Lighting for the Christmas Portrait

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by pgowder, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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    Just getting started using off camera flash, so I need some help.

    Here is the area:
    http://flickr.com/gp/96077153@N00/5XHx31

    We are going to do family portraits here on Christmas day. I want to have a few people on the stairs and some below them in front of the stairs.

    And I want to make sure I light it so that you can still see the lights on the tree.

    Here's what I'm working with right now. Do I need anything else?

    Camera
    Sony A700

    1 Flash on a light stand with a shoot through umbrella

    I have another Minolta flash that doesn't do wireless. So I could put it on the camera if needed.

    Help please!!

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2009
  2. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    Take the wall hangings down for the picture. That way they're not in the background behind peoples heads.
     
  3. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! Great idea.
     
  4. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    To see the lights on the tree, you will need to use a slower shutter speed, perhaps 1/30th. You will need to tell everyone to be very still even after the flash goes off. Take more than one to account for movement and closed eyes, etc. I would also be careful where you place your flash so that you don't get shadows on the wall and you don't want to light people from below.
     
  5. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    If your flash pop is enough to open up the whole room while still, providing the right lighting for the people, you could sat up the shot, pre-focus, then turn off the light and do a longer exposure to really let the christmas lights burn in. Then the people will only be light by the flash pop and you won't have to worry about subject movement.

    Edit: I see that we're not dealing with off camera flash here. You might want to ignore this. Although, if the minolta swivels and there is a white wall that you can blast it off of to light the people it might works.
     
  6. johnkate

    johnkate TPF Noob!

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    What are the best settings for portraits done in front of Christmas trees to get the small tree lights to show up?
     
  7. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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    I'm am shooting off camera.
     
  8. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    put a bunch of stuff animals on the stairs and practice.

    Try Rear synch flash if you can too
     
  9. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    That won't make the slightest bit of difference. Rear sync has an entirely different purpose.
     
  10. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    If you say so....

    Guess I will stop using it entirely then.

    I offered the suggestion because I do use it for this purpose and it has helped in cases like this.

    It's not THE only purpose for it. Just as it's also not THE solution either.

    It's just a tool in the bag.
     
  11. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    I can assure you that it did not help in the slightest. Something else occurred that caused you to incorrectly believe that it was a factor.
     
  12. pgowder

    pgowder TPF Noob!

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