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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
You may be wondering what this medieval-looking device is here on my camera. This is actually a flash bracket, and there are some cases where it comes in very handy. A lot of times when people use direct flash they have the flash mounted right on the camera here. Now, after I have done all this wonderful talk about modifiers, you may be wondering why I am talking about direct flash. Well, there are times when you need all the power that your flash can give you. For instance, when you put a modifier on, it does a great job of softening the light, but it also uses some of the light.
So if I am outdoor shooting an outdoor portrait and I am using flash as a fill light, or I am trying to cover a big area indoors, I want all the power that I can get with the flash. Now, when you have the flash on the camera, that creates a couple of problems. One is, in a darkened room it will produce red-eye, because people's eyes dilate a little bit and the light bounces off the inside of the eye and right into the lens. By moving the flash up off the camera, that moves that reflection down and the camera doesn't pick it up, so you'll never get red-eye with a flash bracket.
The other thing that it does is that it moves the shadows down. When the flash is close to the lens, you're going to get that outlined shadow when a person is up against the wall. This moves it down and a little bit out of frame. Now, this is a neat bracket in that it is a flip bracket, and the thing that I like about it is that when I am shooting horizontally, the flash is above the lens. And then when I go vertically, I just flip the bracket like this, and it's still above the lens. And then when I come back, there we go, just like that.
So as I said before, I am not a huge fan of direct flash. Sometimes I have to use it, so I carry a bracket and a dedicated cord for those times when I need to use direct flash.
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