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Editorial Bridal Party Portraits With The Profoto OCF Beauty Dish

June 20th 2016 12:54 PM

Group and family portraits can be difficult; they are tough to light, they take a long time to pose, and trying to get everyone to look great (no blinking!) is no easy feat. But in this video, Pye shows us three reasons why he loves group portraiture, along with seven tips on getting incredible editorial bridal-party portraits while using the Profoto OCF Beauty Dish.

Three Reasons To Love Group Portraiture

1. It’s a Chance to Create High Production Value Images

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

Group portraiture is a great opportunity to create gorgeous portraits of a large group of people in an incredible venue. Everyone is dressed up, happy and excited to be celebrating with family and friends. It’s like a fashion magazine shoot, and an opportunity for you to channel your inner Annie Leibovitz.

2. It’s a Chance to Show Off Your Skills In Front of the Client’s Closest Friends & Family

Group portraiture gives you a chance to impress not only your clients but their family and friends. They will be watching and listening as you line everyone up and pose them for portraits, then you can show them the back of your camera and amaze them with your incredible images,  skill set, and the way you work and interact. They will want to refer you to everybody!

[REWIND: 10 Ways To Amaze And Impress Throughout The Wedding Day]

3. Group Portraits Are The Most Shared Images on Social Media

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Of all the images that we capture, the group portraits are the most shared images of the entire wedding day. You have a large group of people in the shot of a special day and they think it’s a cool image and will want to share it with all the rest of their friends.

7 Tips On Creating Incredible Group Portraits

1. Decide On The Ambient Exposure In Camera

If you’re aiming for a more natural shot, your ambient exposure needs to be brighter. If you want a more dramatic portrait, make sure your ambient exposure is darker.

2. Choose A Lighting Direction That Complements The Existing Light In Your Scene

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To keep the existing shadows and create dimensions on your subject’s faces, place your light in such a fashion to complement the existing light in the scene. For example, in the video above, the existing light is coming in from a window and going from left to right. Ergo, we place the Profoto B1 on the left side then light toward the right side of the group where there is less light.

3. Ask An Assistant to Be A Stand In While You Set Up

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Before your group gets there, ask your assistant or one person to stand in the frame while you set up the light power. This saves a lot of time and you won’t have a big group of people just standing around while you’re trying to adjust your lighting.

4. Select The Modifier of Choice For Your Lights

profoto-ocf-beauty-dish-b1-b2-lighting-photography-slrlounge-kishore-sawh-5

For editorial bridal portraits, Pye loves using the Profoto OCF Beauty Dish in either the white or silver to modify light. They create beautiful light and are portable and easy to set up.

5. Create Overlapping and Connections Between Individuals While Posing

natural-light-group-posing

To create a sense of closeness in the image, when posing your group make sure that there’s overlap and connection. When you line up the individuals, be sure they are touching or connected in some way.

6. For Larger Groups, Try A Composite

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When you have a very large group, set your camera on a tripod and pose everyone in smaller groups. Then have your assistant light up each group individually so you can composite the image later.

7. Composite In Photoshop

Image by Lin and Jirsa Photography (www.linandjirsa.com)

When you are in Photoshop, take all the layers for your composite image, align the layers, and then mask each layer out to hide the light, while revealing each lit group in the entire scene. Don’t forget to remove any unwanted reflections in the background.

The new Profoto OCF Beauty Dishes are our favorite on-the-go light modifiers. You can pick them up on B&H Photo here.

To see more from the Ordinary to Extraordinary Series, check out the following articles and videos:

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Comments [8]

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  1. Paige Pendell

    Lots of good tips in this one! It inspired me to slow down and be more creative with my groups. Thank you!

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  2. Mikey Wilson

    Ok the last one was the coolest tip I’ve seen, I’ve never considered that group lighting before.

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  3. Don Bell

    Thanks for providing this information — it’s really helpful to me. The technique mentioned in Step 7 for compositing in Photoshop (and in the video starting around 3:15) is great. Can you point me to any references that show in detail how the compositing is done in Photoshop? (I’m rather new to Photoshop.)

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  4. Ashley Robinson

    What is the modifier in the indoor group shot under the chandelier, collapsible beauty dish? Covered or not covered with a diffuser? How is it different from an octobox considering distance from subjects?

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  5. Timothy Petrovic

    straight up. That one dude’s blinking. haha…

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  6. Stephen Velasquez

    Amazing stuff, shooting groups is a challenge. When I saw the group shot under the shed I didn’t know how you light it until reveal in the video like magic!

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  7. Paul Wynn

    A few months back, I changed from Elinchrom to the Profoto B2 location kit. So now I use the two head kit at all of my weddings, and on location work for my business clients. Currently the only Profoto light modifier I own is the OCF Beauty Dish White, and I have been surprised at how versatile this has been. I have now invested in the OCF Grid Kit for instances where I need a more concentrated beam of light.

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    • Ian Johns

      Do you think, for general uses, the white is a better purchase than the silver? I know the silver gives punchier light and the white is softer shadowing, which is what I prefer. Has this been your experience?

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