Switch to English Language Passer en langue française Omschakelen naar Nederlandse Taal Wechseln Sie zu deutschen Sprache Passa alla lingua italiana
Members: 69,880   Posts: 1,520,484   Online: 822
      
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Castle Rock, CO, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,296
    Images
    58

    How should I do group photo

    I have rather stupidly volunteered to my boss to do a group portrait of the people I work with. This will be the first time I have ever planned a photograph, setting up the conditions rather than taking advantage of conditions. I'm pretty new to both medium format and B&W.

    The setup:
    I will be using a Mamiya C33 and would like to do it B&W. It will be outdoors, on a stone stairway that faces WNW (camera pointing ESE). There will be about a dozen people. Being in Colorado, it will most likely be clear & sunny to thinly filtering high clouds - f22 to f11. There will be no flash, but I will consider reflectors. I want grainless detail and depth of field without excessive contrast.

    The questions:
    1) Which lens should I use? I have the 80, 105, 135 and 180. I'm guessing 135.
    2) Which B&W film? Kodak and Ilford are easily available.
    3) When should I do it? As late as possible in the work day to get the sun around to the quarter front?
    4) How big would reflectors have to be to fill in shadows on a group?
    5) Would cloud-filtered light be better than bright direct sunlight? How to avoid getting a bunch of squinters?

    Thanks in advance.

    Peter

    Oh- I can't express enough how glad I am for APUG, where duffers like me can ask these questions and get serious answers from people who know what they're talking about, without hearing all that crap about white balance, raw, jpg, blah blah blah.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN US
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,206
    Images
    4
    It sounds to me that the sun will be behind the group in the AM and to the groups side in the PM. Is that the case?
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Castle Rock, CO, USA
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,296
    Images
    58
    Yes.

    btw, I lived in Lakeville/Apple Valley area for 25 years and the intensity of the sun this far south and at this altitude is much greater.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    florida
    Shooter
    Medium Format
    Posts
    1,147
    Images
    2
    I would use a 400ISO film. Some time prior to the shoot make a test roll with a few subjects placed so they would represent the area that the group will be occupying. Try your different lenses. The results should indicate where reflectors would need to be placed and which lens gives the best composition. Contrast would be affected by the quality of the light and film development time. I prefer cloudy. From what I know about Colorado -- if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. Take plenty of film as it is hard to concentrate on twelve faces at one time. Select the one that your boss looks best in!

    I once did family pictures (my relatives) with 27 people ranging in age from an infant to one over 80. It was outdoors, overcast and three flash units to get even lighting. Before PhotoShop and digital days so you may be able to run your tests with a digital camera -- I had used Polaroid. I used 2 1/4 and 4x5 and had a friend press the shutter release so I could be in some of the pictures.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Switzerland
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    229
    I would shoot it in the PM, the 135 lens with a yellow filter, if the sun is strong I would use Ilford PanF rated at iso 25, developed in ILFOTEC DD-X for finast grain (reflector or fill flash depend on how you want shadows, so wont say anything).

    Now why
    135 - well, I dont want to scare people when i shoot portraits so dont want to place the camera to close
    yellow filter - This filter fix skin blemishes when shooting in daylight, which results in soft skin tones. It will also darken the sky a bit, which makes the people to stand out a bit more, and if you have clouds it will make them standing out more (and if anyone is blond it will also intensify their hair...)
    PanF+ - Very very small grains, I have enlarged 120 film to 20x24 and still cant see any grains (shoot with a regular hasselblad 80 lens)
    ILFOTEC DD-X - With PanF this developer is really excellent, no grains. For me it slows down the film a bit (not a full stop) but you also want the skin tones around Zone 6, therefore I rate the film at iso 25

    If its not enough light for PanF i would go with either FP4+ or HP5+ they are great film and give very small grains with DD-X

    cheers

    (Edit: remember to compensate for the yellow filter when measuring the light)
    (Edit: http://filmdev.org/recipe/show/5057 PanF+ in DD-X)
    Last edited by sandholm; 04-14-2011 at 02:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Owls Head ME
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    1,444
    Images
    74
    I'd visit it at different times of the day and see how the light falls. It's ok to have direct light on people, but you don't want one person to cast a shadow on the other person's face. Each person should be similarly lit.

    Some reflector is good as long as it doesn't make people squint. If it's shady you can also use a flash, but how bright you can go with the flash is mostly determined by your sync speed. A slow flash sync shutter speed means a small aperture, which means your flash won't have the power.

    I'd think an 80mm would be fine for a group photo. And have the camera up high enough so people at the back don't fall backwards. Too long a focal length will not provide good DOF for a group photo.

    I think TMY2 film is fine for anything upto 16x20 with MF for unobjectional grain. A compensating developer will tame bright day contrast. I use PMK. If it's overcast a normal developer might be better. You could use the tmax100 or delta 100 for more grainlessness, but I haven't much experience with it.

    Finish off a test roll and then use another one for the actual shoot. Then you can develop the test shots first and see if you need any developing changes to accommodate the scene.

  7. #7
    Rick A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    north central Pa
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    5,814
    Images
    31
    Late afternoon with a medium speed color film, or 100 speed B&W. I dont shoot much color anymore. For groups, I use 80-85mm on 35mm camera, 100mm for individuals. Medium format, 105 for groups and 135-150mm for individuals.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN US
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    2,206
    Images
    4
    I'm no group portrait expert but I think you've put yourself in a difficult situation. If the location is fixed, I would definitely look into fill flash. Assuming you don't have a softbox or umbrella (and don't have a powerful enough flash to use them), I'd consider matte acetate over a flash like a Vivitar 283.

    I'd go with the 80mm lens. It will allow you to get closer and therefore get your flash closer without having to rely on stands, cords, or electronic triggers. Plus greater depth of field.

    I'd use ISO 400 film as grain is not likely an issue and will allow smaller aperture. Are you doing the film processing? Hopefully not as it adds another variable that you (rather than someone else) needs to control. I don't think it matters much whether Kodak or Ilford unless your lab has a particular preference.

    For me, it's hard to get a group photo with that many people where it doesn't look somewhat "wooden". Especially in a business environment. One solution, if it's feasible given the intended use of the photo, is to have multiple photos with smaller groups. Say 3 photos each with 3-4 people having a conversation. Staged? Yes, but certainly no more staged than any other group photo. Or find some other way to have the group interacting.

    If it was me, I'm not sure I'd use medium format unless the quality provided by the larger negative was required. While the TLR does give you the advantage of being able to see the group at the precise moment of exposure, you are limited to 12 exp. before reloading. Also, you want to get your camera up high, which is more difficult to do unless you have a prism.

    In fact, at the risk of angering the moderator gods, this may be a time to consider a non-analog medium, tether to a laptop, and get immediate confirmation (given that you're new to MF and B&W). You don't want to call them back out the next day.

    I would use an incident meter if possible. Or go out the day before with a grey card then adjust for differences in outside light. I'd bracket 1 to 1.5 stops in both directions. Don't forget a good lens hood or other mechanism to prevent flare.

    Give some prior thought to how people will be positioned based on their height, business relationship, or whatever. See if there is some way to loosen them up a bit (depending on the group dynamics). Have an assistant that will help make sure that the group is positioned properly and look for blinking, squinting etc at the time of exposure.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Delta, British Columbia, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    12,050
    Images
    60
    Is there anywhere nearby that you could use that is in the shade? Open shade is the best and easiest light to use for portraits. Whatever you do, try to avoid harsh, mid-day sun and shadows. You want to be at least a dozen feet/3.5 metres away from the group. If you can be a bit farther (15-20 feet) it would be better. Choose your lens to comfortably fill the frame from the camera position that works best.

    If you can have the group sit on the stairs, you can add to the interest of the image, and more easily avoid the "naval eyed view of the world" that a TLR with a waist level finder tends toward. Try your best to have the camera at or near eye level.

    I would use either Plus-X or TMY-2, but those are the films I use anyways. If you are getting a lab to develop and print the results, I would suggest Ilford XP-2.

    Can you try a test shot or two?
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Delta, British Columbia, Canada
    Shooter
    Multi Format
    Posts
    12,050
    Images
    60
    "navel eyed view" not "naval eyed view"
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast


 

APUG PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Contact Us  |  Support Us!  |  Advertise  |  Site Terms  |  Archive  —   Search  |  Mobile Device Access  |  RSS  |  Facebook  |  Linkedin