How To Handle Situation

Fleetwood271

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Was asked by a lady at work to take some shots of her family. Her father is in bad health and she wanted some pictures of the entire (20 people) family. I agreed to come to her house and do some photos for her.When I arrive, they already have the area set up where they want to take the pictures. The have a wooden bench, some bales of hay on each side, some potted green plants, and a couple of sunflowers. The location is in the shade, which was nice, since I didn't have to worry about the sun. The sun was behind them, but almost totally blocked by a group of trees. Because it was in the shade, I used my SB-700 in TTL mode, so the exposure turned out fine. Here is my issue: Directly behind the bench and the bales of hay, there were several bushes, some trees, some weeds, etc. All this vegatation was only about 3ft behind the bench where they were sitting. And when someone stood behind the bench, their back was right up against the bushes. With the background this close to the subjects, and with 20 people in a group, I had to get back so far from the group that I found it vey difficult to use a shallow enough depth of field to throw the background out of focus. The group was three people deep, so the DOF needed to be around 4 1/2 to 5ft, from front of group to back. When I got home and viewed all the pictures on the computer, I was not happy with them. All are in focus, and I really believe the lady and her family will be fine with them. But, I am not satisified. They are nice pictures. But they are simply that......pictures. There is nothing special about them. Any one with a decent point and shoot could have taken shots like these. My question is what would you do in this situation? Would you have taken one look at the location they had set up and explained this would not work, and suggested that it all be moved? Bear in mind it was in the mid to upper 90s, with high humidity, and eveyone was starting to perspire as soon as they walked out of the air conditioned house. Or would you have calculated the required DOF needed in order to keep everyone in focus, and throw the background out of focus? I have a DOF calculator on my iPhone, but I think I was afraid that if I cut it too close, I'd have the people in the front row, or the back row, out of focus and ruin the entire shot. Since it was so hot, and make-up and hair on all the ladies was not going to last long, and it was not healthy for her father to be out in that weather from more than a few minutes, I chose to err on the side of safety, and be sure everyone was in focus. It had taken her months to get everyone togther. I knew this might be our only chance. I'd appreicate your thoughts.
 

Robin Usagani

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shooting that big of a group, there is no way you can blur the background unless the background is pretty far.
 

Dao

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Agree with Schwetty, you MAYBE able to make the background out of focus, but not blur enough so the background will not look busy.
 
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Fleetwood271

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So, you feel I did the right thing by just trying to shoot the best "pictures" I could?

You wouldn't have suggested moving the shoot?

I am thinking about next time this happens. I don't like doing a shoot and then not being happy with the results.
 

Shoal

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that is tough. If it was me, I would have just taken them as is, and than suggested other poses in other areas as well. I would work with PP the background, although 'computer bokeh' never is as good as the real thing. If the family is happy with them, that is the main thing
 
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Fleetwood271

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I did some other poses with the younger members of the family in some other areas. But some of the older members were not able to walk to that area of their property.

I'll work with them in post. Hopefully, everyone (except me) will be happy :-(
 

johnh2005

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If they went through all of the trouble to set up this "set" then that is probably what they wanted. If you got everyone in focus and they turned out as best as you could do, then I would say you did your job. Even if no one had been in bad health I would not have suggested doing more than you did. Take the shots they wanted. Then take the ones that could/were willing to go elsewhere to get good/better shots of them. I think you did the right thing all the way around. I am betting the family will be impressed. In the end that is all that really matters. Well, that and the fact that you knew you could have done better if you had been the one to set it all up. But you were not.
 

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