Tiny Studio Large Group

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by Fotographer.NZ, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Fotographer.NZ

    Fotographer.NZ TPF Noob!

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    Hi peeps, I've just joined the forum and it looks like there's a wealth of knowledge to be had here. A longtime wedding photographer I'm relatively new to studios and strobes but have a little home studio with two rather antiquated strobes (one dial-downable and the other not), a couple of soft boxes and a 7ft plm.

    Although I main shoot newborn, maternity and small families in the studio today I have a challenge. For some crazy reason I accepted a booking from a family of 9. As mentioned my studio is small, the area I'll be shooting them in is 2m deep and 3.5m wide. I have white walls and practiced a setup with that as my backdrops aren't big enough for that many people but it just looked so boring that I've decided to get a moodier look I'm going to try with black. I know the white corner is a bit distracting for offering cc but I'm about to whip out and paint an extra set of black v flats for the right hand corner so hopefully you can picture that corner being black too :). These are my test shots so far so I thought I'd post here and see if anyone would be willing to run their more experienced eye over the setup and see if anything jumps out to them.

    I realize that the 2 light image is underexposed but as I'm going for a moody kind of family portrait I figured it'd be better to shoot it that way and bring up the shadows where needed in post - thoughts?

    PS please excuse my subjects, I didn't happen to have a spare family of 9 laying around to practice apart from this stuffed variety ;)

    All cc and comments gratefully accepted.


     

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  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Does the family want moody? Studio work makes up the bulk of my business, and generally speaking families are looking for bright, cheerful, happy, etc. 'Moody" is great if you're shooting a rock album cover or something like that, but I'm not sure it's appropriate for a typical family session. Why not simply move outside? My studio is 5mx15m and I would find shooting a group of 9 in that to be a challenge.
     
  3. Fotographer.NZ

    Fotographer.NZ TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for your comment @tirediron Yes I suggested outside but they specifically wanted studio - they had seen this shot which I had to do in the studio due to bad weather but I wanted to try to shoot something a little more dynamic this time.
     

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  4. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    id probably set it up the same, but turn the softbox horizontal. if you angle it correctly (think about how the light bounces) you can still get even metering across the scene with it.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If that's the shot they've seen and what they like, then I would suggest emulating. Giving them something completely different than what they've based their decision on is a very risky plan. They might love it, and they might not. Much like me walking into a car dealer and telling them I want a car exactly like the car in their ad and they deliver to me a different colour. I might like it better... maybe, but as it's not what I was expecting....

    You can work a lot of people into a small space; it's not, IMO, desirable, but it is do-able. I would go three deep: The tallest seated on chairs in the center row, the shortest standing behind them, and the 'in between' (or the youngest) kneeling on the floor in front. You will need to ensure sufficient DoF, but it will give you a bit more room between people.
     
  6. Fotographer.NZ

    Fotographer.NZ TPF Noob!

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    Thanks @tirediron, thanks so much for your suggestions. Yes my plan was to start with this setup then swap out the backdrop and do one like the one they'd seen to cover both bases (and cover my butt if this setup goes horribly wrong ayayay hopefully not - hence all the pre-shoot practice), I'd like to give them three choices if possible.

    My other idea was to separate them into groups of three, shoot them like that and then composite them together in PS but I'd really like to try that with some models before I try it on clients.

    As they'll all have dark hair like the family shot shown I am a bit worried about separation on the black. I really want to keep it as simple as possible it's going to be chaotic with that many people in my studio as it is but I do have a couple of speed lights if it'll save me work in post - what do you think?
     
  7. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would probably wind up using five lights for this. One large key, probably a 72" umbrella, a second 72" for fill at maybe one stop below key. Two background lights for separation and a long stripbox (~12x60) as a hairlight, somewhere around 1 - 1 1/2 stops below key.
     
  8. Fotographer.NZ

    Fotographer.NZ TPF Noob!

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    Phew, what a mission, my background really left a lot to be desired and the three littlies really didn't want to cooperate, fun, fun, fun lol. The one on the seats I haven't even begun to edit and I know it'll be a bit of work to even out the background - this is one of the images from the series I think it ended up ok but the end result is probably more down to PS than my lighting skills but I think they'll be happy.
     

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  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Given the circumstances, not a bad result, BUT... the two children not looking at the camera is a bit of an issue for me.
     
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  10. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    three children not looking. OP's post suggested the children were still in progress. The last group shot I did took 8 frames to combine into one good one.

    not a huge fan of the current processing.
     
  11. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I rarely have a group of more than four where I don't do at least one facial transplant! :lol:
     
  12. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It would appear that you gave your clients what they asked for, even with all the issues.

    I don't know them, of course, but I've seen this many times where someone poses for and pays for a studio portrait only to downgrade themselves by their comportment. Congratulations on getting them to wear the same outfit! Well done! Now to the specific issues: Wearing ragedy jeans and not brushing their hair really does not match the effort they expended in going to a studio. I can't imagine any photographer sending them home to change clothes and grab hair brush, so at some point you just have to go with what is in front of you. They could have gotten a much better family portrait if they would have thought it through.

    For you, either a hair light or a background light would have provided some separation, and perhaps you could have convinced the children to look your way somehow. The disembodied hand is an issue with me. It appears to not even belong to the man to whom it probably does. Given that this family is not accustomed to sitting for a portrait, this shot is probably as good as you're going to get.
     

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