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01-04-2016, 10:06 AM   #1
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Advice welcome! - settings for team shots

Hi guys! I've been asked to do soccer team photos next week. I'll be offering a team shot in 8x10 and individuals in 5x7. I've got my K-x and was thinking I would use Tammy 17-50 for group shot and da 50 for individual shots. I have never done these before, so I'm pretty nervous. I've been looking at pictures online so I have ideas for posing before I go in. Does anybody have any advice to offer - settings, equipment, anything? Thanks in advance!

01-04-2016, 10:11 AM   #2
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Lighting will be the most important thing. Either have flash / strobes available or make sure the area is lit to best advantage. If inside you might also run into color balance issues. Best to take test shots prior to the shoot and check for WB and lighting.

Either lens will be fine, not sure I would I bother switching, the 17-50 will work for portraits as well but that's up to you.
01-04-2016, 10:15 AM   #3
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Sounds great. Thanks! I don't have strobes yet, I do have my af540. Photos will be done outside between 4:45-5:30, so there will still be sunlight, so maybe a little fill will be enough? Or do I need to set it up off camera?
01-04-2016, 11:03 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by TinaS Quote
Sounds great. Thanks! I don't have strobes yet, I do have my af540. Photos will be done outside between 4:45-5:30, so there will still be sunlight, so maybe a little fill will be enough? Or do I need to set it up off camera?
It depends on the location but from where I am (Denver), the sun is already down at 5PM. Outdoors at that time a flash will be mandatory. If you don’t have one I suggest investing on a 5-in-1 reflector disk (32” or larger) and practice with bounce flash – If you haven’t already. You would also need either an assistant to hold the reflector or invest on a reflector stand if you wish. Your 540 flashgun along with a reflector disk will go a long way if used properly – on or off camera.

I'm not sure what your experience is with flash photography but just in case, a few things to remember and practice before the shoot: Shutter Speed (within reason) affects ambient but not flash power, Aperture affects flash power (and dof of course) but not ambient, ISO affects both. Cheers and Good Luck!

01-04-2016, 11:12 AM   #5
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My experience with flash is pretty basic. I'll order a reflector and hopefully have time for some practice. Thank you both for the advice.
01-04-2016, 11:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
It depends on the location but from where I am (Denver), the sun is already down at 5PM. Outdoors at that time a flash will be mandatory. If you don’t have one I suggest investing on a 5-in-1 reflector disk (32” or larger) and practice with bounce flash – If you haven’t already. You would also need either an assistant to hold the reflector or invest on a reflector stand if you wish. Your 540 flashgun along with a reflector disk will go a long way if used properly – on or off camera. I'm not sure what your experience is with flash photography but just in case, a few things to remember and practice before the shoot: Shutter Speed (within reason) affects ambient but not flash power, Aperture affects flash power (and dof of course) but not ambient, ISO affects both. Cheers and Good Luck!
Dead on. And I cannot emphasize enough to get some practice in and get things straight in your head before you go to the shoot. Practice, practice, practice. There will be so many other things going on at the time of the shoot that will take up your attention. The camera stuff has to be automatic so your hands know what to do even if your brain is going "eeeeek!".
01-04-2016, 11:38 AM   #7
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Oh I forgot, I'm in Texas and sunset is around 5:30. I'll have 14 kids. Fifth graders - maybe they will even sit still for pictures. The thing that worries me is getting a reflector and practice in time. When this came up, it was a "would you?" I said, "yes, let me know when." I thought there would actually be more than a weeks notice...
01-04-2016, 12:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by TinaS Quote
Oh I forgot, I'm in Texas and sunset is around 5:30. I'll have 14 kids. Fifth graders - maybe they will even sit still for pictures. The thing that worries me is getting a reflector and practice in time. When this came up, it was a "would you?" I said, "yes, let me know when." I thought there would actually be more than a weeks notice...
There are alternative bounce materials you can use if ordering a reflector is too late. A large foam-core will work just as good. I'm only beginning to step outside of the "basic" knowledge of flash photography after a "botched" experience with a pro for my wife's head-shots. One thing a learned and made a huge difference is you want to avoid direct flash as much as possible.

You can search online for DIY bounce cards for the 540 and use a large foam-core or similar material as a reflector. I shoot mostly sporting events - martial arts - but also do quite a few events for my kids' school, 1st and 5th graders. I can tell you from experience getting the correct exposure is not as hard as keeping kids still, especially if their friends are running about and playing around. An assistant will be invaluable in your situation, I think. You will do good!

01-04-2016, 12:58 PM   #9
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I'lol go the DIY route. I don't know why I didn't think of that. Now gotta figure out who to rope into being an assistant....

I'm thinking I'll use aperture priority, f8 for the group, 5.6 for individual. I know the poses we will use. I'm a little worried about bouncing off a reflector. That seems like it would be tricky hitting it right. A little smaller than say, a wall. Lol I may be worrying too much. I just don't want to mess up. The people who asked me to do this, were some who hired me for senior pictures. Now I'm worried about living up to expectations. Especially since a group of 5th graders are bound to be more challenging than an 18 year old.

Now I remember your post about your experience with your wife's head shots. You did a nice job on the ones you took.
01-04-2016, 01:43 PM   #10
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I'm assuming you'll be shooting around/after sunset. I would consider renting off camera flash (or two) with a trigger. You can also use a softbox for a nice effect.
01-04-2016, 01:55 PM   #11
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Sunset has been about 5:30. We will be starting pictures at 4:45.
01-04-2016, 02:00 PM   #12
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I'm generally a fan of natural light as it is. With that said, do you have access to external flash/strobes?

And who decided on location? Do you have a say on where that is? If so, I'd scout your local soccer parks, they usually have night lights on.
01-04-2016, 02:07 PM   #13
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They chose location. It's at the soccer field they use. They wanted to do pictures before their practice starts. Now that you mention it, they will probably be turning on the lights.

I do not have access to strobes. I have an af540 and an older flash. The newer one will fire off camera, won't it? I think I would just need to attach it to a light stand, which I do have. But I would need to find an attachment.

I'm also a fan of natural light. I guess that's why I haven't gone beyond basic with flash photography. I know, I know, it's needed sometimes. I'm coming around.
01-04-2016, 02:29 PM   #14
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I would suggest using a reflective unburella to spread the light from your flash. Make sure to pull out the diffuser panel on you 540. What you want to do is make your light source as big as possible. With only one main light source I would use cross lighting and then set my on camera flash to fire in addition to the 540. This will give some fill light. If the older flash has slave mode, use it with your 540. I used a 2 light setup like this at a wedding I shot on Christmas Eve and had groups around 20 that were nicely lit.
Once you start using off camera lighting, natural lighting alone just can never compare.
01-04-2016, 02:31 PM   #15
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I was lucky to be able to take a portrait photography course with one of the masters of group photography, Neal Slavin (NEAL SLAVIN PHOTOGRAPHY). And although I don't do much group photography now (of humans, at any rate), I did pick up some tips from him. Here are a few suggestions:

1. See if you can borrow at least a few people before the photo shoot (maybe the day before) to test out your layout of people. You don't need the full team, but you want to be able to position some people at the edges of the group layout, so you can see how things look. If you are going to use artificial lighting, practising your set-up is particularly important.
2. Get a stepladder and shoot down (with their faces raised). That will make it easier to get everyone in focus even if your aperture is a little wider open than you'd like (because of lighting, etc.) You might only need to go up a foot or two on the ladder.
3. Enlist an assistant to help you with set-up and then, during the shoot, to watch carefully as you shoot to make sure everyone is visible. Of course, you should be carefully checking your shots (every few frames) to make sure you can see everyone's face and that no one is blinking, but it helps to have someone else looking, too.
4. Don't use too wide-angle a lens or you'll end up with distortion. If you have no choice, make sure you that you've got space around the people so that you can crop out some of that distortion.
5. Shoot on a tripod so that you can slow down your shutter speed, and also so that you'll have an easier time with face-swapping if you need to replace Ethan in shot 1 (where he's grimacing with his eyes closed) with Ethan in shot 2 (where Matthew is sticking his tongue out).
6. If you have the time, try to have some fun with the pose - like the kinds of images Neal has done. Incorporate props. Since this is a sports team, there are lots of possibilities. Check out the photograph of the women lawn bowlers in his Britons series, for example.
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