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Photography: Shooting groups

March 5, 2012

Let us be honest, group shots can be an obstacle for our technique and… patience.
Here some sparse advice to bring the job home.

  • choose a light set flexible and fast to be set up or relocated. I suggest a couple of speed lights – three is better.
  • bring stands and light modifiers – soft boxes and brollies are perfect.
  • be there on time… no, be there in advance enough to have a littlle to scout the environment
    Understand before the number of people you are going to group together and find the proper location.
  • work hard to set a merry mood, talk with your subjects and spot the dominant personalities, they will be your -aides de camp,they will handle the group for you.
  • direct flash is FORBIDDEN! Place two flashes on two stands at sides of the group, one on the left and one on the right, the higher you can reach. Higher is the light source and the fastest your light will travel along, reaching the back of you.
    The two flashes will generate two orders of shadows on the faces of your group components, much more pleasant than a harsh shadow. A third flash, placed directly on your camera hot shoe and with the head pointing to the ceiling, will lighten the shadows.
  • use your lens as closed as you can, maximizing the D.O.F. – so that all the group will be in focus
  • be fast, the fastest you can, don’t lose the feeling you set.
  • tell them when you are about to click. Count three out loud and ask everyone to look at the camera and smile.
  • smile, smile a lot.

This is a best practice…

the editorial staff @Yahoo!

The picture is part of a corporate photo session that the Italian branch of Yahoo! asked me to do to portrait the editorial staff. The mood of the picture had to be informal and relaxed, conveying the values of the brand.
I wanted to portray the people as I saw them walking along the corridors: smiling and very spontaneous. Guess I did it..

I did the job this way:

Two flashes placed high on both sides and one on the camera’s hot shoe, aiming high to the ceiling,

And for the fanatics:

  • 1/100 @ f/4,5
  • ISO 1000
  • 24-70 @32mm
  • 3 SB 900 linked via Nikon CLS
    2 in slave mode and 1 in commander/flash mode
    tutti in TTL
  • matrix – aperture mode
  • + 2 on the side flashes, no compensation on tcaaba-camera flash and + 1.7 on the ambient light
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