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Marius Jonsson Feb 15, 2005 8:08 AM


I've been asked to photograph a band and a football (soccer) team later this week, and in two weeks.I dont have time to order any book on the subject, but it would be great if somebody could give me some tips on how to photograph them. I dont have access to a lot of equipement eighter, just a digicam; Coolpix 8700.

Kind Regards

Marius Jonsson

slipe Feb 15, 2005 9:58 AM

If you have a flash attachment you are all set. If not, get one. The dedicated units are pricey but easy to use. You can get inexpensive automatic units, but you will need some practice before going out to shoot.

If you are indoors with a relatively low ceiling a bounce flash looks nice. Shoot both direct and with bounce (after practicing with the settings at the distance you will shoot). You need a fairly competent flash unit to use bounce at a distance you require for a large group.

People look best when photographed at around 70mm equivalent focal length. That is around 2X zoom on your camera. That could put you too far away for a bounce flash or even a direct one with a small unit, but try to avoid full wide.

If you watch a pro shoot large or small groups they raise the camera, "say cheese" and the flash fires. Not after 5 seconds of staring through the viewfinder – right away. They get natural smiles and expressions rather than painted on smiles and blank looks. Raise the camera and push the shutter release. It takes some practice to have the camera set right for the shot before lining the group up. If you have to frame the shot for the group lower the camera when you are set, tell them to smile or say a quick funny, raise the camera and fire it immediately.

Marius Jonsson Feb 15, 2005 11:37 AM

What do you mean by "raise the camera"?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Could you give me some tips on photographing outside?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Thanks a million style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"for the fast reply!


Marius Jonsson

slipe Feb 15, 2005 12:22 PM


What do you mean by "raise the camera"?
I guess you aren't getting what I am saying at all. When you tell the people you are ready for the shot, raise it to your eye and push the shutter immediately. If you frame the shot while the people are ready for a photograph, by the time you get around to taking the shot you will have painted smiles and blank expressions. If you have to frame and make settings don't take the shot. Lower the camera from your eye and talk to the people. Say something like "here we go – smile", raise the camera to your eye and push the shutter immediately. If you don't believe me watch a pro who regularly photographs people.


Could you give me some tips on photographing outside?
Don't stand them with the sun in their eyes and use a fill flash. At the distance you will be shooting the built-in flash might not be sufficient. Especially if you shoot in the portrait range for the zoom. You need a flash unit. You can probably get one that is sufficient for $50, and it will improve your flash photography overall after you do the team shoots.

I bought a Vivitar 285HV for about $75 online. It is powerful for the price and has a zoom on the flash. You would set it for "normal" with 50 – 70mm zoom equivalent and it would give a stronger flash than a normal flash that has to cover at least 28mm. It is powerful enough you could stand back in the portrait range rather than have to shoot at full wide angle.

There is less to learn if you get a Nikon dedicated flash unit, but you pay a lot more for equivalent power. If you get an inexpensive automatic unit give yourself some time to practice under similar shooting conditions.

You should get good results from your camera. Shoot at ISO 100. ISO 50 is better but you might not have a flash with sufficient power to use that. I could take a large group shot with my Vivitar at ISO 50, but it is a bulky unit for everyday photography once you have done the team shoots.

perdendosi Feb 15, 2005 1:38 PM

Slipe mentions "raising the camera" -- that's assuming that you're handholding. I would suggest using a tripod -- that way, you can frame the shot (to make sure everyone's visible and that the horizon is straight), get it prefocused, and know you're ready before you press the shutter.

Slipe's suggestion that you don't tell the subjects you're ready until you're absolutely ready is a great one -- so people don't have frozen smiles on their faces.

Other things to remember:

With larger groups, you need to take more pictures... because there's a greater chance that someone in the pic will have his eyes closed, will be looking away, will be talking, etc. 2 or 3 shots probably won't work, even if they look good in a preview, because small details are often lost in previews.

If you're shooting outside, the key words are "open shade." That avoids the subjects' squinting and harsh shadows.

Something Slipe didn't mention is composition and positioning. How are you going to have these groups stand/sit? Will you need to be up on a ladder to take the pic to get everyone in? Do they want something super serious ("we're comin' to get you" kind of thing) or just something to record who's on the team (where being able to see everyone's faces is most important). So think about how you can arrange them... things other than lines where everyone is flatly facing the photographer.

And what kind of band are you talking about? Like a school band/wind ensemble or a rock band with just a few members. If the latter, you really want to think about creative positioning and lighting.

Marius Jonsson Feb 16, 2005 12:29 PM

Thanks! Great tips!

A partner at work has a jazz band... Thats the band im photographing. I dun have much equipement for lighting.. maybe you could supply some details?

I dunno much about posing eighter.. how could i get the team to pose to give a "we're comin' to get you" kind of thing"?

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