Photographing groups of people — families — is challenging. Invariably one person will blink or move. Kids can’t help but move. The trick is to be patient and catch them at the right moment. But often I’ll end up with the kids just right but the adults are out-of-place, usually trying to get the kids to smile.

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I took these photos during Father’s Day. Bhavna’s aunt organized a fete to honor the fathers. I thought it might be interesting to take some photos with the fathers and their kids and grandkids.

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I used a Paul C. Buff AlienBees™ B800 Flash Unit inside an Extreme Silver PLM™ Umbrella covered with PLM™ White Front Diffusion Fabric. I positioned the light on a 10-foot General Purpose Light Stands about foot away and directly in front of the subjects but for some of the shots I placed the light off to one side.

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I used a Sekonic L-358 FlashMaster light meter to set the camera shutter speed based on the aperture I chose for these portraits. This is my first light meter and I’m still getting the hang of things. The light meter certainly makes adjusting the camera settings and flash unit power much easier. I set my my camera in manual mode, set the light-meter to the D5100s fastest flash sync speed, take a reading from near my subjects and voilà!, I know what aperture setting to use on my camera for the shot.

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I don’t have a large collection of lenses. For this shoot, I started off with my AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G ( the images are in reverse chronological order ) with an aperture of f/8 but later changed to my 18-55mm at f/5.6 for the larger group shots. I sold the 50mm f/1.8 earlier this month. I didn’t use it much and I think a lens with a longer focal lens will be more flattering for portraiture.

The D5100 has an APS-C sensor so the 50mm with the crop factor produces the same view as a 75mm on a 35mm full frame sensor. I think 75mm is just to short for portraiture. I prefer prime lenses so I plan to buy a AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G soon. With the APS-C sensor the 85mm will offer the same view as a 127mm on a 35mm full frame sensor.

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I started shooting in the late afternoon just before sunset. I had to adjust the power of the AB800s and adjust my camera settings accordingly. This light-meter made this process quick and painless but I have a better understanding of the hard work a professional wedding photographer must have to do.

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