help with family photos and focus

HFPhotography

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This may be a dumb question but if your taking family photos with 4 or 5 people in it is it better to stand father away to get everyone in focus? I am struggling with getting everyone in focus. I shoot with an XTI, 50mm 1.8 lens. I am on f 3.5. and I focus on the person in the middle but then the people behind are out of focus what am I doing wrong? We are usually outside. Sometimes in low light. should I use a tripod?
 

FattyMcJ

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I am on f 3.5.

There's your problem right there. Stop down a bit more to give you more DoF.

Also, try having everyone on the same plane of focus. Have the people in the back lean forward just a bit, but don't exaggerate it. If that's not possible, your only option is to pull back and use a smaller aperture.
 

ababysean

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I have been told the rule of thumb is the # of people should give you the F-Stop.
So if there are 4 people up need to go above 3.5, 5 needs to be higher then 5.
For a large family, I'd get as large as I could, make sure the background is pleasing, just because it would really suck for jilly and joey to be in focus and mom and dad to be OOF>
 

jjparson

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You need to use a smaller aperture to keep everyone in focus. This could be problematic depending on the light source you have because it will rewuire a slower shutter speed to properly expose the picture. If underexposure becomes an issue, the only realistic option is to bump the ISO up to create a proper exposure. Of course you could add light as well via flash. If you have not already done so, you should purchase "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It is a phenomenal place to start as you develop as a photographer. Good luck with the family pictures.
 

djacobox372

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Standing further away will help widen your DOF and keep everybody in focus, it will also flatten the prespective and make for a more flattering photo. You can always crop later.

I always try to make sure my subjects are at least 12 feet away, preferably 15 or 20.
 

Derrel

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Increasing distance dramatically increases depth of field. Stopping the lens down to a somewhat smaller aperture, like f/5.6, might really be a good idea on deeper groups,however.
 

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