Some Posing Challenges:
* one or more subjects always seem to be looking away or in different directions
* subjects blinking
* someone being missing from the photo
* different moods in the group (some smiling, some serious, some playing up to the camera etc)
* the group being too far away or not all fitting into the shot
Some Tip You Can Try:
* scope out the location of your shot before hand
* think ahead about how you will pose people and frame your shot
* one of the group’s head hiding behind another person
* make your your camera is on and has charged batteries
Give the photo context – A football team photo will be more pleasing on a football field rather than in someones front yard.
Choose a position where your group will fit, where there is enough light for the shot and where there is no distractions in the background. Also avoid setting up a group shot directly in front of a window where the light from your flash might reflect back in a way that destroys your shot.
3. 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. Try shooting some frames off before everyone is ready
Also mix up the framing of your shots a little if you have a zoom lens by taking some shots that are at a wide focal length and some that are more tightly framed.
4. Get in Close
Try to get as close as you can to the group you’re photographing The closer you can get the more detail you’ll have in their faces – something that really improves a shot.
If your group is a smaller one get right in close to them and take some head and shoulder shots. One effective technique for this is to get your small group to all lean their heads in close to enable you to get in even closer. Another way to get in closer is to move people out of a one line formation and stagger them but putting some people in front and behind.
5. Pose the group
In most cases your group will pose itself pretty naturally. Tall people will go to the back, short people to the front. But there are other things you can do to add to the photo’s composition:
* If the event is centered around one or two people (like a wedding or a birthday) make them the central focal point by putting them right in the middle of the group (you can add variation to your shots by taking some of everyone looking at the camera and then everyone looking at the person/couple).
* For formal group photos put taller members in the group not only towards the back of the group but centered with shorter people on the edges of the group.
* Try not to make the group too ‘deep’ (ie keep the distance between the front line of people and the back line as small as you can). This will help to keep everyone in focus. If the group is ‘deep’ use a narrower aperture.
* Tell everyone to raise their chins a little – This will help to minimize double chins.
6. Timing Your Shoot
Pick the moment for your shot carefully. Try to choose a time that works with what is happening at the gathering.
Also towards the start of events can be a good time as everyone is all together,
7. Think about Light
In order to get enough detail in your subjects you need to have sufficient light. The way you get this varies from situation to situation but consider using a flash if the group is small enough and you are close enough for it to take effect – especially if the main source of light is coming from behind the group.
If it’s a bright sunny day and the sun is low in the sky try not to position it directly behind you or you’ll end up with a collection of squinting faces in your shot.
8. Take Control
Communicate with the group of subjects. It is important to keep talking to the group, let them know what you want them to do, motivate them to smile, tell them that they look great and communicate how much longer you’ll need them.
Also important is to give your subjects a reason to pose for the photograph. For example at a sporting event “lets take a group photo to celebrate our win”. When you give people a reason to pose for you you’ll find they are much more willing to take a few minutes to pose for you.
Another very useful line to use with group is – ‘If you can see the camera it can see you’. This one is key if you want to be able to see each person’s face in the shot.
If there are more photographers than just you then wait until others have finished their shots and then get the attention of the full group otherwise you’ll have everyone looking in different directions.
9. For large groups
Large groups of people can be very difficult to photograph.
One solution to this is to find a way to elevate yourself as the photographer. Try bringing a ladder or standing on something to take a shot looking down on the group. In doing this you can fit a lot more people in and still remain quite close to the group (you end up with a shot of lots of faces in focus and less bodies). It also gives an interesting perspective to your shots – especially if you have a nice wide focal length.
10. Use a Tripod
It gives you as the photographer more freedom to be involved in the creation of the posing of your subjects. Set your camera up on your tripod so that’s ready to take the shot in terms of framing, settings and focus and then it will be ready at an instant when you get the group looking just right to capture the moment.
11. Use an Assistant
If you have a very large group and assistant can be very handy to get the group organized well.
An assistant is also incredibly handy if you are taking multiple group shots (like at a wedding when you’re photographing different configurations of a family). In these cases I often ask the couple to provide me with a family or friend member who has a running sheet of the different groups of people to be photographed. I then get this person to ensure we have everyone we need in each shot. Having a family member do this helps to make sure you don’t miss anyone out but also is good because the group is familiar with them and will generally respond well when they order them around.