Powerful enough?
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Old 04-10-2008   #1
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Default Powerful enough?

My sister is studying to be a Medical Assistant and her class is having a pinning ceremony next month. There are actually three classes and they would all like a class picture. Unfortunately, I will only have about 15-20 minutes to get all three classes posed and shot (separately) before the ceremony starts - the time table is very tight.

I seriously doubt that in that short amount of time I will be able to set up/tear down a couple of strobes with softboxes - so I was thinking of using my trusty old Sunpak 622, which has a GN 200 as my main - and only - light.

Do you think that would be powerful enough to shoot some quick class pictures and get everyone lit fairly well? The largest class has 20 people, but the other two classes are smaller.

Bouncing will probably be out of the question considering the gym ceiling is ~30ft high, so I was thinking of mounting the flash on a lightstand above the camera.

Thoughts? Ideas/Suggestions?

Thanks!
Bob S.

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Old 04-10-2008   #2
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

That sounds like a tall order, Bob. Imo posing and shooting 3 classes, say, 10 exposures each, cannot be done in 15-20 minutes time. Also just one point-shaped lightsource, your Sunpak, though possibly powerful enough, won't make for pleasing light and will add harsh, ugly shadows. I'm less concerned about the power of your Sunpak than I am of the hard 'character' of its light.

So I'd explain to my sister that the chance of ending up with usable, i.e. pleasing photos is less than 20% and you need much more time for 1) building up and tearing down some lights, and to 2) do the posing and the actual shooting. All that in a hen coop with 40 to 60 (?) chattering chicks complicating and interfering (with) the (whole) procedure...

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Old 04-10-2008   #3
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

Yep - it's a pretty tall order, but they have no other options. The ceremony, set-up /tear-down of the gym has to be done in a timely manner and that leaves very little time for photographs - although they want them done. Go figure!

I have a small softbox (16x12) that fits on my Sunpak that I can add to help soften the light. But I was afraid to use it because it eats up some of the light/power that I may need to get everyone lit. I may have to reconsider using it.


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Old 04-10-2008   #4
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

Try and rent a second light, and that will be fine. Don't be afraid to bump up to ISO 400 if you need more DOF.
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Old 04-10-2008   #5
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Default Let me vent a personal beef...

In years of professional photography, I have gritted my teeth and cringed at folks who set somewhat unrealistic expectations on photographers. This is often most evident in weddings where the Mother of the Bride and Bride want to get on with the "fun stuff" and do not want to take time for setting up photos.

The screaming need for the Bride to hasten from the cerempony to the reception so she can be flattered by the guests is just one example.

However, we all realize that after the magic pixie dust of the wedding settles, the bride and especially the Mother of the Bride, will want great images so they can remember that momentous day.

Being politely assertive as the photographer and being able to communicate the reality of photographic needs without offending anyone is IMO one of the chief assets of any photographer who shoots once-in-a-lifetime events.

Some of the easiest and most pleasant weddings I have shot have been ones that included a wedding coordinator. The coordinator usually will assist the communications between the wedding party and the photographer because - EVERYONE REALLY WANTS GOOD PICTURES.
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Old 04-10-2008   #6
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

Within that time constraint your sister and her co-students can either have a nice ceremony, or nice photos. Not both. They can't both have their cake and eat it.
So they will have to make some choices they may not like. Sure, I know that's not exactly the fairer sex' strong suit. Tough luck, that's what growing up is all about. Learning to make choices and to live with them...

Tell her the stark truth. Or suffer the consequences.

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Old 04-11-2008   #7
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred D. View Post
Within that time constraint your sister and her co-students can either have a nice ceremony, or nice photos. Not both. They can't both have their cake and eat it.
So they will have to make some choices they may not like. Sure, I know that's not exactly the fairer sex' strong suit. Tough luck, that's what growing up is all about. Learning to make choices and to live with them...

Tell her the stark truth. Or suffer the consequences.

They already understand that the limited time isn't going to give me enough time to set up multiple lights and get some really nice lighting. I informed them of this and they told me that as long as you can make out everyone's face, they will be happy.

I'm doing this as a favor - it's not a paid gig.


Bob S.
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Old 04-11-2008   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rshunk View Post

they told me that as long as you can make out everyone's face, they will be happy.
They lie, Bob . . .
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Old 04-11-2008   #9
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

Squeeze them up close, use the softbox, and hope for the best.
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Old 04-11-2008   #10
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Default Re: Powerful enough?

Bob, I have a couple of Photogenic strobes and sb800, and live in Danville Oh (Knox County) about an hour away from Columbus. I would be happy to come and assist you if you want.
Don Frantisak


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