Previously, I compared the results of a group shot made with aÂ wide angle and a telephoto lens.
Since I recently did this as demonstration, I thought you might like to see how it went.
I placed my camera on the tripod just so I keep about the same framing, filling the frame each time, for the pictures I took.
The reason: if you change Â too many variables between pictures, you won’t be able to account for difference you see in the pictures.
We started inside the classroom with:
- Canon 40D
- AWB-Auto White Balance
- 50 mm
- available light
As with most of my demos, Â I take the picture, improve the image if possible one step-at-a-time.
First thing I noticed is the color.
When the color doesn’t look right, it’s time to check your White Balance.
The first picture was taken on AWB (auto white balance).
On the bottom picture, all I did was change the White Balance to Florescent.
The class is lit by florescent lights.
My students who are great sports do their impression of the Rockettes.
If this is your first time hearing this term White Balance, it’s time for you toÂ dig out your owner’s manual folks.
Some cameras have 2 florescent light settings. By all means, try both to see which works best.
Whenever you have room, as in you’re not constrained by space, you have more flexibility.
In our group shot situation, simply by moving my group of 5 outdoors, I removed the clutter that was on the wall, even if I leave the aperture the same after accounting for equivalent exposure.
Note: moving outdoors means you need to change the White Balance from Florescent back to AWB or Daylight.
On my cart is my MacBook Pro which is tethered to my camera. Having an assistant is such a luxury. Jesse stands with my collapsible reflector ready to fill the shadows on the faces of the group.
Once outdoors, I stayed with my 50 mm. The exposure was 1/350 f 2.8 ISO 100
Only problem with the lighting was the contrast in my scene at this time of the day, around 6 pm.
That’s where my assistant Jesse steps in.
The group without any fill with a 50 mm lens
The group using a 50 mm lens with Jesse’s fine handling of my collapsible reflector to fill their faces.
Still keeping my people about the same size, I’m filling the frame as best as I can.
This time I’ve set my 80-200 zoom at its maximum 200 mm.
With the 1.6x magnification factor, the lens is actually a 320 mm lens if I were shooting film or with a full sensor digital SLR.
Note that the exposure is still at 1/350 sec at f2.8.
Using a wide angle 17 mm lens
Notice how I can see the roofs of the modular classrooms now? And the trash can on the right.
The moment you put a wide angle lens on, everything in the scene seems to recede.
Objects get smaller.
If you don’t move closer, your picture loses impact.
I remained standing but moved closer, filled the frame as much as possible while keeping my exposure ISO 100 1/350 sec @ f2.8.
Shooting upwards will give you the sky as a cleaner background.
The only problem is, everyone’s feet appears bigger being that they’re closer to the camera.
Hey, I’m not interested in their feet, I want to see their faces!
ISO 100 1/350 sec @f2.8. 17mm lens shooting upwards from about 2 feet from ground.
Finally standing on a chair and shooting downwards on the group, gives me a cleaner more natural look.
You just have to watch for the tree in the background.
Some people have a â€œthing against having a tree growing out of someone’s head.â€
It allows me to fill the frame with my subject.
There are no hard and fast rules.
I just think the bigger your subject is in the viewfinder, the better it looks.
ISO 100 1/350 sec @ f2.8. What a difference a few inches can make. Standing on a chair and shooting down.
ISO 100 1/350 sec @ f2.8. Here’s the picture again for ease of comparison, taken from normal, eye level.
Please note all pictures taken by me are full frame uncropped to give you an idea of what I actually saw in my viewfinder. Those pictures so generously shared by Carrie were cropped appropriately to illustrate this post.
Ask these questions the next time you have to choose a lens.
- Is it bright enough for me to use a long lens without camera shake problems?
- What does the background look like?
- If it’s cluttered, can I move my subjects elsewhere?
- If I can’t move my subjects and I have lights or flash units, can I turn the room lights off?