm most likely going to shoot from across the pool. I'm estimating that the groups will be about 30 feet away (Probably more since I'm not that great with distance estimates :lol:) and the ceiling is about 20-25 feet high. My idea is to put both speedlites on light stands and position them about 1 foot out of the frame on each side, raise them up to roughly 7 feet, aim them at the ceiling and see what I end up with.

Would a setup like this work or is there something better I could try? This is my first time trying to light so many people at once so I'm not sure how to go about it. You guys are lighting wizards, though, so I hope someone can give me a few pointers! :D


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JCH77Yanks
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Dec 06, 2013 12:39 |  #2

You can try that, it wouldn't hurt... What color are the walls behind your planned shooting position? If they are white, you can bounce the light from behind you onto the group. It sounds like a challenge, but remember too look around and use any surface you can.


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adammazza
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Dec 06, 2013 12:44 as a reply to  @ JCH77Yanks's post |  #3

If you can, I'd try seting up two large shoot through umbrellas high behind your camera position, close to on axis and shoot.


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sportmode
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Dec 06, 2013 13:53 as a reply to  @ adammazza's post |  #4

With a large group, I would shoot on tripod, place shoot-thru as close as I can to the group, take photos with and without umbrellas and remove umbrellas in post. With 40+ people and with speedlites, you're probably not going to expose the folks in the back properly unless your lighting is close enough.


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chantu
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Dec 06, 2013 15:54 |  #5

Just a thought. If everyone has their swim clothes on, have them get into the pool. Use your shoot thru umbrellas to directly light up everyone.


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dmward
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Dec 06, 2013 16:44 |  #6

First choice, lights on stands close to camera position bounced into wall close behind you. Higher ISO, camera on tripod.
Second choice, lights on stands, close to camera position, aimed at swim team. Higher ISO, camera on tripod.

In both cases, keep lights high enough so shadows from one row are below the faces of the next row.

Ideally The camera should be looking down at them about 20 to 30 degrees.
If you can't get the camera and lights that high, have first row sit, next row kneel, third row standing.
When you do that, tallest sit, next tallest kneel and shortest 1/3 stand. That keeps heads closer together.
Also, remember to get them to stagger heads between two heads of row in front of them. helps with shadows and makes sure no one is hidden.

Most important, remember this a a documentation of a swimming team and the parents want to see their kid with a smile and not blocked by someone else's head. This is NOT a lighting exercise.


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pyrojim
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Dec 06, 2013 17:42 |  #7

dmward wrote in post #16507179 (external link)
First choice, lights on stands close to camera position bounced into wall close behind you. Higher ISO, camera on tripod.
Second choice, lights on stands, close to camera position, aimed at swim team. Higher ISO, camera on tripod.

In both cases, keep lights high enough so shadows from one row are below the faces of the next row.

Ideally The camera should be looking down at them about 20 to 30 degrees.
If you can't get the camera and lights that high, have first row sit, next row kneel, third row standing.
When you do that, tallest sit, next tallest kneel and shortest 1/3 stand. That keeps heads closer together.
Also, remember to get them to stagger heads between two heads of row in front of them. helps with shadows and makes sure no one is hidden.

Most important, remember this a a documentation of a swimming team and the parents want to see their kid with a smile and not blocked by someone else's head. This is NOT a lighting exercise.



I can't stress the last point enough. You will need everyone smiling at the same time(or close to that). Are you shooting age groupers? The senior team?

If the assignment is the age groupers, you will have a short window for everyones attention. The senior teams tend to be a bit more well behaved, but remember they are high-schoolers at best.

While this is NOT a lighting exercise, you still need to light everyone properly...


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dmward
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Dec 06, 2013 22:08 |  #8

pyrojim wrote in post #16507273 (external link)
While this is NOT a lighting exercise, you still need to light everyone properly...

YES! My point was that you have to get them lit so they are recognizable, not to win a lighting competition. :-)


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RandyMN
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Dec 06, 2013 22:19 |  #9

I've shot groups this large but never with speedlights. My strobes are 400 WS that will give me about an F8 using 200-400 ISO and they are not bounced but direct.

The lights are set higher than the group by about 8 feet and equally distant from the camera. I also use a fill at the camera position.

In my case I meter the strobes using an incident light meter from all positions trying to keep front to back, left to right evenly lit.

I know speedlights are powerful enough if using a high enough ISO, but bouncing while no metering... I think a lot is being left to chance unless lots of ambient lighting is also available. You did not state the time of day or how much ambient light might be available.




  
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Sagerauru
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Dec 07, 2013 00:59 |  #10

Thank you guys for all of the advice! My original post was a bit hasty as I was getting ready to head out the door but I was quite pleased with what I ended up with:

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First, let me say that I did not shoot this with the intent of selling anything to parents- I have been shooting for a local newspaper and they needed the photos to use in their sports section throughout the season. I spoke to the coach and found out that I would be shooting alongside the school's photographer who was shooting for the purpose of selling to parents. As such, I was focused on getting as good of a shot as possible for the paper knowing that it would end up printed at some point in the future.

I arrived early and setup my speedlites. They were raised up about 8' and positioned to face the group. Both were shot at 1/2 power and were angled ever so slightly forward as to try and direct the light forward a bit on the ceiling. I did have to crank it up to ISO 1600 to be sure that I would have enough light while shooting at ƒ/7.1. The image quality definitely suffered a bit at 100% but when you consider the fact that the photo will only end up in the newspaper, the added noise was well worth the final shot.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with. I was very fortunate to be able to discuss the entire process of the shoot with the school's photographer before we started working. She was a tremendous help in arranging the group photos, something I have not yet done on my own. I know that the lighting isn't perfectly even over the entire group and I will have to look into picking up white umbrellas for these kinds of shots in the future. I may also look into getting a light meter to be sure that the lighting is even. But hey, at least I ended up in the ballpark with what I have! :D

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RocketShipsandStars
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Dec 07, 2013 02:45 as a reply to  @ Sagerauru's post |  #11

It came out really nice in the end considering, really great job. :)




  
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adammazza
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Dec 07, 2013 14:36 |  #12

Good job!

Curious what did the paid photographer use for lighting?


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Sagerauru
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Dec 07, 2013 15:26 |  #13

adammazza wrote in post #16509153 (external link)
Good job!

Curious what did the paid photographer use for lighting?

Thank you! The paid photographer had a small speedlite on camera with what I think was a flash bender from Rogue. She was periodically showing me her camera screen and it looked as though everyone was exposed well. However, her lighting looked very harsh and the ambient light was not balanced with the flash exposure very well. As a matter of fact, she was also getting additional light from my YN560 since it was set to Slave 1 for the group shots but it didn't look to be doing much in her photos.


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SamFrench
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Dec 07, 2013 18:24 |  #14

Yes, good job.




  
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idsurfer
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Dec 07, 2013 19:05 |  #15

I think you got a GREAT result. I have shot swim meets and know first hand the lighting iOR! RIBLE in those venues. You should be proud of your shot!


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Bouncing Light for an Indoor Pool?
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