Taking group photos is one of the most difficult things to capture as a photographer. Common problems include things like:
- one or more subjects always seem to be looking away or in different directions (ie at different photographers)
- subjects blinking (there’s always one)
- someone being missing from the photo
- different moods in the group (some smiling, some serious, some playing up to the camera)
- the group being too far away or not all fitting into the shot
While there will always be challenges with capturing a Group Photo, there are a number of things you can do to help increase the chances of getting the shot:\
People don’t like to be kept waiting so thinking ahead of time about the following may make for a better picture and happier family/friends:
- Scope out the location before your scheduled shot
- Think about how you will pose people and frame everyone.
The place that you have your group stand is important for any portrait you take. But for group photos it is important to choose a big enough location that can fit the group. It is also important to choose somewhere with enough light, and where there are no distractions in the background.
Take Multiple Shots!
One of the best ways to avoid the problems of not everyone looking just right in a shot is to take multiple photos quickly.
Shoot some frames off before everyone is ready. Sometimes the organization of a group can be quite comical when people tell each other where to go and jostling for position.
Get in Close
Try to get as close as you can to the group you are photographing. The closer you can get the more detail you’ll have in their faces.
Pose the Group
In most cases your group will pose itself pretty naturally. But there are other things you can do to add to the photo’s composition:
- If a wedding or birthday, center the photo around the bride and groom or birthday boy or girl.
- For formal group photos put taller members in the group not only towards the back of the group but centered with shorted people on the edges of the group.
- Keep the distance between the front line of people and the back line as small as you can.
- Tell everyone to raise their chins a little.
I’ve been in a number of group photos where the photographer almost lost control of his subjects by not being quick enough but also by not communicating well with their group of subjects. Keep talking to the group.
For Large Groups
A way to fit a large group into a frame can be to elevate yourself as the photographer. If you are photographing a wedding and the couple wants one big group shot, you can arrange for a ladder to be present and take a shot looking down on the group.
Use an Assistant
An assistant can be very handy to get the group organized. You can also ask a family member to help you by making sure that everyone that needs to photographed is present in the group.
You should always smile. There’s nothing worse than a grumpy stressed out photographer. Have fun and enjoy the process of getting your shots and you will find that the group will too.
I hope this weeks blog was extremely helpful. And if you have any tips please leave a comment or email me!