Elinchrom ONE Dual Kit for a Large Group Photo
Not too long ago, I bought the Elinchrom ONE dual kit and I finally had the use case where it they were the most appropriate tool for the job. A 7am Police Department Photo. I wasn't going to post about this assignment, but a photographer reached out to me:
"This photo popped up in my Instagram feed this morning. I’m assuming the photo is yours When you have time, can I trouble you for some basic behind the scenes info? I’m super curious about how you shot it as I try to learn and improve."
Two Elinchrom ONE lights, one on either side, as high as they can be. If they are too low, the head of the person in front would cast an obvious shadow on the person behind them. Shooting RAW you can do a lot to bring up shadows, but nothing compares to real light. Technically this is "artificial" light, but you know what I mean.
I am not that advanced with my photoshop (I know there are automated tools that can do this, it's just not part of my workflow). I just take a lot and always end up with enough all-eyes-open options. I also often count "one-two-three" and that typically helps a) eyes be open b) people who want to adjust hair etc, know they can move when I'm not at the end of the count.
I was at f/6.3 for these. Though I was also a whole staircase away (on a ladder) so the difference between the front row and the back row was not as significant from a ratio perspective. My rule of thumb for any large group photo (and full body individual photos) is to get as far away as possible so you can "flatten" the image and not have any wide-angle distortion where the front row looks like giants and the back row looks like ants.
ISO 3200. High, I know, but in today's world of ISO capabilities, that's not a problem. Shutter speed 1/250. Right in the flash range, I probably could have slowed it down to 1/200 but with a background in sports, I do NOT have steady hands, and there was enough ambient light coming through that I didn't want to have camera-shake-induced blurry photos.
I think in total, we took 36 group photos, all in the matter of minutes, some smiles, some no smiles. In total, total, much more since I took a lot of set up photos to dial in my position and lighting and also move people around to make sure everyone was in the "window" of the person ahead of them. I like to give them a few options so they can choose "the shot" as opposed to me just delivering one shot (this is also why I don't do much PhotoShopping)
On a related note, I am extra glad these were my lights for this, because
a) We had some extra time after taking the department photo before the all-hands meeting was scheduled to start so I was able to use them for some fun smaller group photos. The light provided just enough "pop" and was easy to maneuver.
b) Even though we had discussed me covering the all-hands event and they decided they didn't need coverage of it, when I arrived, they asked if I would cover it after all (Thankfully I was up front with my pricing and budget so we weren't negotiating or setting terms on site). This was indoor in a very dark auditorium. I had no on-camera flash and had brought no other modifier for the lights than the translucent dome that comes with the Elinchrom ONE. (I hadn't even brought another lens, so thankfully I had the 24-105mm f/4 which provided some focal range versatility)
Had I been using my ELB500, I would have only had the wide reflectors which would have felt too harsh for both the portraits and then event style photography.
Also, this has nothing to do with the Elinchrom ONE but just wanted to share a fun hot air balloon that appeared during the morning. Reminds me of stumbling upon the Albuquerque Balloon Festival years ago.
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