Group photos always seem to be an important part of any gathering, celebration or event and often the first pictures everyone wants to see when you open your photography album. You’ve seen many group photos, been in them and shot them, and haven’t always been happy with the results. There’s nothing particularly complicated about shooting better group photos. You can begin with the positive thought that your group photos will improve, as you shoot more of them, and put into practice some of the ideas in this article.
Look at some examples of group photos you’ve shot, or those of some of your friends. You’ll start to take better group photos by first recognizing the common mistakes.
• One or more persons are missing who should be in the photo.
• Everyone isn’t looking at the camera; some are blinking, not everyone is smiling, some are adjusting clothes or hair, etc.
• Poor lighting.
• The camera is too far from the group.
• A disorganized pose.
How to correct those group photo mistakes is relatively easy and simple. You should read this article a few times to help remember all the tips below, and then you must practice. That is the real secret to improving all your photography skills. To improve your group photo skills, think of any group photo opportunity as a three-stage process.
First Stage: Preparing for Group Photos
Better group photos begin with you. If you know you are going to an event where you will want to shoot group photos, then you must be prepared. It’s a good idea to take a tripod and flash. You may not need them, but, then again, the location and lighting conditions at the event may require them if you expect to shoot group photos everyone will want to see. People tend to be more attentive and serious about taking a good group photo if you use a tripod. It makes you look professional. A flash unit may be necessary if your group photos will be taken indoors. Even outdoors, a flash can create more balanced light with the sun and eliminate the dark spaces and shadows.
Second Stage: Managing Group Photos
Whether you take casual group photos at a party or have been asked to shoot specific group photos at an event, you want to start the managing stage as soon as you arrive. Look for the best locations, with the appropriate backgrounds, to shoot group photos. Make sure there’ll be enough room for the group photos you plan to take. You don’t want to pose a group in front of a mirror or windows or with the sun behind the group, if you’re outside. It’s also important to pick the right time for group photos. At most gatherings and events, most people will look their best as soon as they arrive, although the winning softball team may want a group photo of everyone in their dirty uniforms.
Third Stage: Taking Group Photos
You’ll quickly discover as you practice these group photo tips that a smile will make the group more attentive than a commanding voice. Once you have everyone’s attention, you’ll want to pose the group. Of course, you want to place the taller people in a back row or the center of a single row. If you’re celebrating someone’s birthday, engagement or retirement, then put that person in the center of the group. If the photo is of a large group, especially with children, then ask the smallest adults, or children, to sit to create a front row. However you pose the group, you want to be as close as possible: everyone wants to be recognized! Lastly, take as many photos of the group as you can in a short period of time. You’re more likely to capture the perfect pose, or more than one.