April 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm #18150Rise Against FauxtogsParticipant
I have trouble with depth of focus in some indoor group shots. Depth of field is too shallow.
My equipment: Canon 5D Mark 2 with a Canon flash (580 EX2).
Flash set to ETTL, camera set to Program. I’ve tried other camera settings including manual and aperture priority but results are inconsistent.
Can someone advise? How do I get people in front row and back row in focus with my setup?April 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm #18151
When using flash, manual is a good mode for the camera.
What lens? If a zoom, what focal length?
How many are in a standard group? How many wide and how many deep?
What colour are walls and ceiling? How high is the ceiling? How big is the room?
Do you have only a 580 EX II? Is it in the hot shoe?
I would love to be able to say “just do this”, but all this stuff matters to a successful result. The further you can get from your rows of people, the deeper the DOF. The shorter your lens, the deeper the DOF. The smaller the aperture, the deeper the DOF. Unfortunately, if you get into short lenses and stand relatively close, people’s noses tend to get larger relative to their faces and the first row people tend to grow relative to the second and subsequent rows, so what you have to work with makes a difference to how you might achieve the shot and the end result. Bounce or off camera flash gives nicer results, but you may need more flash power for that to work.April 7, 2014 at 6:50 pm #18152yogorillaParticipant
If it’s depth of field you’re after then you need a smaller aperture as I’m sure you know. Problem is that with a flash a smaller aperture works directly against the power of the flash. You can offset this with a higher ISO. Try using aperture priority to get the right depth of field, use a DOF calculator if that helps, and then increase the ISO to get the exposure right.
If you’ve not already done so it mightn’t hurt to read the Strobist: Lighting 101 posts. With a little understanding of what’s going on it’s not hard to use your camera and strobe on full manual control to get good results. Don’t fear the manual settings! – http://strobist.blogspot.com.au/2006/03/lighting-101.htmlApril 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm #18153
don’t know your whole setup but I can offer this:
use a light meter – takes the guess work out of camera settings for correct exposure at any shutter, ISO and aperture. Even more handy with a flash;
get the flash off camera – I use YoungNuo YN622C ETTL flash triggers. They’re brilliantly simple to use.
don’t use <P> – use manual mode with given aperture that you’ve pre-configured for your DOF, then use the light meter with a test flash to set Av and ISO and bam! You’ve nailed it. 🙂April 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm #18154
The light meter I have is the Sekonic 358 (a bit pricey), but I recently read you can have “starter” lightmeter for $30 attachment to your iphone:April 8, 2014 at 3:06 am #18155
With more than one row of people it will be challenging with just one speedlight to light people properly.
P mode can be a good starting point actually unless you have a light meter. Set camera to P mode, fire off the flash exposure lock (FEL button next to the shutter button) which will lock exposure to a good point. Take a note of what the settings are, go into manual and then adjust DOF as you go. 40-50mm f8 quite often works, just adjust the ISO upwards to compensate for the smaller aperture. It is far better to bump iso one or two steps than having the back row slightly out of focus. Problem here is relying on the flash TTL which isn’t always perfect.
Check the histogram in the camera to see if it is roughly exposed properly and adjust accordingly.
The other option that I think works well if you can fire of a couple of test shots is to go into manual mode for both camera and flash. Flash at 1/2 power, f8 and iso 800. Adjust accordingly, once you’ve found the right settings stick the flash on full power. If it is more than two rows you probably need f11 or even f16 and if there are more people than you can keep an eye on make sure you take a number of photos as there will always be people looking the wrong way and or blinking.April 8, 2014 at 5:35 am #18156
You don’t say if you are working inside or outdoors, but as no one else has mentioned it, here’s another method.
Use everything in manual mode and take a light reading, choose an aperture of at least f8 (f11 would be better). This will probably give you a very slow shutter speed. So you’ll have to use a tripod and tell everyone to stay still. Now set the flash to the same same f stop and use it as a fill flash.
Problems using this method are that everyone will have to stay still, no problem with a military group, but not an option with a bunch of toddlers. If you are shooting inside, the ambient light will give a colour cast, so you’ll need an appropriate gel over your flash so you don’t get mixed lighting.
All in all, the solutions that other people have mentioned are probably better, but as I said, no one has mentioned this yet.April 8, 2014 at 5:39 am #18157
The other option that I think works well if you can fire of a couple of test shots is to go into manual mode for both camera and flash. Flash at 1/2 power, f8 and iso 800. Adjust accordingly, once you’ve found the right settings stick the flash on full power.
Not sure how that can work?April 8, 2014 at 6:09 am #18159
Sekonic discontinued the 358 flash meter.
Pretty sure it is indoor shots since the first post said:
I have trouble with depth of focus in some indoor group shots.April 8, 2014 at 7:46 am #18160
the L-358 was indeed discontinued, but you can pick up other meters on the cheap.
If you’re going to use manual, Aperture or Shutter priority modes with flashes, a light meter is tantamount to getting properly exposed shots without a plenitude of trial n error shots (which, IMHO, looks unprofessional).April 8, 2014 at 8:42 am #18161
I was just putting it out there as a fact, not as a value judgment. I have an L-358 and when I complained to Sekonic about the lettering on the case, they responded they had just discontinued it! Bless them!
Perhaps we should point out that not all light meters are flash light meters. The difference being that the ones designed to measure flash record the peak light and lock that value away so you can see the effect of the flash independent from ambient light. We should also point out that a flash meter is more or less important depending on the equipment you have. If you have a single Canon or Nikon flash mounted on a Canon or Nikon body respectively, then you don’t need a flash meter, the camera can figure it out for you. If you are using Canon or Nikon flash systems, again you don’t need a flash meter because the camera can figure it out, even if you are using a dozen flashes. If you are using radios like some versions of Pocketwizard, the flashes can talk to the camera over the radio and the camera can figure it out. In all those cases, a flash meter is of most use to determine the ratio between flashes, be it key and fill or kicker/hair lights. Knowing the inverse square law, you could just set the flashes to the same power and use placement to adjust ratio in many cases. Some studios are organized with series of dots at various radiuses on the floor to aid in light placement without the need to get out a tape measure.
Depending on what you are doing, moving a lamp a few inches can have a huge effect. While being clueless is unprofessional, test shots while moving things around to get the best possible result is usually quite professional. Frequently starting with one light then adding a second, then third, etc., is a good way to build. If you are shooting portraits, have an assistant sit in for the subject until everything is ready, then have the subject sit/stand in the same place. Sometimes a flash meter can speed the process but after you have been doing it for a while, you get to know roughly where to set lamps and how much power to apply. Then you are doing test shots to fine tune things anyway.April 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm #18163
Not sure how that can work?
Probably didn’t explain too clearly but once you’ve shot your first test shot you can gauge how far over or under exposed you are and then adjust your exposure accordinglyApril 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm #18165
Start with half power and when you have the right setting go back to full power? That’s the bit I don’t understand…April 9, 2014 at 1:18 am #18177fautox1977Participant
If you do not want the flash to show in your photos, you either get it off camera or bounce it off a wall. Check the room and see how tall is the ceiling then direct your flash upwards (A-mode – TTL +0.7). I would suggest a tripod or at least a speed of 1/125. The minimum f stop should be 5.6 for group shots. Apertures of f8 or f11 will need much more flash power and will completely darken backgrounds at indoor shots.
Sometimes I shoot indoor groups at f4, 1/125, ISO 800+ and I get everyone in focus due to my distance from them. Also the whole photo looks well exposed. The first thing you need to do is understand how camera and flash works. P for “Professional” is not the way to go on most situations especially for indoor portraiture.April 9, 2014 at 2:58 am #18184
Start with half power and when you have the right setting go back to full power? That’s the bit I don’t understand…
Ah, double flash power and drop iso by one step was my suggestion. The half power flash setting is helpful because of shorter recycle times and higher iso won’t matter in the test shots.
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