Lighting for indoor banquet photography

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jay Packer, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. Jay Packer

    Jay Packer Member

    May 25, 2003
    4x5 Format
    The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it an assortment of large family gatherings. I have seen some of the impressive group portraits posted here and on the web by accomplished banquet photographers such as The Great Galli, Phil Kember, and most recently Scootermm; see

    Most of these portraits were done outdoors, in warm weather. Can any of the esteemed contributors to this forum shed any light (pun intended) on the best illumination to use for an indoor holiday portrait of 25+ people with a banquet camera? Strobes? Flash bulbs? Flash powder? Bare bulb? Soft box? Umbrellas? Two minute exposures? Or just wait till next summer?

    How did the traditional banquet photographers do it?

    -- Jay
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Sep 9, 2002
    Bergen, Norw
    Large Format
    25+ people means a lot of distance. So if you don't want the light source in the frame, you'll need either lots of light or lots of time.

    Since there's always at least one "fidgeter" in any group of people larger than 1, lots of time is not an option unless you can glue everybody to posing stands. :smile:

    That leaves lots of light.

    Flash powder is too dangerous to use, that was true even when it was the best available light source for indoors work.

    I'd go for flash bulbs. With a GN of more than 200 (meters, not feet - f:20 at 10 meter distance) that gives plenty of light.