Group Activity Photoshoot Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Copacetic, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Copacetic

    Copacetic TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I am in need of your advice. I've recently gotten my first real job, working for my neighbor, who runs a business that provides adventure-based programs and corporate workshops. Basically anything from backpacking trips to corporate team-building exercises, ropes courses, canoeing, rock climbing, beach games, you name it.

    My job is to maintain and update his website, as well as (and this is where the advice bit comes in) photograph the workshops and adventures. Then the photos will go up on the website for the participants to view.

    Tomorrow (Tuesday that is, it's almost 5:00 AM as I write this, but I've been up all night so it feels like Sunday still to me) we have a corporate workshop that will last all day, and will involve a ropes course and orienteering. I'll be charged with photographing the group in their activities. I'm not sure how large this particular group will be, but it should be somewhere around 30+ people, I think.

    I don't have much experience photographing large groups of people, (actually, I don't have much experience period) and I would really appreciate any advice and/or tips y'all could give. General stuff, like...honestly, I don't even know. That's why I'm asking! :sheepish grin: I'm not expected to be perfect—my employer knows I'm still learning and have little experience—but I'd really like to do a good job of it. I'm getting paid pretty well for my first job, and I want to make sure I earn my wages.

    If it helps, I'll be shooting with a Nikon D40 and 18-55mm kit lens, in what should be fairly bright sunlight and shade. Everything will be outdoors. I have a circular polarizer which I may experiment with as well. I've been thinking of getting a monopod for future shoots, as everybody will probably be moving a lot. Thoughts on this? I've been looking at the Bogen 679B and the Giottos MM 9750.

    My weak spot seems to be exposure; getting it right the first time and knowing how and what I've done wrong. I've got the (very) basic ideas of basic exposure, but I haven't got a good grasp of the more in-depth bits yet.

    I'm not necessarily nervous, per sé, but I am concerned about doing my best, and I'd like to draw on your collective experience and wisdom here; after all, that's why I joined this forum, as well as a couple others. :wink:Thanks in advance, and e-cookies to all that reply! :mrgreen:
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    37,330
    Likes Received:
    10,643
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hemmm, well, that certainly covers a wide area. My recommendations would be:

    -To shoot in apeture priority, (You said the apeture, camera sets appropriate shutter speed), but ensure that your shutter speed doesn't fall below 1/60 in shaded areas.

    -Avoid areas where you have both deep shadow and bright sun if possible; this may confuse the meter and result in blown highlights or too-dark shadows.

    -Whenever possible check the histogram after you've taken a picture to check for clipped pixels. Assuming you're shooting .jpg, your histogram should look like a bell curve with the ends almost but not quite touching the sides of the screen, and the top almost but not quite touching the top.

    -If you have a group in a shaded area, consider (a) using your on-camera flash to fill in the faces, and (b) make sure you meter the faces, not the background.

    -Your CPOL will be useful in the bright sun especially. Remember to get the maximum effect, the sun should be lower in the sky and at right-angles to the axis of the lens.

    Just my $00.02 worth - your milage may vary

    ~John
     
  3. Copacetic

    Copacetic TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for the great advice, John!

    I got a weather update; it's supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow, they say now. Then again, that's what they said for today too, and it didn't. If it does, though, we'll be doing some games and such inside a conference room. Hopefully a well-lit conference room...

    Any more advice? This will apply to not only this trip, but future ones as well, so I'm open to any general advice about photographing large groups of people too. Thanks again!

    ~Josh
     
  4. Solthar

    Solthar TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2008
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    British Columbia, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I'd want some sort of model release because these photographs will be for comercial use. Either print out a generic model release form (generally not ideal) for every participant, or have your neighbor enter a line in the usuall "I will not sue you if something goes wrong" stating that any photos of the individual can be used by the company.

    Now, if you got that already sorted out, my advice is don't be afraid of the group. Bring a 50mm so you can get in close for the activities that allow it and don't rely on that zoom lens you know you're planning on using :p. But, on the otherhand, don't be obtrusive. No need to interrupt their fun :mrgreen:.

    Now that's how I've seen most photographers act when I'm on my little adventure trips (usually white water rafting!). You know they're there, but they don't get in the way and you almost forget about them after the fun starts.
     
  5. Copacetic

    Copacetic TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Haha, thanks, Solthar! I'm pretty sure he has that covered in the usual release form, but I'll try to remember to check up on it. I think we'd still be okay, though, since we're not promoting or selling anything with the pictures; just documenting the activities. It's a fine line between editorial and commercial use, though. Hmm, yes, I'll definitely have to double-check that. Thanks for bringing it up.

    I think I mentioned that I'll be using my 18-55mm, though I will have my 55-200mm VR just in case I need more reach on the ropes course or on the trails during the orienteering. I really need to get that 50mm f/1.8, though. :D I think that's the best advice I've got so far, actually; not to be afraid of getting in there. I'm not really as comfortable around groups as I could be, I think. I'll just have to develop a feel for how close to be without getting in the way. I'm really looking forward to it!

    White water rafting, aye? Last week I went along on a short canoe trip down the Chattahoochee; I took pictures putting in and taking out, and at lunch, and rode along in the rear guide canoe with my neighbor. It was a really small group though, only five boats total, as it was the last trip of the summer. Lot's of fun, though, I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be on the river.

    Thanks again, and keep it comin'!

    ~Josh
     
  6. Copacetic

    Copacetic TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Just thought I'd post an update here. I made it through the event alright, and another this Tuesday! I think I did fairly well, and I did much better on the second.

    Have a look at the first two albums HERE.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

group corporate photo shoot tips