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How to Light a Couple or Small Group

Lighting a couple or a small group is surprisingly easy, and you can do it with just one light and a large softbox, as long as you follow one simple rule: pull the light back fairly far from your subjects. If the light is too close, the person closest to the light will be brighter than the person standing next to them, and so on. Your goal is to have consistent, balanced light throughout the group, and the trick to that is to move your light way back. That way, the light pretty much hits the group at the same intensity, and the light looks balanced (just remember that moving the light farther away from your subjects makes the light darker, so crank up the power on your strobe to make up for that). Another helpful tip is to position the light fairly near the camera position (not way off to the side) or you’ll have shadows casting across people in the group. You will want the light off to the side a bit, just not way off to the side. You can even position the softbox directly behind you as you shoot (if your head sticks up a little in front of it, don’t sweat it), and that will do the trick, too. (Note: If you’re thinking, “Hey, won’t moving the softbox back farther make the subjects smaller in relation to the size of the softbox, so the light won’t be as soft?” you’re right, which is why you want to use a very large softbox for shooting groups. That way, when you move it far away, it’s still big, so the light is still soft.)

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