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05-15-2017, 08:21 AM   #1
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Photographing my own family; looking for some input

Next Saturday afternoon my in-laws are all getting together for some family portraits at a local park. I want to bounce some thoughts and ideas and take any input or tips people are willing to share. Plan is to use a 645n and shoot Portra and a K-5iis. Setting will be a local park, but unfortunately, the only time everyone can be there is around 1:30, so we'll be working in the shade as much as possible, but it will likely still be pretty bright depending on how the partly cloudy forecast holds up. Eight adults (in-laws, their three with spouses) and three kids (7, 4 and 10 months).One or two poses with everyone in the photo, the rest will be smaller groups.

I went to the park yesterday to scope out some spots to use and check the lighting for that time of day. I ran a roll of Tri-X through the 645n with my wife and kids. I didn't bring a flash with me and planned on a few frames of the kids on the playground, so I pushed the film to 1600. Using a Sekonic 308, exposure settings were f5.6 @ 500 before the clouds rolled in prior to the rain. When I got out of the shade, I was limited by the 1/1000 speed at f8. Finishing the roll that evening at my folks' house, it was good to have pushed the film. That was only the second roll I have put through the camera and haven't processed either roll yet.

Here are a few pictures from a Google search of the park where I can get everyone together and tiered to see everyone:
The left side of the frame is typically shaded better than the right side at that time of day.





So, the areas I'm specifically (but not limited to) seeking/taking input are:
- Portra 400 or 160? I typically rate Portra 400 at 200. Haven't used 160 in a while, but would probably shoot it at 100. That's three to four stops from metering film at 1600.
- Pick up a reflector and use a friend or go with off-camera flash for fill? I assume the reflector likely won't work well being in the shade. I have everything I need for a single off-camera flash with a 43" 3-in-1 umbrella. Sync speeds are slow (1/60 on the 645n, no LS lenses, 1/180 on the K-5iis). Dropping 3-4 stops from yesterday with 1600 brings the exposure well within the flash sync speed, but obviously using a light stand and flash will slow things down a bit.
- A sanity check on aperture to use being new to medium format. I would think f8-11 or smaller with a group that size.

For the 645n, I have the following lenses: 35/3.5, 55/2.8, 75/2.8 and 150/3.5
For the K-5iis, I'll probably work with the 31, F50/1.7, and 77.
I was manipulating the numbers on this site (DOF simulator - Camera depth of field calculator with visual background blur and bokeh simulation.) for DOF and aperture selection.

Thanks in advance. Planning on this being as stress-free as possible and opportunity for me to practice with the hope/expectation that we get at least a few usable images to frame for my in-laws.

05-16-2017, 05:19 AM   #2
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Anyone?
05-17-2017, 12:12 PM   #3
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Just went outside at the house, under three large pine trees and the meter on the K-5iis, ISO 100 and 200 are both giving me shutter speeds where I'm going to want to use flash at f11 or f16 as the speeds were 1/15-1/60. Getting late in the afternoon with other stuff on the to-do list, but tomorrow I'll get the light stand and flash set up to get an idea on flash power and exposure settings. I'm hoping the flash and exposure settings from digital translate over to film when the film speed matches the K-5iis ISO setting.
05-18-2017, 06:58 PM   #4
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You answered your own question. Go to f8 and use 1/125. The digital settings will translate. Used the histogram on a K3-II to figure exposure in this Back To The Future

05-18-2017, 07:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
You answered your own question. Go to f8 and use 1/125. The digital settings will translate. Used the histogram on a K3-II to figure exposure in this Back To The Future
Went out in the yard today with the flash and DSLR. I'm still learning, but the Sekonic has helped eliminate a lot of the trial and error guess work. Set the ISO to 200 to match how I'll meter the Portra 400. Meter said 1/30th at f8 in the shade. That exposure setting blew out the background (trees, flowers, etc) being in the full sun. I went to 1/60th as that's the max speed on the 645n and would bring the background exposure down a stop. Set the flash power to match 1/60th at f8 and got something I can work with. Forecast is going to be more favorable as cloudy or mostly cloudy vs clear and sunny. Today's conditions only gave me two stops of power left on the flash (I was at 1/4 power, f8, 1/60), so that would let me go up to f11 or f16. I'm more concerned with getting everyone in focus. The meter and exposure latitude of the film will handle getting the exposure right/close enough.
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