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Depth of Field/Correct f stop for group photos?

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  • Depth of Field/Correct f stop for group photos?

    Hi Everyone!!
    I am photographing at friends birthday BBQ tomorrow. Whether is gonna be partially cloudy. I will be using Canon 60D with 24-70mm f/2.8. I like shooting at f/2.8 but i am not sure if that will be good to capture photos of 2 or more people in a group. what should be the minimum f stop to capture a sharp photo without loosing good depth of field. any other tips and suggestion are much appreciated.

    Thank you all in advance
    Kind Regards
    Canon 60D, The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens, Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Canon Speedlight 580EX, Canon Speedlight 430 exii
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-wala/

  • #2
    Originally posted by super-human View Post
    Hi Everyone!!
    I am photographing at friends birthday BBQ tomorrow. Whether is gonna be partially cloudy. I will be using Canon 60D with 24-70mm f/2.8. I like shooting at f/2.8 but i am not sure if that will be good to capture photos of 2 or more people in a group. what should be the minimum f stop to capture a sharp photo without loosing good depth of field. any other tips and suggestion are much appreciated.

    Thank you all in advance
    Kind Regards
    It really matters on the size of the group and how they are arranged. But, I would never advise using f/2.8 for two, or more people unless you are looking to intentionally blur a subject (or subjects) in the background. Again, depending on the arrangement, I would say anything between f/5.6 - f/8 just to be sure all will be in somewhat sharp focus.
    Vince "...the law of unintended consequences, sometimes, you get a truly memorable photograph"
    Gear: Canon G2, Canon 20D, Nikon D300...bunch of lenses
    My Flickr
    www.montalbanophotography.com

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by autofocus View Post
      It really matters on the size of the group and how they are arranged. But, I would never advise using f/2.8 for two, or more people unless you are looking to intentionally blur a subject (or subjects) in the background. Again, depending on the arrangement, I would say anything between f/5.6 - f/8 just to be sure all will be in somewhat sharp focus.
      thanks for the reply!! and also if there is a best way to check the sharpness of the photos in camera lcd or in levels? as they always seem clear and sharp in camera display but sometimes they are after transferring them to computer.
      thanks again
      Canon 60D, The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens, Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Canon Speedlight 580EX, Canon Speedlight 430 exii
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-wala/

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by super-human View Post
        thanks for the reply!! and also if there is a best way to check the sharpness of the photos in camera lcd or in levels? as they always seem clear and sharp in camera display but sometimes they are after transferring them to computer.
        thanks again
        You should be able to pull the image in while viewing on the camera's LCD. Some of the basics that I adhere to is to always focus on the eye(s) usually on the person who is nearest to the camera. The general rule of thumb with DOF is acceptable focus will exist 1/3 in front of the point of focus and 2/3's acceptable focus behind the point of focus. As far as composition, static all in row setups are safe, but very boring. Shooting a group on a diagonal angle to the camera will make DOF/focus even more critical..I'd suggest f/8 - f/11 for that type of arrangement. There are times with a large group you can arrange people in little groups, instead of the typical lineup. Stone walls and porch steps can be nice to work around..remember, a good photograph consists of good use of the background along with the main subjects. Shooting from a higher angle can also work well, especially if it's a large group. In large groups with various generations of family members, it's usually best to put the senior most members of the family in the center..like grandma and/or grandpa. There's much more to consider, but hopefully these few tips will help.
        Vince "...the law of unintended consequences, sometimes, you get a truly memorable photograph"
        Gear: Canon G2, Canon 20D, Nikon D300...bunch of lenses
        My Flickr
        www.montalbanophotography.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by autofocus View Post
          You should be able to pull the image in while viewing on the camera's LCD. Some of the basics that I adhere to is to always focus on the eye(s) usually on the person who is nearest to the camera. The general rule of thumb with DOF is acceptable focus will exist 1/3 in front of the point of focus and 2/3's acceptable focus behind the point of focus. As far as composition, static all in row setups are safe, but very boring. Shooting a group on a diagonal angle to the camera will make DOF/focus even more critical..I'd suggest f/8 - f/11 for that type of arrangement. There are times with a large group you can arrange people in little groups, instead of the typical lineup. Stone walls and porch steps can be nice to work around..remember, a good photograph consists of good use of the background along with the main subjects. Shooting from a higher angle can also work well, especially if it's a large group. In large groups with various generations of family members, it's usually best to put the senior most members of the family in the center..like grandma and/or grandpa. There's much more to consider, but hopefully these few tips will help.
          Thanks for the very help ful tips. one more question wanna ask
          if there is a group of 4 or 5, say two at front or 3 at back. as 60D has 9 auto focus points. should i focus the point on a eye and move the camera to fit everyone in frame or try to focus on nearest focus point out of nine to the eye of person in front?
          Thanks
          Canon 60D, The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens, Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Canon Speedlight 580EX, Canon Speedlight 430 exii
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-wala/

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by super-human View Post
            Thanks for the very help ful tips. one more question wanna ask
            if there is a group of 4 or 5, say two at front or 3 at back. as 60D has 9 auto focus points. should i focus the point on a eye and move the camera to fit everyone in frame or try to focus on nearest focus point out of nine to the eye of person in front?
            Thanks
            Many people use the center focus point (focused on an eye) and then re-compose the shot as needed. I prefer to select a focus point that falls on an eye, and re-compose if necessary. The trouble with the re-compose technique is that any movement or change in distance can throw off critical focus. Also, wider angle lenses inherently have more DOF than telephotos/long lenses, but also have more potential for distortion..just one more thing to consider. Lastly, make sure your camera is set to One Shot, or Single shot mode...Servo or Continuous modes will allow a shot to be taken even before focus is locked in. One Shot must have focus locked in before the shutter will allow a shot to be taken.
            Vince "...the law of unintended consequences, sometimes, you get a truly memorable photograph"
            Gear: Canon G2, Canon 20D, Nikon D300...bunch of lenses
            My Flickr
            www.montalbanophotography.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by autofocus View Post
              Many people use the center focus point (focused on an eye) and then re-compose the shot as needed. I prefer to select a focus point that falls on an eye, and re-compose if necessary. The trouble with the re-compose technique is that any movement or change in distance can throw off critical focus. Also, wider angle lenses inherently have more DOF than telephotos/long lenses, but also have more potential for distortion..just one more thing to consider. Lastly, make sure your camera is set to One Shot, or Single shot mode...Servo or Continuous modes will allow a shot to be taken even before focus is locked in. One Shot must have focus locked in before the shutter will allow a shot to be taken.
              got it!!! any recommendations on which metering method to use, and if the Av mode will be the best or should i use it on manual?
              Thank You
              Canon 60D, The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens, Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Canon Speedlight 580EX, Canon Speedlight 430 exii
              http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-wala/

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by super-human View Post
                got it!!! any recommendations on which metering method to use, and if the Av mode will be the best or should i use it on manual?
                Thank You
                Lighting conditions will always be a determining factor in choice of metering mode, but center weighted will probably work out best for most situations. Being that you want control over your aperture, shooting in AV mode is OK..just be very aware of the shutter speed it's setting. If too slow, use your ISO settings to compensate. One more thing that needs to be considered...shooting into a dark background, or an overly light background along with very dark, or very light clothing will influence exposure. So, if any of that is a problem, you may want to shoot in manual or use your EV settings to compensate. Dark backgrounds with dark clothing will probably yield overexposed skin tones...and the opposite would be true with bright backgrounds. You can try this...zoom in or walk up to one of the subjects and fill the frame with his/her face..take note of the meter reading. Then go back to where you'll frame the shot from, shoot in manual and use those close up settings for your exposure.
                Vince "...the law of unintended consequences, sometimes, you get a truly memorable photograph"
                Gear: Canon G2, Canon 20D, Nikon D300...bunch of lenses
                My Flickr
                www.montalbanophotography.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by autofocus View Post
                  Lighting conditions will always be a determining factor in choice of metering mode, but center weighted will probably work out best for most situations. Being that you want control over your aperture, shooting in AV mode is OK..just be very aware of the shutter speed it's setting. If too slow, use your ISO settings to compensate. One more thing that needs to be considered...shooting into a dark background, or an overly light background along with very dark, or very light clothing will influence exposure. So, if any of that is a problem, you may want to shoot in manual or use your EV settings to compensate. Dark backgrounds with dark clothing will probably yield overexposed skin tones...and the opposite would be true with bright backgrounds. You can try this...zoom in or walk up to one of the subjects and fill the frame with his/her face..take note of the meter reading. Then go back to where you'll frame the shot from, shoot in manual and use those close up settings for your exposure.
                  Tanks very much for all the helpful tips mate!!!
                  Canon 60D, The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens, Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, Canon Speedlight 580EX, Canon Speedlight 430 exii
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-wala/

                  Comment

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