Family Portrait Ideas for Group Photos
There are two ways to get group photos – a candid approach, where you simply try to get what shots you can of people acting naturally; or a more formal approach where you get people to stand or sit and pose deliberately for the camera.
Formal group shots can take a good deal of work, not to mention photographic know-how.
One of the biggest problems is finding a location to assemble the group so that you can get them all in a single frame, where the background isn’t too obtrusive and the light is adequate.
It’s still a good idea to use a tripod for formal shots if you can. In most photography, tripods are an unwelcome encumbrance.
For group shots, though, they can be a positive advantage, indicating to the participants that this is a serious business and that they need to pay attention!
Many photographers use flash in these situations. It’s a case of balancing convenience and reliability against results. We take a look at flash and how to avoid its typically harsh results elsewhere.
Candid shots (and some formal shots) will usually be taken with the light available.
You can use flash but the results are garish, and although flash will get you a shot of sorts, you get that rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights paparazzi look, which is unlikely to provide the ideal record of the event.
Available light is the easiest type to work with because you can see how the light is falling. Window light isn’t always very bright, but it does offer very nice modelling, which means it shows off the subtle, tonal, three-dimensional surfaces of human faces well, and without harshness.
Besides, if you’re using a digital SLR you can increase the ISO to 1600 and shoot in conditions that would have been inconceivable in the days of film (ISO 1600 films were available but they were hard to find in the shops, expensive and exceptionally grainy).
Restaurant, pub and club lighting can be very dim, but it’s worth attempting available-light photography because it often has a very pleasing character. Candlelight is the most difficult of all, but can produce beautiful and atmospheric results.
With candid group shots, it’s a good idea to tell the group this is what you’re going to be doing and then wander round discreetly grabbing shots where you can and gradually blending into the background as people lose interest in what you’re doing.
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