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In this installment of the popular Photo Assignment series, professional photographer Derrick Story demonstrates the art of shooting timeless group shots. Derrick provides suggestions for appropriate lighting gear and shares advice for capturing subjects at their best, both indoors and out. After viewing the tutorials, join Derrick and the lynda.com community in the course's companion Flickr group—a venue for lynda.com members to submit their group shot samples for discussion and review.
Group Shots Photo Assignment Flickr Discussion Group
Okay, here we are outdoors for another group shot, a large group shot, and I tell you, the outdoor setting can be very challenging for the photographer, because you have this beautiful light, but you also have all the things you don't want, such as air blowing around, distractions, they are going to be looking off. So we are going to take care of all that stuff best that we can. So the first thing you have to do is think about position, right, because we have position, we have lighting, we have background. Background is not bad. Lighting, nature is taking care of that.
Position, oh my gosh, we've got to fix this here. So I am going to come over. The first thing we have, so we've got the big guy in front here. Big guys like to do this, just to see how long it's going to take the photographer to move them to the back. Come on back here, come on right up here. All right! Now, you want to create openings so that everyone can see the camera. For instance, Tom, can you see the camera where you are right now? Now, you can. All right! I want you to move into this spot right here. Create a little opening for him. Same thing here. Now, again, we are losing this person right here.
So let's create a little space right here. Good! A little bit more space maybe. And then maybe you can angle just a little bit like that. Good! All right, let's see how this looks here. Yeah, so we have definitely improved the shot here. I am going to take a little look right here. So now our positioning is much improved. I have Ash with me again, and Ash is going to keep an eye on blowing hair, because we have a breezy situation here. So if you see anything at all, just go ahead and interrupt me.
Ash: In fact, would you tuck your hair behind your ear? There we go. And maybe, sir, if you don't mind taking off your sunglasses. Derrick: Yeah, I was wondering about the shades. I think we need to lose the shades there. Yeah, thank you. Shades in the pocket. Great! Those are the little things that will just drive you crazy when you see the shots afterwards. Now, I have a fill light on here. Nature is taking care of the bulk of the lighting for us. What I want to do is add a little fill light just to put some twinkle on the eye. Now, I have another light up there if I need it, but I think we have enough light that this light right here on the camera should do the work.
So I have it flashing. Again, it's not the main light; it's just the fill light. Get that right there. Now, when I use a fill light, one of the things that I like to do is use the Flash Exposure Compensation setting. I am going to show you how to do that when we are in the studio, when we are reviewing the shots I'll show you how to set that. But basically what it does is it takes the flash and it draws it down. It draws down the power. We are going to set it to about -1, -1.5, because what I don't want is full flash here.
I want more of a natural effect and I do that by using the Flash Exposure Compensation to go the negative direction. So just a little fill light here, just a little twinkle in the eyes. Everyone smile. Good! Excellent! Oh my gosh! That's the money shot. That is the shot that we want to keep. So remember, when you are outdoors, it's the same as indoors. Background, important here, we've got a great background. Lighting, nature is doing most of the work; we are just going to add a little bit of fill light. Positioning, you are always going to have to do positioning.
People don't naturally go in the right spots. If you can get a helper to watch for blowing hair and so forth, that's a really good idea. And then remember, take enough frames so that you have a good shot of everyone. Do those things and you are going to come away with a great group portrait.
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