Yes, more practice. I was able to put to work my new flash. I now have two Canon Speeligts, 600ex-rt and the ST-E3 RT Speedlite Transmitter. Yes it was an investment, but oh my, what a relief to not be worrying about the flashes not communicating or having to manually drop the flash to fix a setting, or triggers that don't want to work or dangle from the light stand. I can hide my speelight behind things and it still works. It's awesome.
So here was my winter land set up. I don't know how you other photographers keep people lined up inside the backdrop paper, but when I do groups, I always end up getting stuff outside the paper's borders in the background. So I utilized the church's chair racks to hang a few extra sheets so make my backdrop a bit wider.
I used fake snow on the floor near the backdrop to make it seem like snow drifts and plastic table cloths to cover the floor where the backdrop didn't. I know, it's huge, but now I'm not spending all my time editing out the backdround. Reduce the clarity over the fake floor snow, and it looks great. (Or as great as an indoor wonderland on a budget can look.) Or just leave it and it still looks okay.
I searched the internet and found many photos on Pintrest that used the lights just draped over the backdrop and I liked that look. I took a small part of my backdrop that I had cut off previously, painted it sky blue and clipped it to the white backdrop.
One of our church friends had this huge Frosty so I borrowed it, and bought a cheap tree to give it the outdoor look. Some large colorful balls from the Dollar Store, some greenery that was on sale with ribbon, and a little time getting it strung up, and wala.
Here is what it looked like.
My other flash was in a soft box.
I also bought some 1/4 inch Styrofoam board and made a "Joy" sign and a "Noel" sign. It was another idea I found on Pintrest and well, it is a great idea.
I had my assistant and young protege help me and between the two of us, and my husband's help, we took photos of 9 families on Saturday and about 5 more on Sunday after church. There were roughly 300 items of food donated.
By the end of the day, after several snow ball fights, dogs and cats, the "snow" was getting kind of ragged, and it's something to consider for next year, but all in all, it held up rather well.
Now to think about next year...what will I do? Here are some shots from this shoot.