First Portrait (group) for CC (1 image)
I recently had an indoor group photo shoot..

The main reason for this picture was to get the grandmom, her 3 daughters and 2 grandkids all together before she went in for chemo. But we also did several other combinations under the same lighting conditions..

I use a large softbox mounted horizontally directly above the camera. I didn't have nearly as much space as I thought and my subjects were probably on 7 feet from the camera/light..

The biggest problem I think was that because they were so close to the light, there was a big difference in the amount of light falling on the front vs back. It looks like grandma has a few spots blown out..

I touched up the color using a lesson from Lee Varis' book "Skin" which is a great book. I also fixed a blemish here and there, and had to lighten one of the woman's hair because it was lost in the background.The backdrop was visible so I painstakingly cut that out in PS7. What a pain..

Here's the picture:.

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Now, I know there's issues with posing, positioning, hands, etc. I think the 2 on the right should be pushed over more. One of the hardest thing was getting 6 decent smiles all at the same time!.

My concern right now is the shiny faces that a couple of them have - especially grandma. I already fixed her lower lip, but I was wondering if there was a tried-and-true method that anyone uses for this problem..

So, please feel free to critique away. I'm ok with the criticism (you can tell me what I did right too!), but I want to learn..

Anything to save time would help too. I certainly don't care to spend an hour on each photo cutting out the background. I probably should have used a background that I wanted to keep!.

I feel like I have lots to learn about posing and lighting. Any advice will be welcomed.Smerk..

Comments (5)

Your light needed to be higher up and also angled upwards. Higher up to avoid the glare off the faces and angled upwards so more light falls onto the back row instead of blowing out the people up front..

'I reject your reality and substitute my own' -Adam Savage..

Comment #1

I bet they're really happy with the picture..

Yes, you have to pay attention to the background next time, and yes, you need to get the flash farther away to control falloff, but you already know that..

About Grandma's face the key to a lot of good portraiture is often makeup..

A little powder works wonders, and some other makeup, depending on the subject, handles pimples and skin blothces better than software editing does..


Comment #2

Thanks for the comments..

This is going to be tough next time - I had the softbox against the low ceiling, and my back was against the wall. The only way to get more working distance would be to take the backdrop off the stands and hang it directly on the back wall. That would probably get me an extra 3 ft or so.Apparently my basement is a little too small!.


Comment #3

Nice shot, given the limitations. Makeup (definitely) and an overhead "hair light" might have helped too...

Comment #4

Thanks guys for the comments and the advice!.

I had another session since then, at the client's house. I didn't use a backdrop and I think I should have. I'll post later..



Comment #5

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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