>I do a lot of small group shots in adverse conditions and >find the Lightsphere quite effective in energizing the room >along a plane parallel to the floor at the height of the >flash. If the room is small and you aee close to the group, >you might want to reduce forward facing light a little to >reduce a hotspot in the center. I do that by placing my hand >up near it, with a couple fingers blocking light directly to >the front. It also warms the light a little. >Do not go too wide, those on the sides will look significantly >heavier, women tend to not like looking heavier when they are >not. I would not go wider than 35mm which could get two rows >in your distance preference. > >If luck is with you, using a single on camera flash pointed up >and to the rear towards the junction of the rear wall and >ceiling. That can create a very large apparent source for a >flattering wrap-around lighting with minimal hotspots. But >that requires luck that the location is light color and can be >used with a custom white balance. As JRP said, don't leave to >luck. If conditions are really good for it, use the rear >ceiling, if not, use diffusers like the G. Fong Lightsphere, >or multiple strobes with large umbrellas or softboxes. >And do not bounce flash towards the front, you are too close >so the reflected light will create dark eye sockets and harsh >shadows. The reflected light needs to come in at low enough of >an angle to fill the eyes. >Will this be a full length shots or primarily just upper >torso? If full length, get your camera down a bit so it is >below their eye level or else distortion of their lower bodies >will not be appreciated, again, mostly by the women. A good >rule of thumb that applies to many things but particularly >photography: make the women happy and everyone is happy. >Stan
I second Stan's approach. But, it's not just eye sockets and women you need to be wary of. Bouncing the light upward also accentuates the degree of thinning hair on the top of a man's head. Don't do that unless there's no other option.