Photography Studio and Lighting Forum

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  1. #1
    Mamiya Man
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    80

    Portrait Question

    I have my mind set on getting an alien bees b800 and b1600. If I get the kit w/one shoot through umbrella and one with the reflective umbrella would this be powerful enough to take a couple of group shots for family photos for a relatives wedding? Any accessories I might need, also to do a group shot like that would I just take the umbrellas off and set them 45deg to the group and shoot? none of my books have any examples of group photos


    any help is appreciated,
    Magoo

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    nowhere
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    1,908
    Hi Magoo,

    Isn't it hard making decisions. I have been thinking about getting two B800's shiped to me here in Australia if a friend can't bring them back with him on a trip in June. I checked the postage and as extra baggage it will be cheaper if he can by a lot of $$$'s.

    With your idea, I think the umbrellas would be good but you might be better getting a large Octagonal softbox for the B1600 and using the shoot through umbrella on the B800 for fill lighting. I know someone will chime in and clarify that for us. Setting them at 45deg angles might get the shadows all wrong. Certainly your idea for a group of maybe 4-6 people but if you going over that in size, need more even spread of light and softer light as well, hence suggesting a octagonal softbox.

    Hope that starts the discussion rolling along a little for us.

  3. #3
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Middle Florida
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    3,667

    A few basics...

    Magoo,

    Quite a few here have endorsed the AB lights, so they're probably not a bad choice at all...

    To answer a few of your questions:

    I don't know what kit you're referring to, but you shouldn't have to choose between a "bounce" umbrella and a "shoot-through" one. IOW, any decent shoot-through umbrella has removeable black covers so you can also bounce into it. I'd make sure all of my umbrellas were this type, and then you have the option to shoot either bounce or through with BOTH lights.

    As for group shots, the light combo you mention will certainly be powerful enough, even bounced into the umbrellas (which, BTW will give you much better light than a direct flash). In fact just the 1600 bounced into a Jumbo umbrella alone should light large groups nicely.

    Normally, for good portraits, you want to stay away from symmetrical lighting (boring), so the 45 setup you mention would not be the best approach. A typical portrait setup would have a key (main) light maybe at 45, but up above eye level. The fill would be in closer to the camera position but lower...

    Peter's right when he mentions a softbox would be a nice accessory to use with your flashes, but he's not right about the area of coverage. Size being equal, an umbrella will always give you a larger area of coverage as the light goes out at a wider angle. In fact, one of the main reasons to use a softbox is so there is no side spill, but simply a strong soft light aimed directly ahead.

    Because of its coverage, a large umbrella is almost always better for large groups of people.

    Any other questions, ask away...

    Quote Originally Posted by magoo
    I have my mind set on getting an alien bees b800 and b1600. If I get the kit w/one shoot through umbrella and one with the reflective umbrella would this be powerful enough to take a couple of group shots for family photos for a relatives wedding? Any accessories I might need, also to do a group shot like that would I just take the umbrellas off and set them 45deg to the group and shoot? none of my books have any examples of group photos


    any help is appreciated,
    Magoo
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
    www.stevenpaulhlavac.com
    www.photoasylum.com

  4. #4
    Mamiya Man
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    80
    Thanks for the advice. I have to put off the purchase because I just found out the place won't have any room to set up lights so I'm getting a metz flash in the mean time for my rb67 so I can take some pictures with it. I will probably get the monolights in a few months when I get the darkroom finished but I appreciate the advise and will certainly will be taking it when I do buy those lights

    Magoo

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