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Old Dec 28, 2005, 6:04 PM   #1
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Ok, here's my setup:

2 halogen work lights aimed at ceiling bouncing down at subjects.
Canon Digital Rebel XT
18-55mm Kit lens
Sigma EF-500 DG Super Electronic Flash

the problem i ran into was having to use a 1/6th second shutter speed to get a good reading, and of course i was using a tripod. is this normal under these conditions? i know it's mainly the lens keeping me from it. i have a 50mm f/1.8 lens, but just couldn't get the wide angle i needed for the group shot. same w/ my 70-300mm.

tell me what you think. i'm trying to find a way to get the exposure these shots got, but be able to get a crisper, sharper image that a faster shutter speed would allow.

also, if you notice, the lighting on the girls is perfect, but the two in the back (me and my father) is not as good. both my flash and backlighting are bouncing off the ceiling, to prevent harsh shadows. is there anything else i should try?

thanks so much for your input, it's much appreciated.

-Jon Rowe
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 6:15 PM   #2
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Well, the one thing i can see is, not speaking light wise, is it looks like your apperature is a bit wide. The woman in the front is wonderfully focused, while the guy in the back right is blurred. Try to close up that a bit, and it'll help. When shooting a small group like that, i still use a pretty wide setting, but it isn't terribly important to blur the background, as there isn't much depth in this one anyway.

just my opinions... i could (and usually am) wrong
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 6:41 PM   #3
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you simply need more light.. and you are losing alot bouncing it off the ceiling..

get the work lights off to either side of the camera.. and then adjust the exposure and the balance between the two sides by moving them further and closer to your subjects until they look right.. just going to have to eyeball it since there is no exposure control on work lights.. then you can leave theflash bounced.. that should increase your light letting you stop down your aperture to get enough depth of field and get your shutter speeds at a respectable number..
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 6:46 PM   #4
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Second Luxowell.. Front row, especially girl to left, is very sharp while back row is soft. Its not really your lens keeping your back, its your lighting. Even if you did use the 1.8 you would have to close aperture down to take care of the focus on both rows. You can also try moving the camera away from the subjects more to help with DOF.

You mentioned you were using a flash. What flash? If its the built in then thats not much help but if you have a hotshoe you have more to work with. In that case shoot in manual mode. Set your aperture around 8 and shutter around 1/60. Your flash should attempt to expose the scene correctly. If it does not then you have the option of less shutter, more aperture or higher ISO. If it does expose correctly on the first settings then you may have room for more shutter or less aperture.

Another thing to consider is the clothing. All black shirts begins to look like one big body with a bunch of heads coming out of it.

Coloring seems a bit off as well. A orangish tint. Try setting a custom white balance beforehand and you will see a nice improvement in color.

Your picture is not bad at all. It just needs some tweaking.
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 9:04 PM   #5
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Hi Jon,

As others have mentioned, you need to stop down to f/8 or so to get everyone in focus, and increase light output to allow for this.

With the Sigma EF-500 DG Superby itself, youshould have enough power to light up your portrait at f/8. How high is your ceiling? Witha 9foot ceiling, and my camera set on manual at f/8 ...1/100th sec or so. I have found I can bounce flash affectively with the Sigma from a distance of about 10ft. You mayhave to bump up the ISO to 200 or so. Without bouncing, you could do ok from almost 20ft with direct flash. Bounce, though, is more flattering. Make sure the flash is set to ETTL. You may have to add FEC to correct for ETTL metering. And again, camera on MANUAL...(f/8 1/100th sec) should work fine. Even better would be using umbrella light, or a soft box. Try this without other lights to determine the range of your flash.

I bet you can also come up with great results using the work lights as Dustin advised. I hope you can post again with your next attempts. As mentioned,yourphotocertainly isn't bad. Good luck!

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Old Dec 28, 2005, 11:49 PM   #6
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The experts have spoken well. I couldn't say more.:-)
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