Group Photography: 12 ways to make your portraits shine

Group Photography: 12 ways to make your portraits shine

Is your group photography stuck in a rut? If you’re bored of the formal group pictures there are some subtle and creative ways to make your group photos more engaging. In this tutorial we’ll start by showing you the basics to set up and shoot the traditional group shot… and then how to take your group photography one step beyond.

Group Photography: 12 ways to make your portraits shine

Anyone who’s tried to shoot group photography will know they can be a lot harder to pull off than individual portraits. First you have to get everyone together at the same time and wearing the right expressions, and then you have to figure out how to compose your image so that it doesn’t just look like a boring and predictable line-up.

There is a place for these, of course. Special family occasions are one example, where the main reason for taking the picture is to capture a record of the event. Prize-givings, awards and company group shots are other examples.

However, there are times when you want a more casual approach that captures the personalities of your subjects and their spontaneous reactions, or you may be asked to come up with something more creative, such as an album cover for a band.

This is when you need to explore some less formal photo opportunities, and get more adventurous with your shooting angles, lens choice and camera settings.

There are other secrets to great group photography, such as making the most of your surroundings. Your choice of lens and viewpoint will obviously affect what’s in the background of your group photography, but you can go further, using doorways to frame your subjects, for example, or making seats, steps and railings part of the composition.

The most important thing of all is to work on the interaction between yourself and your subjects, and use the group dynamics, working with obvious pairings and groups within the larger collective.

Professional models know how to pose, but most of your subjects will feel quite awkward, so explain what you’re trying to do as you go along. Best of all, find some activity for them to engage in, no matter how silly, to break the ice and get some great expressions.

PAGE 1: What makes good group photography?
PAGE 2: Group photography tips: 01 Tripod and remote
PAGE 3: Group photography tips: 02 Best camera settings
PAGE 4: Group photography tips: 03 The classic line-up
PAGE 5: Group photography tips: 04 Handheld settings
PAGE 6: Group photography tips: 05 Change your viewpoint
PAGE 7: Group photography tips: 06 Wide-angle perspectives
PAGE 8: Group photography tips: 07 Go with flash
PAGE 9: Group photography tips: 08 Act the fool!
PAGE 10: Group photography tips: Natural frames
PAGE 11: Group photography tips: Lively line-ups
PAGE 12: Group photography tips: Make a moody sky
PAGE 13: Group photography tips: Add some attitude


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