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Very large indoor group photo

edited April 2015 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
Hi Moose, I am new to your site, and I have already learned so much, so thanks. I have been asked by my daughters CCD director to do a group photo at our church and I said yes thinking it would be about 15-20 people. That number is now at about 50-60 persons! Help! I only have a Nikon D5100 with the af-s 18-55mm lens, a tripod and an SB600 speed light. The group photo is indoors. I did a test shot in the empty church, and the lighting and flash combo worked well. I am more concerned with the focus of such a large group. I am willing to buy a better lens for group photos and possibly a flash. What would you recommend?


  • edited April 2015
    In this case I don't think a better lens will help much, since what you want for depth of field is a relatively small aperture, which your kit lens delivers, and the focal length should be about right too. If you can, do another test shot with your aperture set somewhere around f/8 or f/11. That lens's "sweet spot" is around f/8, so the closer you can get to it the better. You'll get greater depth of field at smaller apertures but lose a little sharpness to diffraction beyond f/11 or so. People are less critical than some other subjects though, so it's better to be in focus and eat the diffraction.

    Depth of field varies with both distance and focal length. However, between the two, what you gain with focal length is a little more than what you gain with distance. So if placement is optional, you're better off going a little wider than a little further. Keep it near to normal perspective, though (35 mm is normal). It will begin to look a bit odd wider than about 25mm.

    If you can, try to focus slightly closer than the midpoint of the group. Your depth of field will always be a bit deeper on the far side of the focus point, so for example, if you have four rows of people, try to focus on the second-row faces rather than the space between the second and third.
  • edited April 2015
    Thank you very much. I did s test at f/11 and f/16 only with the f/11 rendering the best lighting and the focus was okay on auto focus for the one person I had in the test shot. I will try to test at an f/8 at 25mm and maybe use the single point auto focus on a slightly closer midpoint?
  • edited April 2015
    Yes, I'd recommend single point auto focus, or even manual focus if need be. Multi-point auto focus uses a computerized program to figure out focus point which may work well, but does not always. It tends to look for the closest face in a group. That might work all right here, but more control is probably preferable. If you get a good result at f/11 you're probably well set.
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