Family photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by shane_blackwell, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. shane_blackwell

    shane_blackwell TPF Noob!

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    Hello All,

    I'm sorry to be a pest and probably asking the same old question but I am hoping for help and advise.

    On the 2nd Oct, I will be arranging to take some family photos (of my family, parents, brothers and new sister in law and a couple of my aunts and uncles family), and I have never done anything like this before and want to make it as good as I possibly can (not like anyone goes into these things wanting to be bad).

    I will be taking the photos at one of my aunts house, its an old barn conversation which has nice high cellings and a big stair way and a light balcony with some sofa's for people to sit and others to stand behind.

    I have a Nikon D50 (a little dated now but should still do the job), with a 18mm-70mm zoom lens and Ive ordered and waiting for a 50mm prime lens (thinking its better for quality protrait photos -
    Nikon Nikkor AF 50mm F1.8 f/1.8 D Lens). I have a standard tripod, with a UV filter on the 18mm-70mm lens but wont have anything for the prime.

    I would like any and all pointers, anything from making it fun for the people having their photo taken, to taking the photos. Anything about the poses / postion, lighting, camera settings (although I would imagine its down to enviroment) and anything else I would need to know.

    I thank you in advance,

    Kind regards,


    Shane
     
  2. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Without any lighting you are going to stuggle shooting a group indoors because you will have to use a smaller aperture toget enough depth of field it may look bright to you eyes
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Exactly!! ^^^^ You'll need to buy/borrow supplementary lighting for this. Spend some time here reading.
     
  4. shane_blackwell

    shane_blackwell TPF Noob!

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    The house (old barn) is quite bright, has alot of light from the windows and also has several lamps around the seating area.

    I think I took some photos of the area when I was there yesterday and will post them with the settings I used so you can see how the lighting / photo turns out.

    So youre suggesting lighting is one of the key things for the photographs to come out nice, so its worth looking into an external flash then? What would you suggest for a Nikon D50 and for indoor portraits / group shots? Ive also checked the camera and from the website suggested by
    tirediron (thanks again for that, learning quite alot) it suggests I would need a hot shoe to PC adapter, is there any recommendations for that as well? I am on a budget, as its probably not going to be a full time profession but more a hobby.

    What about the rest of the photographs, Im arranging it with the family, so I have several familes (all my relations, like 2 of my aunts and one uncle and their spouse(s) and kids (my cousins) and the kids partners).

    I've got to be honest, Im feeling a little over whelmed by it all, as I really want the photos to turn out as good as possible and make sure people enjoy it as well. A tall order indeed. Oh and its on my 30th birthday, so a little sentimental but I would really like to remember the day as a postive time in my life to make sure its a rememberable milestone and have some great photos of the people that mean the most to me in my life.

    Thank you all again
     
  5. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    I don't have to much experience but I read a lot, so i'll post some points that come to mind.

    Make sure not to place anyone in direct sunlight, use shaded areas adjacent to direct light to optimize the use of light without standing in direct light. I've read to put people with the sun to their back then have a good flash as fill light for their faces. this gives a golden glow on their hair. Avoid boring line arrangements; rows of people. Instead, group them in three's (forming triangles of heads) or gather them around an object to add interesting anchors. In a barn perhaps a vertical support beam?

    Most importantly, relax and have fun with it because if you're tense and frustrated the people will pick up on it and it will show in their faces and you will not be to happy with the experience. Do your research as you're doing, go to the site and pre-plan formations of people so you have as little to decide the day of. Think of some topics to talk about with the group, most people will advise you to keep the conversation flowing.

    Other than that, pay attention to focusing the eyes and use aperture in the f/8-f/11 range to get everyone in focus. Happy Birthday and happy shooting!

    p.s. it'd be cool to get some pictures posted up here once the day passed :)
     
  6. shane_blackwell

    shane_blackwell TPF Noob!

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    Hi andrej,

    Thanks for the feedback, I'll see what we can do on the day but below is a link to some photos I took of one of the possbily areas for the photographs.

    Picasa Web Albums - Shane Blackwell - Public Upload

    You cant tell that much but the area is quite light, and with some small alterations we can move the lighting from the lamps around and any background object to hopefully improve on things. The one with my Auntie and her dogs shows the light in the room but the sofa photo is quite dull in comparison.

    I would be interested to know what things I should be looking for to help improve the quality of the photo.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  7. DanEitreim

    DanEitreim TPF Noob!

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    With that many people, the photo could get VERY busy looking if everyone is wearing bright prints and patterns, etc. Have someone co-ordinate what everyone is wearing and suggest solid, preferably muted colors.
     
  8. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    wow definitely not what i was thinking of when you mentioned it was an old barn! :p i think taking some time to go and pre-determine where and how people will stand is the best way to go. as someone mentioned its a great idea to coordinate clothing. also i'm not sure how important the quality is here but i've heard mentioned around the forum about stores that rent gear and i've visited a place like that here in columbus and it offers lenses, bodies, and lighting. you might consider if you've got one close by to see how much it would cost you to rent a few lights if not just 1 or 2 off camera flash units (not sure what gear you're working with already).

    something else i wanted to mention was the 50mm lens.. i don't know Nikon well but i'm assuming that its a crop sensor and that 50mm will be more like an 80mm equivalent so its going to be super tight for a portrait with so many people. with those kinds of number i would guess you'll be working in the 18-24mm range unless you've got room to stand >= 50feet back (and even then there'd be so much extra room over their heads you'd have to basically crop the top third out) so i wouldn't suggest the 50mm, but i'm making a bunch of assumptions so disregard if your situation is different.
     
  9. sobolik

    sobolik TPF Noob!

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    You will do just fine.

    Candid photos are the best. i.e. people doing what they do viewed from a creative perspective.
    The secret to my candids is 2 sided. Get close ups. Closer than most tend to get. On the other hand I like to take wide angles and crop out the close ups later. It is too hard to get it right the first time. Therfore I would be useing more the 18mm end than the 70mm end. Crop too tight and there is nothing to trim later to get it straight and just right.
    I look at the file size after cropping and compare to the various charts on the web. I rarely find a crop to the point where I can't make a 4x6 print.

    Your UV, tripod and prime could be left home and never missed.
    The tripod could be handy to get you in the shot as well. But an object could be used in a pinch.
    The UV would be much better converted to a polarizer for outdoor use and killer results if the light is polarized.

    You could easily do this with only the D50 and the 18-70. Don't falsely feel equipment restricted.

    The only other consideration I would advise besides creative composition would be flash shadow. If you use the onboard flash it may create a bad shadow since it cannot be bounced. (The D50 is a great camera by the way.)
    You might invest in a shoe mounted bounceable flash like the Nikon SB-400. The issue often at these kinds of events is subject motion blur. Flash can solve it with the freeze frame effect of flash.

    The "50mm F1.8 f/1.8 D Lens" could be used for bokeh in your portraits or dim lighting situations. But you don't sound like you are ready to throw neither of those fine tunings in the mix yet.

    Since you are asking these things I will give you what I consider the best advise I think you need. Don't attempt to pull off orchestrating a photo shoot. You probably can't and will just irritate people. Rather let them play act a photo shoot. Provoke and tease them into having fun and acting up a little bit. Pretend they are Hollywood stars. And then take what they give you. Let them run the show and you will get some great shots.
     
  10. mrmacedonian

    mrmacedonian TPF Noob!

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    Shane,

    I was searching through the forum looking for lighting information and I found a link to a blog which had an entry with suggestions for portraiture. Some of these won't be relevant but there are some great group tips as well. Any way, give it a read and take some notes to review the day of :)

    The Jerry Blog! - Portraiture Guidelines
     
  11. shane_blackwell

    shane_blackwell TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all, some great tips and I'll try to bear them all in mind and read the links Ive been sent.

    I do have another question though, would you be able to let me know if the following flashgun is OK, as I can find it on eBay cheaper than hiring a Nikon one.

    YN-460 Yongnuo YN460 Strobist for Nikon

    I've asked my Aunt to take some photos of the main lobby, stair way and upstairs landing, so you can see the area and possibly make any recommendations. I was thinking of using the upstairs areas for individual portraits using the 50mm, and then the 18-70 on the main lobby and stair way for the group shots, no more than 6 people per family. Although if we do the photo of my Mothers family and their spouses there will be around 12 people in all (my mum being one of six children).
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2010
  12. sobolik

    sobolik TPF Noob!

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    As for a flash. I use a genuine Nikon because I don't want problems, Mine cost $120.00 new Used = ? (SB-400)

    Simply do a web search for your as I did. A 2 minute web search got this for me

    "I got my YN460 2 weeks ago. It worked flawlessly the first time. I fired it about 30 times with out a problem. Took it out of the bag the other day and it fired 2 times before it self-destructed. I put in a new set of lithium batteries and it will not come on. I made the mistake of purchasing it from ebay and so far the seller has not returned my emails about repair or replacement. "

    Flickr: Discussing Yongnuo YN460 in Strobist.com
     

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