This past Friday, I was asked to shoot portraits at my son’s school for their annual Grandparents Day event. I had less than two hours to shoot group portraits, and 87 families that wanted to get their picture taken! Needless to say, that is not a lot of time to pose, set lights, and make sure people were happy with the results.

Grandparents Day

Luckily, I had a spectacular assistant to take care of payments, paperwork, and keeping the line moving (my wonderful wife, Amy). I can’t imagine doing something like that alone! I did have one frightening moment with one family when my photos were coming out completely unlit. It’s easy to panic when you have a long line of people waiting for you to get to them, and a family in front of you holding a pose and you can’t get the photo. I changed the batteries on my main flash, but that didn’t help. I contemplated switching my lights, or bringing out my other camera, but I decided to first go through my settings checklist that I had made on my laptop prior to the shoot. Sure enough, I had accidentally bumped my shutter speed just past my camera’s sync speed. Yikes! It really only took about 90 seconds for the whole ordeal to get resolved, but it felt like an eternity in my mind.

The lighting setup was pretty simple. I used two Nikon SB-600’s and a reflector. The main light was in the Softlighter II on the right and it was set to 1/2 power. The fill light was in a Westcott Apollo on top of a boom stand and was set to 1/8th power. I had a circular reflector clamped onto my tripod in front and a little to the left to fill in some light. I was shooting at 200th of a second at F/7.1 and ISO 200. I shot everything in manual, except for my white balance. Lesson learned, as I had to correct the white balance on all of the photos afterward. Never trust auto!


If you’re one of the families that are visiting to find your photo, please visit this gallery. I had a blast spending the morning with these families and look forward to shooting more events at the school!

Similar Posts:

Share and Connect:



No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment