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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 22 Mar 2010 (Monday) 19:36
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Help/C&C - Lighting Setup for team photos indoors

 
jazeera
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Mar 22, 2010 19:36 |  #1

Hi,

I am trying to figure out what I am doing wrong, I have searched the forum and haven't found anything specific to answer my questions.

My team photos just aren't as sharp as I'd like them to be and I am not sure if it's my lighting setup, the way I meter, my camera settings, or am I standing too far back.

The gym isn't great (lights were on) and I only have two softboxes (1:1), set at eye level (5ft). Camera was set to 1/125 F8.0 ISO 200 17mm, see pictures below. Any C&C welcome...

~Thanks

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2. Original - You can actually see where the 2 soft boxes are setup.
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3. Same 2 light setup. I had to do a lot of editing to try to make it better, details are just not crisp.
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Big ­ K
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Mar 22, 2010 20:47 |  #2

Here are my suggestions.

The lights could stand to be a bit closer left and right as well as closer to the subjects. Try and keep the two lights equal distances from your center. Team photos benefit from even lighting from both sides which is different than typical portrait shooting.

f/8 - f/11 is a good range for these types of shots and ISO 200 is fine.

Try to keep them in two rows max and meter just over the head of the middle kid in the first row.

Don't shoot at 17mm. If you have the depth available that you do in the first examples, I would probably use your 50mm lens or try to shoot at around 40mm with either of your zooms. Shooting at either extreme of your zooms is typically going to leave your images softer than you want.

Move in so they fill up more of the frame but leave enough room left and right to allow for an 8x10 crop. For reference, this crop ratio loses 1/6 of the width of your viewable area if you are using the full viewable height when shooting wide like you are.

Shoot at the max sync speed of your camera. I am not sure what it is for the XTi but it should be listed in your manual and is probably 1/200 or 1/250.

If you have shaky hands, using a tripod can help as well.

Hope that helps.

Edit: The last photo also looks like it was underexposed which is what probably caused you the most problem.


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snyderman
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Mar 22, 2010 21:00 |  #3

Boy, I'm no expert at all but maybe see some things possibly going on. In the last shot, the basketball appears to be the sharpest item in the photo. Also looks like the girl holding it is moving as her right knee is really OOF.

Maybe 1/125 is too slow? The kids might not be standing as still as you think. Maybe bump up the shutter to 1/250th? Are you shooting from a tripod and using at least your 2-sec timer? If you're handholding, 1/125 might be too slow to keep the shots crisp.

Lights appear to be pretty far from the subjects as well. Maybe reduce the distance to the subjects by 50%?

Are you using the modeling light feature on your lights? Mine have off/low/high. It's easiest for the lens to grab good focus with the modeling lights full on because it casts a great amount of light on the subject. If you're just using the gym lights, you might not have enough light to grab good focus.

Lastly, where are you focusing the lens for these shots? In the last shot, the boy in the middle would have been my target as he's as close to the middle of the group as you had available.

Not sure what camera/lens combo you used. That might help spark some more discussion for improvement.

dave


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RSB
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Mar 23, 2010 02:41 as a reply to  @ snyderman's post |  #4

Well, I am an expert. Bump your ISO to 400, and lower your shutter speed to 1/60th. Use a lens that is comparable to 50mm on your camera. Put your camera on a tripod. Raise your lights as high as your stands will let you and tilt them down towards the subjects to throw the shadows directly behind the subjects and not on any walls. Focus on the center person in the front row, f8 will keep everyone in focus, f11 even better.


Randy Brister, Cr.Photog.

  
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Gatorboy
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Mar 23, 2010 04:13 |  #5

snyderman wrote in post #9851072 (external link)
Maybe 1/125 is too slow? The kids might not be standing as still as you think. Maybe bump up the shutter to 1/250th? Are you shooting from a tripod and using at least your 2-sec timer? If you're handholding, 1/125 might be too slow to keep the shots crisp.

Shutter speed is not a factor. The flash duration is more than fast enough. They are simply out-of-focus.


Dave Hoffmann

  
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NickJushchyshyn
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Mar 24, 2010 10:05 |  #6

Shutter speed can be a factor if it's long enough to allow location lighting to be captured by the image. Ideally, you want to have enough power in your strobes to completely negate the room light (i.e. your photos would look the same if the room lights were on or off).

What strobes are you using?

Shutter speed does not factor in your strobe light exposure as long as it's under the sync speed, so the strobe lighting will look the same at 1/250 or 1/60 ... but the slower your shutter is, the more room light will creep into your image, which can induce soft edges and discoloration. This is why setting shutter speed to the max sync (usually 1/250) is generally recommended.

While we're on the topic of the strobes, I agree with what has been noted above in that you didn't fill the entire frame with light for the team photo. The whole left side looks dark. Ideally, with a two light setup, the left and right lights will be balanced in power so you have even lighting across the whole group. For the cheer leaders shot, it looks like the strobes are aimed so that most of your light is being "wasted" falling in front of the group on the floor that you're cropping out of the photo, rather than being directed primarily onto your subjects.

17mm is a very wide angle for portrait work. Clearly in the gym you would have had plenty of room to move back to use a longer lens. I would recommend taking test photos at f8-f11 with all of your lenses, using different zoom values, using a tripod to find out which of your lenses provides the sharpest images. I'm guessing that your 50mm will likely serve you best at those f-stop values.

Here's an example of one of my own shots, f19, 1/250, ISO500, 28mm (using a 24-70mm f2.8L lens)

Hope this helps.


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RSB
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Mar 26, 2010 19:31 as a reply to  @ NickJushchyshyn's post |  #7

The OP was not using a backdrop in the forst 2 images. A 1/250th shutter speed at ISO200, in the middle of a gym would cause the background to go completely black and the pictures would appear to have been shot in a cave. Almost all gym lights cycle at 60hz, so by shooting at 1/60th sec or 1/30th sec, you'll cature the entire cycle, and have a consistant color cast on the background. A very simple adjustment using the Hue/Saturation slider in PS will rectify any color cast by the ambient light falling on the background.


Randy Brister, Cr.Photog.

  
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CoachB
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Post edited 6 months ago by CoachB.
     
Dec 16, 2017 11:13 |  #8

Can indoor team pictures (Bad lighting-Basketball Gym) be done with two speed lights set up with umbrellas? Off camera lighting is something new to me and I'm struggling? Speedlight and camera settings?




  
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Help/C&C - Lighting Setup for team photos indoors
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