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group photo

By featuredteacher
Four friends sprung me today demanding I take photos of them to give to someone! Bit of a nightmare initially - seeing as I have no experience with this kind of photography whatsoever and no equipment except for a camera. We took about 20 photos, but this was my favorite in the end.

Photo was shot using window light from one side, a lamp on the other and a florescent strip light above, but no flash. Lens at 50mm, ISO 200. Its had a bit of photo-shop treatment (mainly to correct the white balance), but not much.

The main problem I had was not having enough light (its not a very nice day and our window is pretty enclosed by walls anyway), but also not knowing whether to use flash or where to position the lamp. I started with flash, in fact, but it looked awful so I quit a few photos in. Well anyway I was just looking for some advice on how to make this better next time this happens (which I hope will be never again, but who knows?). So open criticism very welcome.

Tags: Portraits and people Flash and lighting Group photo

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miptog 16 3.6k 67 United Kingdom
25 May 2008 10:16PM
Nice fun/colourful photo. Like the composition too. It looks like the model (top left) has been caught mid-movement, hence slight motion blur. The two in front are in sharper focus than the two behind. Suggestions for next time:
- Use slow sync flash, and get the models to be still.
- Take flash off camera and diffuse or bounce it so that it is softer
- Raise ISO to increase shutter speed.
- Use a reflector to bounce back light onto models
takui neko 18 849 11 Spain
26 May 2008 3:53PM
Nothing much to add to what miptog already said.

Maybe just a generic rule of explanation on why is good to bounce light.
As miptog says, diffused light will be softer, that means the shadows will be more diffused having a softer transition between light and dark.

The bigger the light source in relation with the subject, the softer the shadows will be (and so more evenly lit), the smaller the light source the harsher the shadows will be.

By bouncing you make the light source "bigger" in relation to the subject.

That is something to take into account when deciding types of light, as much diffused light tends to be less dramatic (less contrast) and harsh light the opposite. Of course, ambient and drama can be also done with much diffused light, overcast days, foggy mornings, etc...

For the specific setup you describe, without much equipment, I think bouncing all over is a safe way to go, you can always correct overall contrast and exposure with Photoshop or similar.

A problem that might arise though is color temperature, window light, a lamp and fluorescent all have different temperatures so it might a bit of a pain to equalize them all. Sometimes is better just to you use one source or two similar ones that you can correct later more easily.
featuredteacher 13 47 4 China
27 May 2008 12:55AM
thanks for the advice from both of you it really was excellent - the kind of stuff which makes it really worth posting in the critique gallery! Smile

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