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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 04 Jun 2018 (Monday) 09:29
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Being Asked to Do Team Portraits -- Lens / Body Upgrade?

 
MacGrad
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Jun 04, 2018 09:29 |  #1

My daughter plays club volleyball and, for the past few years, I've been the team photographer during tournaments. While my equipment isn't necessarily the greatest, it's been doing the job for the past few years.

Each year, the club organizes a night where the official team and individual portraits are done; however, after a relatively disastrous showing this year by the photographer, the club executive has talked to me about doing the portraits for next season.

Looking through the Sports and Portrait subforums, I've noticed the following:
* Not a lot of portraits are done using the 7D
* A lot of portraits are done using a 70-200mm lens

So, now I'm questioning whether I should upgrade my lens AND/OR buy a used 5D (I or II) so that I have the "proper tools for the proper job". My requirements (if any) would be:
* Don't buy more gear than what's needed (ie. don't buy a 5D4 if a 5D2 can do the job)
* A lens purchase should be useful outside of the portrait shoot (I shoot indoor action photos for the team, and then casual photos of my son playing baseball (7-yr-old)

Is there a suggested purchase strategy to improve my gear?


7D... Tamron 17-50mm... Canon 50mm f1.8... Canon 100mm f2.0... Canon 18-55mm IS... Canon 70-300mm IS... Yongnuo YN-560 III... Metz 58 AF-1

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jun 04, 2018 09:37 |  #2

What is the imagined set up for the photos?


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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MacGrad
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Post edited 4 months ago by MacGrad. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 04, 2018 09:52 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #3

I'll have a bit of freedom to experiment, which is why I'm trying to get prepared now -- give myself a couple months to get used to any new pieces of gear.

In previous years, the photos were taken in one half of the gym while a practice is occurring on the other side. Photos usually are some variation of "kid standing against bleachers", "kid sitting on bench", "kid standing beside ball cart", etc.

If anything, I'd like to introduce some seamless white / lighting for a couple of the portraits, and work this into the standard lineup of shots they've done in years past -- give them the same type of shots as before, but also provide a creative alternative for them to consider. Nothing too complex -- at most, I'd be using a 3-light system. I've been watching the Joel Grimes "Lit Up" series for education, so I'd be using that as a jumping off point. (Thinking something like one main in front and above the player, and use my existing flashes as fill/accent lights... so yes, one of my intended purchases is a budget strobe and 24" or bigger softbox.)

Lighting in the gym would be considered standard for an older facility -- serviceable for a gym, and not meant for photography.


7D... Tamron 17-50mm... Canon 50mm f1.8... Canon 100mm f2.0... Canon 18-55mm IS... Canon 70-300mm IS... Yongnuo YN-560 III... Metz 58 AF-1

  
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stathunter
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Jun 04, 2018 10:00 |  #4

Congrats on being asked! They obviously like what they see so far. Now the hard part. I was a team photographer for a few pro sports teams and understand your issues. First I would tell you that you need to practice with the equipment you have, do tons of portraits, practice with the gear you have and set up tons of practice portraits and then do it over again. You really need more drive time behind the camera to understand the limits - the odds are you can do MUCH more with the equipment you have than you ever imagined.

Figure out lighting, figure out angles, poses, shoot lots of practice shots and critique your work and then refine your process etc. In my professional opinion a newer/better/nicer/mor​e expense camera/equipment will NOT make you a better photographer. There are tools that will help you do your job better, easier etc but it will not make you better.

Seriously, know your equipment and push it - I guarantee you will be a better photographer because of it and only then should you consider "better" gear.

Let me leave you with one story - I flew out to a large event for a big name client. Short story is that I had to shoot the climax of the event with let's just entry level camera/lens. In the end a shot I took with that gear made the front page of an international magazine. It was not the gear that did the work, it was understanding how to that did it.

All the best!


Scott
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nathancarter
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Jun 04, 2018 10:05 |  #5

For portraiture, lighting, pose, and expression are WAY more important than body and lens.

If you're shooting in a location with lighting that is bad for portraits (the gym) then to do this justice you'll want to bring your own. A basic 2-light speedlight kit can be had for a few hundred bucks - look at Flashpoint gear which is Adorama's house brand on Godox equipment. Transmitter, two flashes, two lightstands, one or two umbrellas and umbrella adapters - and you'll be set for a variety of portraiture styles.

Then it's a crash-course in strobist-style photography, and practice as much as you can, and submit here for review and advice.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jun 04, 2018 10:42 |  #6

stathunter wrote in post #18638955 (external link)
Figure out lighting, figure out angles, poses, shoot lots of practice shots and critique your work and then refine your process etc. In my professional opinion a newer/better/nicer/mor​e expense camera/equipment will NOT make you a better photographer. There are tools that will help you do your job better, easier etc but it will not make you better.

Seriously, know your equipment and push it - I guarantee you will be a better photographer because of it and only then should you consider "better" gear.
!

100 percent this^^^

Which is why I asked for the imagined set up. Bringing in lighting is going to be by far the biggest impact you can make on your gear. I'd recommend a larger modifier, maybe 36-45" deep umbrella. Hair and kickers can be bare speedlights ifbudget constraints get in the way.

Definitely get the light set up going before even considering body/lens. Your 50 or 100mm stopped down to 2.8/3.5/4, 7D at ISO 100 will probably seem like a whole new solution. Once you have that going, then decide what will be a logical upgrade.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited 4 months ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Jun 04, 2018 10:49 |  #7

Also, white seamless is a fairly specialized look and not always the easiest to work with. Mid or dark grey is often a better starting point.

It is possible to use 52" seamless and it is much easier to deal with set-up/transport, but I'd plan on buying 107. The extra expense and hassle will pay off when you get behind the camera.

My phone has killed my ability to search the forum, but look for some old threads by TMR Design and seamless in the flash forum.

Warning: it's a huge rabbit hole


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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gonzogolf
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Jun 04, 2018 21:05 |  #8

Lighting is more important than len/camera. Forget seamless though, use the venue to make a vignette. Make the net or other miscellania from the gym your background.




  
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MalVeauX
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Jun 04, 2018 21:50 |  #9

MacGrad wrote in post #18638929 (external link)
My daughter plays club volleyball and, for the past few years, I've been the team photographer during tournaments. While my equipment isn't necessarily the greatest, it's been doing the job for the past few years.

Each year, the club organizes a night where the official team and individual portraits are done; however, after a relatively disastrous showing this year by the photographer, the club executive has talked to me about doing the portraits for next season.

Looking through the Sports and Portrait subforums, I've noticed the following:
* Not a lot of portraits are done using the 7D
* A lot of portraits are done using a 70-200mm lens

So, now I'm questioning whether I should upgrade my lens AND/OR buy a used 5D (I or II) so that I have the "proper tools for the proper job". My requirements (if any) would be:
* Don't buy more gear than what's needed (ie. don't buy a 5D4 if a 5D2 can do the job)
* A lens purchase should be useful outside of the portrait shoot (I shoot indoor action photos for the team, and then casual photos of my son playing baseball (7-yr-old)

Is there a suggested purchase strategy to improve my gear?

You don't need a new camera or lens.

Lighting is far more critical here. One or two decent lights, even speedlites, let alone some strobes, would be several orders of magnitude better than even the latest full frame and/or fancy F1.4 or F2.8 lens.

Very best,


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Dan ­ Marchant
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Jun 04, 2018 23:00 |  #10

+1 to all the above. You don't need a new body.


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MacGrad
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Post edited 4 months ago by MacGrad. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 04, 2018 23:33 |  #11

Thanks for the input so far!

If we just go with the lighting aspect, I'll change my question slightly: strobe vs speedlight for the main light? I've got 2 flashes already that I imagine I'll use as fill/kicker/hair lights, but I know I'll need to buy one more (especially for when it comes to lighting the team photo).

My impression is that I'll need something a bit more powerful for a key light, especially if I'm using Brisket's suggestion and shooting it through a deep umbrella/softbox... what should I be looking for in terms of power? In a strobe, would a 120/160/180ws unit be underpowered for full body shots, or is something like the 300ws overkill?


7D... Tamron 17-50mm... Canon 50mm f1.8... Canon 100mm f2.0... Canon 18-55mm IS... Canon 70-300mm IS... Yongnuo YN-560 III... Metz 58 AF-1

  
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bpalermini
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Jun 04, 2018 23:58 |  #12

I agree with pretty much everything that has been said. If you are just doing headshots I recommend skipping the seamless paper and using a collapsible background. I like the Lastolite Reversible 5'x6' (external link). It has worked well for me when I do sports headshots and it is much easier to transport.

I also think you can get by with some speedlights and shoot through umbrellas for light.

Good luck with the project.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Jun 05, 2018 00:10 |  #13

Godox AD 200, maybe 2 of them. You can go retro (3 years ago) and buy a single 360, maybe.

Phone still won't search,come on over to the flash and lighting forum and look al all the words and measurebations posted about the Godox system.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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MacGrad
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Jun 06, 2018 00:02 as a reply to  @ Left Handed Brisket's post |  #14

I'm seeing the prices of the AD200 and the AD360 and, once converted into Canadian dollars, they're getting awfully expensive for such a "limited" use.

I've seen a couple of AD180s in the marketplace and eBay, and they seem to have specs relatively close to the AD200 -- would they be an acceptable substitute for the AD200/360? I know they're 1 stop less powerful than the AD360, and that they've been replaced in the Godox/Flashpoint lineup... otherwise, is there a reason to avoid them?


7D... Tamron 17-50mm... Canon 50mm f1.8... Canon 100mm f2.0... Canon 18-55mm IS... Canon 70-300mm IS... Yongnuo YN-560 III... Metz 58 AF-1

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited 4 months ago by Left Handed Brisket. (2 edits in all)
     
Jun 06, 2018 05:36 |  #15

If money is getting tight, I think you would be better off going with a wired/AC strobe rather than an AD180 battery powered strobe. The idea is that running the strobe at full power increases recycle time between flash pops. Slightly stronger strobe at reduced power recycles very fast.

The newer strobes also have the newer "X" trigger system. You can put a new receiver on the old 180/360 but that's at additional cost. The new strobes have it built in.

I try to keep up with all this but again, there are long threads about each of these ... well the "a new bare bulb" thread was initially about the 180 but quickly became about the 360 because very few people bought the 180.

The 200 is more comparable to the 360 than the 180, and the 200 is much more expandable than either.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Being Asked to Do Team Portraits -- Lens / Body Upgrade?
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