Saturday, May 5, 2012

Habitat for Humanity Group Photo

Last week I made a deceptively simple group photo for an Atlanta insurance company who had participated in Habitat for Humanity. I think 80% of the company helped build a house. Impressive. The day before the portrait, my boss took an iphone snapshot of the location. I could tell it was going to be relatively dak because we were shooting on the shadow side of the building.

I know it sounds ludicrous to say that shooting outside at 11 am will be dark, but everything is relative. Because I was shooting rows at least 5 people deep, I needed to have the subjects in the front row and back row equally in sharp focus.

Celebrating their accomplishment
This meant that I would need to use a small aperture for maximum depth of field. Small apertures need long exposures to gather light which would not work with a group of blinking people. The other option was to add light to the scene.

I set up a single flash 10 feet to the right of the camera's position and aimed it towards the crowd. The resulting image has the appearance of sunlight... if one is not a forensic specialist who can trace the origin of the light source. Without the flash, the photo would have lacked contrast, sharpness and definition. I used a slow enough shutter speed to let the flash and ambient light mix.