Group shots

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by vivdub, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. vivdub

    vivdub TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I want to know what is a better method to obtain background separation in group shots.
    1. Wide angle lens with wide open aperture.
    2. Telephoto lens with stopped down aperture .

    Thanks


     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    As long as I could be far enough from the group to focus I always used a telephoto focal length, because a longer focal length gave me better control of the depth of field.
    The aperture I used usually depended on the if the group wanted the background in focus, or not.
     
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Use the longest focal length you can, and use the largest aperture you can which will provide sufficient DoF for the group. Don't get hung up on 'wide angle', 'telephoto' 'wide open' or stopped down'. Examine the venue and determine the most appropriate settings at the time.
     
  4. vivdub

    vivdub TPF Noob!

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    Thanks.
    Will use a longer focal length now.
     
  5. vivdub

    vivdub TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, thanks for the insight.
    Will keep this in mind now.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Keep how a group is gathered together in mind too.
    For DoF and the scale of peoples faces at the back of a group, wide & shallow is better than narrow and deep.
     
  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Besides the telephoto lens and medium aperture, get yourself a DOF calculator so you can measure out the group depth, the distance from the camera to the group, and figure the DOF.

    I have a DOF calculator on my smart phone, and I always carry a tape measure with me to make sure everybody is in good focus.
     
  8. vivdub

    vivdub TPF Noob!

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    By wide and shallow, you mean wide angle lens, with shallow depth of field ?
    Isn't that a bit difficult to achieve ? Wide angle lenses have a bit less shallow dept of field (I might be wrong)
     
  9. vivdub

    vivdub TPF Noob!

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    ok That might be next step, or I could use peaking to see if they all are in focus.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Keep in mind that a wide-angle lens produces a HUGE size difference between the closest people, and people even just a few feet farther form the lens! In my experience, a wide-angle lens SUCKS for group photos, in several ways. it's better in my opinion, to photograph a group with a normal-length to short-telephoto length lens, and NOT a wide-angle lens.

    In many instances, it's easy to see when a shooter has photographed a group with too short of a focal length because the HEAD size on the front row people is large, and people behind have tiny little heads! in almost (but not all!) all group photo situations, a wide-angle lens is the _wrong_ choice.
     
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  11. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    KmH has referred to the shape (in plan view) of the group. Keep everyone at a similar distance from the lens. Furthermore, if your line of people is slightly curved, that will help keep everyone in focus.

    Just to emphasize the point; getting everyone in focus is not simply a matter of choosing the right lens.
     
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  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    No. Keep the group wide & narrow.
    It seems you don't yet have a good understanding of how DoF works.

    As Designer mentions some lenses have field curvature that you can compensate for by having the group arranged in a slight curve. Field curvature is something you'll need to look for with whichever lens(s) you use.
     

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