What lighting setup would you use in Basketball team portraits?


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May 20, 2007
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Bolivar, MO
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Tripod for camera,
Sunpak 383
2 umbrellas
43" reflector (circular)
flash bracket for camera
ebay flash triggers that dont work reliably
optical triggers that are fidgety in large rooms
my wife (to hold things)

The scenario: Kindergarten and 1st Graders in a gym. high ceiling, typical gym lighting. They want a team picture of all of them, and a portrait of each individual kid.

My Plans (critique please!):
Use my 17-85 IS on tripod. Flash bracket holding my 430EX up high. 430EX pointed BACKWARDS shooting at 43" circular reflector (my wife holding it)

Now I have an enormous source of light, which should help with shadows. I should have enough time in between kids to let my flash charge up, so really it should be ok to crank my flash up high if needed to compensate for the small max aperture of my lens. (In return, the small aperture of my lens will compensate for my terrible focusing accuracy :) )

What do you think? With the given equip, what would you use? I also have a 24mm 1.8, a 50mm 1.8, and a 70-200mm 2.8 that I can use if needed, but assumed 17-85 is best... Ideas?
It really is going to depend on circumstances and needs, but make sure to group them at different height levels and increase rows to reduce widths (front row down on one knee, hand on the basketballs, second row on knees straight backs, third row standing?). The narrower you can get them, the better the results becuase you can play with the area of light within the sweet spot of the flash setup. Try not to exceed 12 feet wide (this depends on your equipment and results, of course).

You going to do any individual portrait shots or smaller group shots?
yeah some individual portraits too. I figure they'll be on their right knee with a basketball on the floor and their right hand down on the basketball.

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