Christmas set up with lights and help with AF

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by CherylL, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you're using a tripod, you can always take one clean exposure with no subjects at all so you have a perfect background you're happy with.

    if any of the bokeh balls don't turn up, it will be easy to superimpose your "good" background. It's nice to have a "just in case" frame.


     
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  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    It works even better if you roll up a loop, sticky side out, then have them stand on it. :biglaugh:
     
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  3. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've worked with kids and I'd suggest you get in plenty of practice and have the lighting set up figured out so you can work quickly with the kids. Use a teddy bear or whatever as a stand in! but get this all figured out because that little one is not going to be able to wait around long while you adjust equipment. The older ones should be able to do this but then again, if they will or not is another thing! lol Give some incentive, such as when this is done then ___ (you can take a break, have some juice or a cookie, go play with your phone and text your friends... maybe give them an idea of the timeframe, like you can go do ___ in say, 10 minutes, or whatever).

    The youngest one probably won't know what an X is but might know a circle or square (to direct the child to sit on the ___). I've use carpet squares because young children may do better with something more 'concrete', something they can see and touch - 'over there' could be meaningless, they probably won't know where you're pointing (over where?? lol). I was trying to think what to use that wouldn't show, maybe a washcloth folded?? Also you could use the older kids to help and have them show the littler one what to do; give everybody whatever is being used to mark the spot. (We all had our carpet square, adults too, so we could show what to do along with giving verbal directions.)

    As far as the photo, the idea for the background is lovely and this setting will make for some wonderful pictures. I think the depth of field is too shallow. I feel like I want to clean my glasses trying to see the sled clearly. If it's that close to the kids it should be in focus too. Having the background softly out of focus can work but objects close to the subjects being out of focus makes too much of the picture out of focus. Especially with objects with lettering on them - and they're part of the scene! It doesn't to me make sense to set up a a lovely scene and them have it mostly out of focus; I'd leave the OOF to the background. Practice various apertures and see how it looks.
     
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  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Indeed! Red Green's words to live by: If it's not supposed to move, use duct tape.
     
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  5. CherylL

    CherylL No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good point on the sled not in focus. There was something about the photo that didn't quite look right and the sled out of focus is a distraction. I'll definitely have this set up before the grands come over. The window of their patience is narrow. The older two like to be behind the camera so they play with my sports camera that can sustain falls or I let them push the shutter and set the scene. Other times I have asked them where they wanted to sit or pose and after a few photos of their choice then I say it is my turn to pick. This set there really aren't any choices so maybe I will let them each take a turn photographing Mom or a toy first.

    My longest lens is an 85 and there is plenty of room for me to back up. I picked up 2 50gal paint stirs to duct tape to the BG to expand and more lights. But, space is limited for width and I need a bigger sheet. It may be easier to PS the sides. I did a few practice shots and f3.2 works for the backdrop and gives me 0.78ft of focus. I'll work on camera placement and people placement using stuffed animals to see what is in focus and what is not.

    Thanks for all of the tips! Very much appreciated.
     
  6. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    You do realize that .78 ft is is just over 9 inches and equates to rougly 4 inches in front of and behind your focal plane. So assuming you lock on the eyes, the ears will be out of focus. If that is the intent then you're good to go.
     
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  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well...you can use the speedlight's flash power setting and the LED exposure time and the f/stop used as the basis for calculating different exposures. Flash was at 1/8 power, so 1/4 power would be one stop smaller than f/2.8, so f/4 at 1/4 power. At 1/2 power, you could move to f/5.6. At full power, you could get an f/8 aperture for the flash part of the equation. Of course, on the LED lights, you'd need to slow the shutter down by three, full EV values from where you shot the original dog and sled picture. Using an aperture of f/8 will make the LED lights that are out of focus look smaller than they would at f/2.8, but you might be able to get some decent-looking background light bokeh nevertheless.

    Slow shutter speeds, AKA "dragging the shutter", can often show no signs of motion blurring on people...it depends on how fast they are moving, and how close the ambient light is to the flash's output level.

    Remember this: the FASTEST way to build depth of field is generally...to move the camera farther away from the subject. Depth of field increases very rapidly at indoor distances, as the camera-to-subject distance is increased. Stopping down helps too, but moving the camera father away from the subject can really, really help at portrait-type ranges.

    Fir the dog shot, I see zero problem with the sled being out of focus; it is a hint, a reminder, a gentle clue to the snowy season. If the sled were in crisp,clear focus, I think it would compete with the dog for attention.

    As far as shooting a group picture at f/3.2 from close range...kind of sketchy. But...from a longer distance with say, an 85mm lens, you could get away with it perhaps.
     
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  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think f3.2 seems too large an aperture, you'll probably need to use a smaller aperture than that to get them all in focus. My starting point, not for portraits but in general, is usually f8. Then I'd go maybe f5.6 or larger like f4 depending on what I was photographing. If you can do test shots at different apertures you can see what's in focus and how you need to adjust.
     
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  9. CherylL

    CherylL No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've widened the BG and extended the base forward by adding another blanket. Looking at the DOF calculator, the 50mm at f3.2 has a focus area of 2.31 ft vs the 85mm at f3.2 is 0.78. With the little ones I am thinking the shutter speed should be 125 for movement. That would entail adding the lights in PS that don't show up. I'll work on practice shots the next few days. Daughter wants solo photos of the baby and will bring her over without the other two. The group shots would be a different day. I can set up accordingly and not have to fiddle with the settings.
     
  10. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You might try stopping down even more. Maybe lots more. f/5.6 ought to be your starting point. Even smaller wouldn't hurt a thing. To throw the BG out of focus, move it back as far back as you've got space. This is the prime difficulty with most home studios; not enough space in which to stretch everything out like it needs to be. Good luck!
     
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  11. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That might work well to be able to do this in 'shifts'! lol the baby then the group another time, sounds like a plan.

    I'm not too sure I'd rely on that DOF calculator. I learned shooting film (which I still do) but with a digital camera I can take a couple of test shots and look and see what I'm getting if need be. As long as you can do some practice shots then you can make adjustments (before someone with children shows up!). I think f5.6 or f8 would be what I'd try too.

    I don't know why people want the background out of focus all the time. With the lights it makes sense, but other props or decorations might as well be out of the frame and not in the scene if you don't want them in focus. I just find that whatever is there is still going to be part of the picture, it just ends up being blobs of color and shape but can still be visually distracting. If the sled or whatever is there and it adds a Christmas feeling, then it's going to be part of the picture so you might as well be able to see it.
     

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