Friday, October 29, 2010

Photography Help At Your Request #1

Kim posted her photography dilemma for tomorrow morning. I'm giving her answer it's own post as I think many of you may find yourself in this spot.

Her question:
I have been asked to take a group shot of my daughter’s dance team on Saturday. I have never done anything like this before and really want to get as nice a shot as possible. I am hoping you can help me better understand what the best course will be to get the best shot. So here’s the situation. 

12 to 14 girls
High school football field (no shade, sigh) 
9 to 10 am shoot time (sigh).
I played a little bit this morning at the correct time and here is what I discovered
Front light will get me a bunch of squinting girls but by using my M mode and light metering ( thank you so much for sharing that sweet gem on TDD) off their faces I get a pretty nicely exposed photo.
Sidelight is going keep the girls from squinting but if I meter of the shaded side of their faces the sunny side is over exposed and if I meter off the sunny side the shaded side is underexposed..
Backlight gets me well exposed girls, by metering off their faces, and a blown out background. 
Everything I read online says “just don’t ” Ok now lets get real.. We can’t always be in control of these situations… I just want to do the best I can with a situation that is out of my control…
Since I don’t have the luxury of having all the girls to play with before Saturday I am seriously hoping you can give me your best advice…Is there anything else I need to be mindful of while taking a medium sized group shot .
Wishing your Life class was already underway
Group shots are difficult. Getting everyone to look at the same direction without getting eyes closed or funky faces can be tricky. You are doing the right thing by trying it out before the girls are there. Let's talk about your choices.

A is a nice light choice, as you've noticed. IF you use this option, the best trick is to have everyone close their eyes tight. Look at the sun. On the count of three have them open, and using your continuous shooting mode snap several photos. You need to be fast with this and only try it a couple of times, their patience will be short!

I've used this when shooting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training Triathlon teams when we wanted the lake behind us leaving no choice, but to look into the sun.

Sidelight is going to be uneven and while you avoid the squint, you will need to fill in the shadows with either a LARGE reflector, diffused fill flash, or lighting. This seems to be a trickier approach that takes more gear. I'm not a big fan of hauling a ton of gear if I can avoid it.

Does the background matter? This is really your creative call. If you want both, you have two options.
Option 1 - If you choose to meter off the sky and shoot, you will need to use fill flash in order to expose the girls correctly. I like to play with my fill flash level before a real shoot. I would have someone stand in the spot you are going to shoot, fire off several frames and review them on your histogram to see what works best. Move your flash compensation up and down until you like what you see. Getting flash right always takes a little fiddling.
Option 2 - If you choose to shoot without a flash, expose for the girls, blowing out the background. Then without the girls in the frame, expose for the background. A little Photoshop magic and you've got a picture with both pieces well exposed.

This is not an easy situation, but definitely one many of us find ourselves in. Life goes on whether or not the light is at a perfect angle!

Do you have a situation you'd like perspective about? Email me at katrina at katrinakennedy dot com with the details of your situation. It might just appear here!

Kim send me an email, I have a flash tutorial I'd like to send you for posting your question and kicking off our new series!

Look forward to seeing you in Your Life Captured Through The Lens. Class starts November 2nd!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Oh wow.. My question gets it's very own post.. Katrina you are just too awesome and so right.. The background probably won't mean beans to anyone and if it does then think I will totally give the two shots photoshop blended method a try (now why did I not think of that) I also love the idea of using my flash for filling in shadows. I even thought about it as I have used it in the past (just a tiny bit). It always means playing around though and think I will be too nervous to play. I have never done the fill flash thing with a group shot. I am guessing that it would be much trickier. I would love the flash tutorial though. How do I send you my email address without sharing it with the whole cyber world though?

Again Katrina a thousand thank you's... I am so looking forward to your class..


Related Posts with Thumbnails