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Photography Question 
Donna  P. Bollenbach

Fundraising Portrait Event

As a fundraising event, the Wildlife Rescue Center where I volunteer is going to setup a Halloween backdrop (possibly including a live owl and fog) and I will be taking portraits of children, families and pets against this backdrop. Portrait photography is not my specialty, but I have taken portraits in natural light and fill flash with success. While I have taught myself a little about posing and directional lighting, I have no special lighting equipment. I have a D70 camera 18-35mm and 80-200 Nikon zoom lenses. My SB600 flash is broken, and I know I need a flash, so I was thinking about buying an SB400 flash. The set-up will be in a tent outside. The center said they can supply some floodlights if I need them. (Some of the photography will be done after dark). I thought I might like to have a little backlighting for the fog. I will be able to make a little money from additional photo sales, but it will probably be minimal, so I don't want to purchase any expensive equipment. Basically they are selling vouchers for one pose and one 4x6 instant print. People will have the option to purchase additional poses and files or prints. Here is how it should work: I will be taking the images and have volunteers to load them into the computer, I will probably have to review them, do some minor editing and the volunteer will send the images to a dedicated 4x6 printer and burn them to a CD. If somebody would like to order prints I will have them fill out a form and I will arrange to have the prints processed and mailed. This is really just a fun event to make money for the center, but I want to handle it professionally. So, what advice do you have for me in terms of how to pull this off as simply but effectively as possible? Thanks you, Donna

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9/25/2007 9:01:34 AM

Hi Donna,

floodlights are not nearly enough for your subject lighting: you'll need looong shutter times (subjects move!) to get enough light to enter your cam's lens, the heat will be uncomfortable for all, including you, and it's a considerable fire-hazard!

You need flash light to light your subjects. And a LOOOT of it! An off-camera SB600, on it's own tripod/stand, with a reflector will be the absolute minimum you need. Better is 2 off-camera SB600's, on their own tripods/stands, and a reflector, triggered remotely (wireless).

If you use only flash light you can hand hold the cam.
If you use the flood lights for background lighting you'll need longer shutter times, so then you need to have your cam on a tripod too.

Maybe you can rent a couple flash lights?
And you can make a relector yourself: just spray-glue crumpled-then-stretched aluminium foil on some big board.

Good luck and have fun!

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9/25/2007 10:13:09 AM

Donna  P. Bollenbach   Actually, I have some light stands from a lighting kit I owned years ago. And I forgot to mention my tripod which I definately plan on using. But obviously slow shutter speeds will not work for children and pets. I will construct a large reflector as you suggested. I think the idea of renting some flashes is a good one too. I'll look into it.

Thank you,

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9/25/2007 10:29:29 AM

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