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Speedlights for Groups

Lesson 40 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

Speedlights for Groups

Lesson 40 from: Location Lighting 101

Lindsay Adler

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Lesson Info

40. Speedlights for Groups


Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


Principles of Light


Speedlights vs Strobes


Compressing the Scene


Location Lenses and Lenshoods


Metering Modes and Back Button Focus


Natural Light Reflectors


Lesson Info

Speedlights for Groups

I'm going to start off with a video and this it really is quite similar to the way that we talk to yesterday when we come back from the video I'll talk about the differences between groups with speed lights and groups with strobes general concept to the same few little differences let's talk about photographing groups and right now I actually have a small group but I'll give you some tips for photographing larger groups using speed lights all right first of all one of the things that we've learned is that the larger the light source relative to your subject the softer the light it wraps around one so something that you might be inclined to do is take this for example is this the rapid box octa and you want one try to bring it in as close as possible so bring it even closer all right but if he brings it in as close as possible without getting in my frame what happens is there's going to be a really severe effect from the fall off of the light talking about the inverse square law again b...

ecause here's what happens this light hits her it is about twice as far away from iris over here which means it is a quarter as bright and you can see that in the frame she's going to be well illuminated and she's going to be very dim furthermore because he's had to come across from the side so he wouldn't be in my frame now there's just really not nice split light kind of across them and so she's going to be really dim she's going tohave kind of split light on her face so one thing you can do is if you only have one modifier just like this is unfortunately you are going to have to back up a little bit and you're gonna have to bring your light a little bit more centered so everyone is more evenly lit so perhaps something like this stephen boom over my head just a little bit more good and a little bit lower like like right here good so now everybody is going to be more evenly illuminated not totally ideal though now imagine there were three people there were twenty people what do you do for a group shot like that all right well first of all the very first thing is you need to have larger modifiers you need to get a bigger modifier on your strokes to steven would you grab me a larger modifier the one that we're going to use right now is just the apollo or which is not really that huge of a speed light modifier in fact westcott makes one that I believe is called the westcott apollo megha which is a gigantic speed light soft box that you can put many speed lights in which is great for lightning groups so right now we're going to have the orb notice this is going to be a much larger light source so it wraps around the subjects more he's not going to bring it close because it's going to give you that split light effect you can bring it a little bit further back goingto illuminate them much more evenly ice let's take a look here and let me switch I had a different channel set let me switch for this one perfect okay now let's take a look at this shot and the white is significantly better it is much softer it wraps around it's much even much more even on all of their faces but again what happens if you had fifteen twenty people at that point what you need to do is you need to have larger light modifiers and you need to have multiple at least two so what you would do is for a larger group you try to get something even bigger than this orb have it on one side and then another one on the other side what you want to be careful of is you don't want to have split light so you don't want to have one far off to the left and the other far off to the right crossing the light in the middle but having them slightly more centered and you could work on ratio is if you want to have one be the main and one b the phil but just keep in mind if you doing groups bigger modifiers a little bit further back and a little bit more centered and get a nice shot like this and steven you want to jump in perfect great beautiful and one more look okay it and uh when you're photographing group something else you want to be aware of two right now I'm shooting at four point oh um you don't really want to shoot very wide open because what'll happen is let's say that the angle that I want maybe I want to come over this direction to shoot them now they're all going to be on different planes so she is going to be closer to me those two the way that they're posed are a little bit further back so she's going to be intact sharp focus and then they'll start getting softer and softer and if you have a group of twenty people you're going to probably be stacking them and f four point oh is probably not going to cut it so if you're used to shooting at two point eight because I like to shoot it two point eight on location it's not going to work in this instance so it's something else that you want to be aware of typically I am for something five six or even eight o for a huge group like this if I want to make sure I can shoot wide open let's say that I wanted to go to let's say that I wanted to go to two point oh and still have them all in focus I need to make sure that they're really all in the exact same line lined up with the plane of my camera so we're gonna rotate you this way a little bit good you two move it's in the center front okay perfect and then turning towards her you look prettier arm rounder let's let's get like cuter here okay so I'm trying to make sure all of their faces all of their eyes they're lined up and I'm not talking height talking distance from camera and now I will be of the shoot a little bit wider open great and have them all in focus I think stephen still a little bit too close back up just a little bit your eyes a little for the right okay good now your eyes are on the same plane perfect all right so those are the basics of I really like this one the basics of shooting groups look cute valid really cute stephen you look very modeling all right great all right so the fundamental things that you do not want to do when photographing a group you don't want to have your light far off to the left or right and you do not want it to be small and you don't want to be too close because if you're too close somebody is going to be closer to that light and in the late fall off will make the person it's farther away look darker if you're too close he'll be in your own shot so if you come around to the side then you're gonna have the split light that you see here on her face she doesn't have split late she does it unevenly lights the group and if you have a small modifier it's not going to be around be able to wrap around and light them all so that's why I hear if you back up get a big modifier and come a little bit more around to the front that's going to give you a much more pleasing quality of light okay the differences between speed lights and strokes speed lights just aren't strong enough so if you were photographing a huge group and yesterday I was leading this group with just one stroke and the problem was in the center where I had it the light kind of spread out evenly but faded at the edges so you really need to lights if it's like you know fifteen twenty people and you want a light entire group one speed light will absolutely not be enough because even one strobe isn't so chances are if you're photographing a big group you will need to modifiers maybe a big umbrella so you have nice even light that spreads out lights the whole group or maybe a very large soft box like the apollo mega and then if you if it's a big group and you need to back up really really far you probably are going to want one of those triple threats or something where you could have multiple speed lights together that is going to give you a little bit more with your flash because the problem is even if I have that power really turned up with speed lights if I'm trying to let far back so that I have even lighting well now I have a lot of light fall off because I'm far back so we usually one of the things that we do is we go ahead and we open up our aperture but if we have a deep group we don't want to do that because and there won't be everyone in focus so that's why if you're photographing really big groups strobes air probably a better option but if you do use speed lights you might not want you might want more than one per modifier and at least two for that group all right so I want to see if there's any questions on that before I continue onward well of one that I think a lot of people are kind of agreeing with a d smith tx my group's heir usually more like twenty five to fifty any thoughts or suggestions yeah so that's that's crazy that sounds awful I'm really glad that I have to I used to do weddings and have to photograph for multiple groups so honestly strobes generally are not speed late strobes you're going to be a better option for you but using bigger umbrellas or bigger soft boxes much further back getting multiple with multiple speed lights like if you're goingto have a group of fifty you probably have to do that something to that effect on I that's why I would recommend either a faux ticks or the young new is the really inexpensive ones because if you get the really inexpensive young new owes you can just set them to fire on manual because you have control it is a group and they have speed late that I think are like eighty bucks so now when you buy multiple ones off them it's not completely breaking your bank if you want to stick with speed lights instead of strokes all right let's on then on the complete opposite end through the same rules apply with small groups if you're using a reflector instead of speed lights yeah exactly so if you watch on the first day what I had I had a reflector andre were far off to one side and close and there's just one hot spot and it would fall off so it's exactly the same thing the biggest difference is lighting a big group with the reflector can actually be impossible like if if you have to back that reflector up far enough to get even spread across the group it's possible that you won't have enough like caught in that reflector to kick back to illuminate them so groups is one of those things where I'm almost always like you know you could do a ton with just natural light two major exceptions are big group shots and then if you're shooting at sunset we're late or even after sunset where you want to get to see some color in the sky those air two exceptions where I know I got to go to speed lights or strobes wonderful a griffin and a couple other people want to know can you use a big soft box and a small soft box together when photographing a group yeah so it depends on the size of that group but let's say this group right here for example what I could do is if I swish them together I could use one big soft as my main light I still want it relatively centered maybe here and then the second smaller soft boxes a little bit of phil to make sure it's not falling off to the shadows bigger groups I wouldn't do that because you're definitely going to have the bigger light source for half the group is closer and then the light fades off and a final question from william henchman and this is more of just a clarification you were saying on the plain of the camera so is that a flat plane or curved maintaining the same distance from the lens it is a flat paint plane maintaining flat plain maintaining the same distance from the centre or the lens it's fundamentally the same thing so if this is the area and I'm shooting on the edge of this rug okay shooting this way I need my group everyone's toes to all kind of be lined up on this one line when I start having depth to the group now my death to feel is going to be a problem if I'm trying to shoot wider open that's why with groups I start to go towards five six or eight oh but then we run into a problem with speed lights because at five six or eight oo we have a little aperture which lets less light in which means that it's going to suck out some of the power some of that throw of the speed light because it closed down how much light can get in which is why having multiple flashes for groups when I have to back up and use a smaller aperture are closed on aperture is going to be a better choice

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Keynote 1
Keynote 2
Keynote 3
Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

This class was amazing. Lindsay Adler is a great presenter...I learned so much.....I love that she spoke about natural light..strobes and speedlites. Wonderful information. I purchased this and I am glad I did. Great job Lindsay. Jean


Lindsey Adler is one of the best and most engaging photography instructors in the USA. I highly recommend this lighting course. It felt more like a 101 and a 102 course than just a basic course. She teaches in a way that makes learning alot of fun and the amount of time & effort that she puts into her video and class presentations are second to none. Her classes are well worth their weight in gold and you will walk away with a wealth of knowledge!


Lindsay is amazing , I love the way she explains everything!! This course is filled with GREAT information and helps you better understand natural lighting,strobe and flash. Thank You Lindsay, please keep your classes coming!

Student Work