The formal and informal group photo is always very popular at any social event including birthday parties, weddings or even on a night out with friends. However, the same mistakes seem to crop up, and often someone is looking away or blinking, only some people are smiling or everyone won’t fit in the frame. Wedding and portrait photographer Kelly Weech reveals her best posing tips for group photos so you can start to improve your techniques and to get a shot that everyone will love.
Preparation is the key to success. Before you pull a group together, ensure you know where you are going to take the group photos, how you would like to position everyone, what setting your camera will need to be on, if you have good light etc.
Large groups of people do not like to be kept waiting and you have a small window to get the shot you want without people getting bored and frustrated.
On this page we’ll discuss some of the general – but always necessary – photography tips to consider before and during your shoot. And then on the following pages we’ll look at some specific situations when taking group photos and how to deal with them.
Photography tips for before and during your shoot
- Ensure the location you pick for a group shot does not have any distractions such as lamp posts, tree branches etc which is going to end up behind someone’s head.
- Take multiple shots to avoid blinkers or to give you the option to do some post production work to create the perfect shot.
- Get someone to help you organise big group shots, preferable someone with a loud, stern voice.
- Do not be afraid to get in close on a smaller number of people and include as much detail as possible.
- Remember taller people should go to the back and short people to the front or sides in large group shots.
- On special occasions ensure the one or two people most important people i.e. bride and groom are in the centre of the shot.
- It can easy to get flustered when working with larger groups of people, keep calm and carry on.
- Do not forget that light is the key to every great image. On a bright sunny day do not have a group looking directly into the sun unless you want squinting faces. Look for open shade by a tree or just under cover.
- Take control of the situation. People want you to direct them and set up a photograph they will love. There is no time to be shy, just be polite and straight to the point and keep talking to the group.
- If you want to look more professional and people to respect you, use a tripod.
- Smile. No one wants to work with a stressed out photographer so practise what you preach and be happy even if you do get frustrated.
- Always get the more formal images at the beginning of a shoot when everyone looks their best but don’t underestimate how fun the more relaxed and maybe alcohol influenced photographs can be later on in the evening.
PAGE 1: Tips for before and during your shoot
PAGE 2: Shoot from a high vantage point
PAGE 3: Alter your camera angle
PAGE 4: Group reportage
PAGE 5: Set subjects a task
PAGE 6: Go closer for details
PAGE 7: Act out a story
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