The more people are in a photo the more complex the image. This means that a group photo shoot is a challenge mainly if you photograph large groups.
You have to make each individual look good. But you also have to create a sense and capture the group dynamic. Plus you have to pay attention to sharp focus and good light.
It’s no wonder many photographers take group portrait. Here’s how to take great group photos by understanding composition, posing, and light.
Composition Tips for Group Photos
A great group photo starts with composing the image. With large family pictures it’s a good idea to head into the shot with the composition already in mind. This way you won’t have to build the frame on the spot.
Arranging a large group takes a significant amount of time. If you have a composition in mind you can work more efficiently. And you’ll have happier less subjects.
Group photo composition starts with the location. Of course the place needs to be large enough to accommodate everyone.
Consider elements in the environment that will allow the group to be on different levels. By having multiple rows you can create a more exciting composition.
Things like stairs benches large boulders and other items can help everyone in. Props have the possibility of giving you the best help when it comes to group photo shoots.
You should also consider the background in group photography. With so many cheerful faces the group shots are already going to be busy enough.
Avoid busy backgrounds or the viewer’s eye won’t know where to look.
Most group photos use narrower apertures to get a proper focus. So set up the group shots far enough away from any objects in the background to still get some soft blur.
A location can have a perfect backdrop and details. But it can still be a bad location without good light. Make sure the group won’t be facing into the sun. Otherwise your subject will have closed or squinting eyes.
The shade is ideal for group photography. But it’s not necessary if you have the equipment to light a group of that size. We’ll talk about this in a bit.
It is also a consideration when composing group photos. Shooting from a taller position can help more faces into the frame.
Sometimes shooting from a higher angle. The last thing you want is a tree appearing to grow from the top of someone’s head.
When composing the group photo keep empty space in mind as well. This is one of the best tips on how to take large group photos.
Think about where the focal point will be. Is there a family member you should show more importance with a family reunion would place everyone as important as each other.
You don’t want to have too much space or faces will be tiny. But be sure to leave some space to lead the eye in. This will also allow the photos to be printed in different sizes.
Best Poses for Group Photos
Posing a single person can be challenging enough. For groups you have to multiply that challenge by how many people are in the image.
First before you attempt to pose a large group for a photo make sure you understand how to pose a single person.
Posing the person’s shoulders parallel to the camera will make them look their largest. This is fine if you’re trying to make a football team big and menacing. But it isn’t ideal for every person and body type.
Directing the group to stand at an angle can be more flattering. And will also help more people into the shot.
For women encourage them to create curves by popping a knee out or putting a hand on a hip.
In group pictures many guys tend to gravitate towards crossing their hands in the front. Instead try for hands in the pockets crossed in front or at their sides.
There are two approaches to posing group pictures. You can pose all the people in the same position. Or create different poses for each person in the group.
The former tends to be the fastest most efficient way of photographing groups. The latter tends to be more visually interesting.
Sometimes you’ll have 20 minutes to pose a dozen groups for formal family photos after a wedding. You won’t have the time to direct that many people into a unique pose.