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Keep Shooting! Photography Assignments (04 Feb 2013)

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Group photos/Portraits

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4 years 1 month ago #4932 by Brian Rudolph
Hi, I was asked at work to take a couple group photos of our admin staff in our department. These are not formal, framed photos and so forth, but will probably go up on the bulletin board as a nice to have thing. We don't have a budget to farm this kind of thing out, so I'm happy to do it but have a few questions so I can get it right the first time.

It would be one large group (12-15 people) and maybe one small group (4 people) shot. I'd at least have the large group arrange in tiers on the steps of the building, hopefully on a sunny day when they all can be together.

Here's the equipment I have available:
Nikon D600 w/remote shutter release
Lenses: 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G kit lens (not my fave)
Nikon SB-910 speedlight plus off-camera extension cord
60" and 33" shoot thru or reflective umbrellas
Gitzo tripod

I realize some of these are questions of preference, but here goes:

1) Given the equipment I have, can I/should I use the 50mm (great lens) or defer to the kit lens since it has a broader range?

2) I've seen Greg's video where he shoots a group at 1/5000 at f2.8, but I'm thinking something like f8 in this instance would suit this better. I'm more concerned about sharpness, not background bokeh.

3) should I go ahead and use the tripod or hand-hold?

4) If I did a shot outside with sun on the steps the building, should bother with an umbrella, or just shoot for a time of day with adequate sunlight and maybe use a fill flash if necessary?

Thanks for any tips or thoughts!
Brian

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3 years 11 months ago #5266 by Mike Lostraglio
I don't see why you couldn't use the fast lens. I would keep the f/stop as wide as possible, reason is with a large group, the fastest shutter speed the better. I would always use a tripod in this case as long as it wasn't a hindrance. If you are using anything above 1/250 sec camera shake will be negligible, BUT, a tripod reduces this risk pf camera shake to basically zero. As far as light, I would opt to try for natural light if possible. Perhaps early morning or late afternoon. Only use artificial light/flash as a fill.

Disclaimer!!!I am not a professional. This is just my opinion and what I would do if I were the photography.

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3 years 11 months ago #5275 by jerry
I would go ahead and use a tripod. Use the lens that gives you the best sharpness.

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3 years 2 months ago #6171 by Gregory Cazillo
Personally I don't use a tripod, that doesn't mean you shouldn't. Use the lens that fits the image you need to create which is not always the sharpest one in your bag. Big groups I usually shoot at 5.6, but that depends on the lens you are using too. You can get away with f4 or 2.8 if you are using a short lens.

Strobe modifier use depends on the scene, distance, available light, etc. There are no cut and dry rules. I would use the strobe as an on camera fill and not worry about using a second strobe as a main light. Best time of day to shoot it would be when the steps are in shadow.

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