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Setup for family portrait

sasko1sasko1 Member
edited June 2012 in portraits & people
In couple of weeks I have one order, where I have to do portrait of a family. 4 people, 2 sitting and two standing behind them, something like "mafia style", like godfather theme. :)

D700 + 24-70

Now my question is, can I pull this off with bouncing flash? I still don't know what room will be, but I think it will be inside for sure.
What are normal settings for this? I guess around f4 to get all sharp or should be higher?

I have two sb900, one umbrella and one softbox 24x24. Better to use those two, each on one side? What would settings be in that case? Can I do it with TTL, since I am really crap in manual flash?

Thanks for help.


  • i would try not to shoot below 5.6 with 2 rows of people, worst case scenario the room is to big to bounce ur flash or/and the walls r colored, in order to prepare for that i would advise u to buy another umbrella, b&h sells 45inch umbrellas for 15 dollars or u can get a 60 inch for $30. shoot on all manual put the sb900s at 1/2 power in umbrellas both at 45deg angle from the subject about 6 to 10 feet away, set ur camera to 1/125, f5.6 iso 200-400.
    alternatively u may want to use only one umbrella slightly off axis
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    So better with two umbrellas, than help with softbox. I haveto look at my storage, there should be additional umbrella, I guess.

    also, i think Neil already posted omething about manual flash use. I have job to do, i guess.

    Thanks naftoli fot this advice.
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Actually, I do have another question.

    Since this will be restaurant, some lights on walls will be inside, I guess. Should I gel the speedlights in that case with 1/2 CTS or not?

    Thanks for help.
  • NaftoliNaftoli Member
    edited June 2012
    r u planning on using the ambient light to supplement your exposure? if yes ur settings may be somwhere about iso 800/1600, f5.6, 1/60. and a half cts would be a good idea. in my first comment i was assuming u were not planning on using the ambient this way u have total control over the light and color and no risk of motion blur or grain due to high iso.

    re: softbox, i find that for a beginner it is much eisier to work with umbrellas especially since 45 inch umbrella is a much larger lightsource than a 24x24inch softbox u can light a larger area more easily.
    good luck!
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    I see. No problem with umbrella. Have two white at home and will use them.

    I was playing a bit around with my manual SB900 settings and try different things.

    I was confused by something.

    If I set on both flashes to M and 1/2 power.... than I go to commander mode (Nikon), since I will trigger them with built in flash, there are again settings to set, where I can put both flashes to M and 1/2. Are those settings affecting those already set on flashes?

    Are those settings the same thing as in flash? Is it enough to set only in camera settings?

  • if ur sb900s r set to "advanced wireless reciever mode" (becuase u r using cls to trigger them) than u do not have an option of setting the power of the flash from the flash, u only change the power from ur camera
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    I see. So setting things in flash doesn't change anything. Everything is set through cls settings in camera?

    thanks Naftoli. I'll report here, how things will go. 5 days to the day. :)
  • NaftoliNaftoli Member
    edited July 2012
    correct, off camera flash settings such as ttl/manual, power output, and compensation r all set in the the camera menu, unless u r using a speedlight in the hotshoe then u will use the on camera speedlight to control ur OCfs
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Tomorrow is D day, when I try to make photos. :) Thanks for advices.

    Only one question... today I was told that maybe pictures will be taken outside. What would be my starting setting for this? Same equipment used as above.

    Should i start witth 1/2 flash power, 1/250 and iso 200-400? I guess it will be afternoon sun, people sitting in shade.

  • if u dont have shade make sure ur subjects backs r to the sun, this will give u a nice rim and u wont have an issue with squinting, start with taking a shot at max sync ie 1/250 without flash to c what the ambient is giving u, adjust shutter till u have nice expousure and perhaps underexpose by 1 3rd of a stop, then add just a touch of flash try ttl -2 stops
  • if u shoot outside its a very diff situation then shooting inside b/c outside u will be using the ambient light for the majority of ur exposure, and u dont have color issues b/c daylight is the same temperature as flash (more or less)
  • sasko1sasko1 Member
    Dear mr. Naftoli. THANK YOU very much for your help!

    Yesterday I did what I had to do and it came out just great. Two umbrellas worked perfect.

    You know...when sometimes you just need one small thing, to finnaly figured all out? In this case, your advice was that thing. Manual flash came to me as a bliss and I now everything is clear and simple.
    When I finish postproduction, I will send you sample, so you can see it.

    Thanks again. Another great example why such forums are good. :)
  • ok great! glad it worked out for u
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