View Full Version : Advice needed for my big shoot..

06-23-2006, 09:42 AM
One of my neighbors is moving. They have a large family and the kids are friends will all of the other kids on the street. I though it would be neat to give them a picture of all of the children on the street as a going away gift. Great idea right? Well if all of the kids come, I will wind up with around 25 kids out in the street in the morning waiting for this great group shot I have planned. So I am starting to stress a little. It is going to be at 8am so hopefully the sunlight won't be too harsh. I don't have unrealistic expectations about the pose. I am going to be happy with what get. The tecnical factors I want to be clear on before I go out since I won't get much time. I was thinking of using my 28-135. The only other choice would be the kit 18-55. What about the flash? I have a 580EX but will there be any point in using it considering how far I will be from sich a large group. Any suggestions appreciated?

06-23-2006, 11:17 AM
I would go early and decide on a decent location so that the sun is at your back... and that there is even light across the area where people will be standing. Take a couple test shots using 1 or 2 people and see how the skin tones come out and adjust accordingly... I doubt you will need your flash but bring it... its better to have and not need then need and not have... same goes with the kit lens as with that many people you will want to make sure you have the ability to go wider if needed...

06-23-2006, 01:28 PM
Good advice, I thought about the location pretty carefully before I asked everyone but you are right I need to get out early since I won't really know what the day and the light will be like until I get out there. I was going to try last weekend and it was pouring. I am assuming it is going to be sunny but I might get another surprise.

06-23-2006, 03:26 PM
usa a ladder.. I usually like to get up a bit higher for group shots that way I make sure everyones faces can be seen.

06-23-2006, 03:31 PM
usa a ladder.. I usually like to get up a bit higher for group shots that way I make sure everyones faces can be seen.

excellent point and idea... :thumb

06-24-2006, 09:34 AM
I would do the following...

First off, you want the sun on the shoulder... so almost 90 degrees from the group. If you have the sun at your back, then you will probably end up with a lot of squinting kids... especially if any of them are really young. I've played with whether its better to have the sun just behind or just in front of the shoulder, and they are slightly different looks... both look fine in my opinion.

I would shoot manual and meter for the background. If you don't have an external meter, then just try to let the camera meter the background by picking out something that is lit the way the background is, and zoom/focus on that area to get a reading. You will need to shoot at f/8 to get a depth of focus to cover the group, and then focus in the middle. With Canon, shooting manual, your flash will automatically operate as fill flash. This should give you a nice pop of the group of people. The goal in metering this way is to avoid blowing the background...as the flash can take care of the people in the foreground. If it is a bright day, you might blow out the sky... or if the background is in the shade (trees), you may end up with a black background. You want the background and the people all exposed correctly.

For posing, you probably don't want it to be too "posed" as this is an informal group. I would try to go for 3 or 4 rows... starting with sitting indian style in the front, then kneeling, then standing, then another row standing... play with heights of kids on the last two rows to get enough distance between them. If you had a picnic table, set of stairs, or something like that... it would greatly help in posing. Maybe have them line up on the front steps of the house that the family is moving from. Or, if there is a hill, that could help.

The ladder is a great idea. The point of the ladder is to minimize the distance from the front and back planes of the front and rear rows. If you go higher, then you make that distance smaller... just don't go to high or they will all be looking up and you don't want that.

06-25-2006, 08:19 AM
Thanks for the input. I got a few that I was happy with. If I could do it over I realize I needed better control of the group. I worried too much about the technical factors and didn't say enough ridiculous stuff to the kids to keep them interested. I took a bunch and then climbed on the ladder, which made for a great shot and also got them to all look at me again. All in all it was a great learning experience and hopefully a nice memory for the family.

06-25-2006, 02:58 PM
I'm sure it will be treasured. Shooting groups of kids is something that takes patience, and preparation. You really can't expect them to sit for more than a few minutes without getting bored. When they get bored, they create their own entertainment, which usually completely messes up your picture. I have been in the middle of taking a team picture and one of the kids decided to be a human domino... proceeding to tip over and knock all the other kids over. This is why my suggestion was to go for an informal grouping... and then make a few adjustments and go with it. Lining up a more formal shot requires some planning ahead of time... so that you place the kids where you want them and pretty much visualize it all out before you start putting them where you want them. Being able to do this on the spot, when you didn't know how many kids would show up, is just something that takes experience.