How To Get GREAT Group Photos!

I am here, today, to share a fun post that I did for Ella Publishing a few weeks ago. In case you missed it over there, I'm sharing it here, today! 

I have been a professional photographer for the past 6 years and the number one question I get asked from other professional and hobbyist photographers is...HOW do you pose groups? GREAT question. I struggled with the same thing for a long time, but I have since come up with my four favourite tips that really make for interesting group photos. These tips will work with any group size from 3 to 30!

1. Pay Attention to Hands!
Hands play an important part in the language of the portrait. Especially when photographing families, we want to portray a feeling of closeness and togetherness. That means we want to see the subjects interacting with each other and looking as natural as possible. Try not to have arms or hands hanging straight down. It looks about as fun and exciting as it sounds. BLAH! Instead, encourage those you are photographing to put their hands into their pockets, around shoulders of those next to them, or have them hold hands.
2. Stagger the head levels. This is so important in creating an “interesting” group pose. We want to avoid lining everyone up like they are being arrested. This is supposed to be fun! Pose short people next to tall people, have tall people sit, crouch, or kneel, or have moms hold little ones in their arms. Try to be considerate of the elderly who may not be able to crouch or kneel, though.
A great way to get a bunch of different levels in your group poses is to use uneven footing. For example, if you can find some stairs – it’s a guaranteed way to get lots of levels. Or you can use benches, stools, chairs, the floor – whatever is at your disposal! Be confident in asking your subjects to sit here or try kneeling there. It’s not written in stone, people can move! You’ll find you’ll love the results of using lots of levels in your group shots.

3. Make sure you can see each face. This takes just a second looking through the viewfinder in your camera. Take a quick glance at each face to be sure they can be seen easily with nothing concealing any part of anyone (including shadows from other faces!).
Creative posing can help with this, too, as well as moving yourself around. Find the best possible spot where you can see each and every beautiful face.
4. Get CLOSE Together. Going along with the idea mentioned in number one, we want to convey a feeling of closeness...so, the obvious solution is to physically GET CLOSE to one another! Look for gaps and try to fill them by having your subject shift slightly, move an arm, or tilt their head. It will change the whole feeling of the photo!
5. Have some fun! I know it sounds clichĂ©, but really having FUN makes for the best and more memorable group photos. Remember, that they don’t have to be looking at the camera to get a great shot! Let them interact with each other naturally. Tickle fights are usually a great start, unless it’s great-grandma - though, maybe even then ;) Have a few knock-knock jokes up your sleeves to get them laughing. Have the parents tell a joke to the kids, or have them sing their favourite song. Having them sing their “A,B,C’s” gives you a lot of great expressions. I have even resorted to telling them that I need to change a few settings so they can just relax for a bit – then I secretly start shooting. I find these group shots are the ones that families love best.
I hope these tips give you a little more confidence when photographing groups – whether they are groups of 2or 3, or groups of 20 or 30!

  I hope these tips give you a little more confidence when photographing groups – whether they are groups of 2or 3, or groups of 20 or 30!



Heather Bzdega said...

Hey is that last pic at The Wedding Pavillion in Calgary ? We were going to get married there!

A Stone Gatherer said...

Awesome tips!!! Thanks from a novice photographer!!!