No shade....what do you do

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by simon_cook, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. I must say that I never look forward to the "group shots" for one reason or another. Mainly due to the unpredictable British weather and just
    not liking them!
    Last two weddings I have found myself with no shade at all.
    What do people do in this situation?
  2. Cry a little, then do my best with angles and making sure nobody's squinting and BIG aunt Charlotte isn't eclipsing the bride and groom.

    Other problem I had was a hotel with rubbish gardens except a nice wide expanse of grass with beautiful trees behind, lovely sunny day, big group...more or less ideal location for a big group shot. except it had been raining the 4 days before and none of the ladies wante dto get their heels muddy. Ended up having to take a 3 photo panaroama with everybody crammed on the driveway and the grass behind. this didn't work, so the big group shot everybody will want is the biggest disaster ever!
  3. I try to keep their backs to the sun, and use fill flash. If it's a really large group, use three fill flashes.

    The hard part is making it look as natural as possible.
  4. Ed. What settings are you using in a situation like that to prevent blown highlights? Sorry didn't mean to hijack the thread.
  5. it


    I'd go with 3/4 backlight. So it's coming in on an angle from behind, giving some rim light, but minimizing flare. Just expose for their faces and let the background fall where it may.
    Experiment with this beforehand, obviously.
  6. @William:

    I'd set the shutter to the maximum (shortest) sync speed, probably ISO to the base of the sensor, (100 in my case), set aperture for the background, and adjust flash power and distance until the subject looks natural against the background.
  7. Thanks Ed. I appreciate the advice.
  8. Check out Strobist.

    You can balance the lighting and fill in the shadows. Can even exposure for flash and darken ambient at high noon.
  9. If you are working solo, it's almost impossible to find time to set up lights, I find. Well, and the 20 minute window for 30 group shots...

    What I did last time was have the light was actually front-lit, but not directly. more than 45 degrees - maybe like 60. I put an SB800 on a TTL cord and just held it out at arms length, no modifier. Works quite well. I dialed it down initially but wasn't getting enough fill - I wanted it even, not just "less dark in the shadows" so I put it back at full power. At least I still had the TTL. I would have in commander mode, too, but I am not 100% confident in it all the time so I decided on TTL with my arm as a stand.

    Oh, and I was standing in the middle of a road so a stand wasn't practical, either.
  10. By all means you need fill flash, but that doesn't solve the squinting or blinking issues. Tell the group to close their eyes. You count to three and tell them to open their eyes on three. Take your shot. It works for me.

  11. Fill flash absolutely, but also I bought one of those $100 tent tops that folds up in 2 minutes and fits in the trunk of the car. You set it up on the beach or at the park, whatever. Have the group stand under it. A 12' version of this is enough for a modest size wedding party, and shoot them in the shade it gives making sure to crop out the actual poles and tent top.

    Use a tripod and take two shot's of each pose alternating between exposing for background and for subjects. This will give you the option of combining in post.
  12. As others said, underexpose a bit for ambient light and use fill flash. If it's not windy, the group is smaller, and you have time, you can position translucent reflectors above them to filter the light. I have a tall stand with a boom arm and clips to hold a large reflector. Make sure to carry along weight bags or have an assistant. It's the same idea as the tent already mentioned.
  13. Well, hard to say without knowing what time of the day and that the ground surface consist of. However, I was a second once and recommended to the, main at his request, what my thoughts were on a beach in July at 7:00 PM without shade. As I watched the processional I noticed that nobody was squinting and I didn't need fill flash. This was roughly a 45 degree angle (give or take) from the sun. So, come from formal time when I was asked I chimed in , and with a little fill flash I think it all worked out well. Keep in mind the line-up though so as to not cast unnecessary shadows.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I do as Ian suggested. Sun Backlight to the rear and side to give a Rim.

    But maybe the main `problem` Simon is alluding to, is the Fall Off of Flash Fill over the Distance, and the (greater)
    Subject Distance required for the Large Groups, he mentions.

    In this regard, I go to wider FL than I would normally use, so that I can reduce the SD.

    As an example, 135 format, even as wide as 24mm or 20mm: but I am very careful with the Arrangement, the Poses,
    the Camera Viewpoint, and I am very aware of the sizes and build of the subjects and the cloths they are wearing,
    such that I do not get `fat arms` syndrome, or the like, at the edges.

  15. Lou - the human body suppresses the blink instinct for a short time just after opening the eyes. I have used that technique a number of times on subjects that were what I call "fast blinkers", who are able to blink even when the flash is not pre-strobing. :)
  16. simon - find some kind of direction to teh light, and make the ambient backlight. set up two or three lights with umbrellas, cranked as powerful as you can, and light it a bit from above and from the side. works best with smaller groups, of course!!
  17. I do large group shots - set up in several rows, often the young ones sitting in front, next a row seated in chairs, the rest standing.

    Even in full shade I use flash for the sparkle in their eyes and added contrast.

    With full sun it hopefully will be at one side and then a battery strobe for fill. I use an 8 foot tripod (clamping the camera to a ladder works too!) and a 200WS strobe on a 14 foot stand. I aim the strobe at the back row which at this height gives the front row less flash exposure - also means shadows will not fall on faces.

    Indoors I use a 'kicker' light behind the group and one umbrella at each side, one silver one white creating a bit of a ratio.

    Since the camera is stationary I am able to clone open eyes etc.

    Hope this helps.

    PS: comments on setting up a self portrait station sought - not the lighting or camera but rather about review of images by the guests, making prints or not, etc. etc.

  18. here...

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