Shooting groups of people is one of the oldest applications of photography, be it a family photograph, a class photo at school or on a picnic with friends. Read on to get a few ideas on how you can get better at group photographs.
1. Plan Ahead
Nobody likes waiting around doing nothing while the photographer fiddles with his or her camera! So prepare yourself with exposure, composition and keep some poses in mind before you call your subjects to shoot.
2. Choose your Background
Using a relevant background can add a lot to a photograph. For example, shooting a baseball field on their home pitch makes a lot more sense than having them pose in front of a plain old wall.
3. Shoot in Burst Mode
If your camera has a burst mode, use it! Especially with large groups of people, it is difficult to ensure that everyone is looking as the should when you fire. Nobody wants an image of themselves with their eyes closed, or an awkward expression on their face.
Everybody’s posed for group photographs before, so it is expected that the taller folk stand in the back row, shorter in front. But keep in mind other factors, such as the most important people remaining in the center. Do ask everyone to hold their chins up – this reduces the double chins to a great extent!
5. Timing is Important
If you are shooting at an event such as a wedding reception, try and get the bulk of your group photographs at the beginning. People look their best when they have just arrived, they are more cheerful and the least drunk!
6. Talk to the People
It is vital for the photographer to talk to his subjects. Tell them where they need to stand, where to look, where you want their hands and how you want everything placed. This not only reassures the people that they are in good hands, it also increases the photographer’s confidence.
7. Shooting Very Large Groups
When shooting very large groups, it can be quite a challenge fitting everyone into one frame. In such a situation, try and get a little high up, maybe on a table or a ladder. This ensures everyone’s faces are the most visible.
8. The Ever Important Tripod
Using a tripod when shooting groups of people is not vital, but it definitely has many advantages. For one thing, it allows the photographer to compose the shot, set focus, align the background and level the camera beforehand. It also lets the photographer walk around, helping people pose without disturbing the composition in the view finder.
9. A Positive Approach
It is much easier for the group to smile when the photographer is cheerful as well! It is understandably harder to do so when the photographer is sullen, so try and keep yourself in a positive frame of mind.
10. Add those Little Touches
If you are shooting a baseball team, accessories such as bats, gloves and balls can add that feeling of completeness. Try adding whatever elements you need to, to help your photograph tell the whole story better.