When it comes to group shots, there's not just one genre of photography it sits under. From weddings and Christmas parties to school events and sports, there are many occasions when a group shot will be needed. However, getting them right so no one's blinking, looking the wrong way or are hidden from view by someone else in the shot can be a little tricky so here are a few tips to help you perfect that group shot.
Start Small If You're Unsure
The less people there are in your group the easier they are to co-ordinate so if you've not done group shots before, try splitting the people you have into smaller groups rather than shooting them all together.
If you are working with a big group where you have lots of lines of people stood one in front of another, do check that everyone is in focus. If they're not, use a smaller aperture to keep everyone sharp. If you're struggling to get everyone in shot, try shooting from a higher vantage point. Not only will it help you get everyone in frame, it'll give you an interesting twist to your group shot.
Be A Director
Don't let the group take control, you're the one behind the lens after all so can see what works and what doesn't. Don't be afraid to give instruction and actually walk people into position if needs be. Generally, tall people wander towards the back and those who are shorter tend to find a position towards the front of shots but this isn't set in stone. If you have a person who is the main focal point (birthday girl, top scorer etc.) try to position them towards the centre of the shot. To be more creative, try to position the rest of the group so they're looking at them or change your aperture to blur some of the group out of focus slightly, leaving your main subject sharp.
If you smile and seem relaxed, your subjects are more likely to be. Talk to them and don't be afraid to have a bit of fun as the more relaxed your subjects are, the better the photos will look.
If you're working outdoors, a slightly overcast day's good for portraits, however if you're working outdoors on a bright day, pose your group with the sun behind them and use a pop of fill-in flash to fill in any shadows.
As with all portraits, you don't want a background that'll distract from your main subject so take a good look around the frame to make sure there's nothing to the sides, front or above the group that'll pull the eye, taking the viewer's attention away from the people in your shot. Having said that, don't be afraid to use a background that adds to the shot. For example, a swim team at the side of a pool or a family at Christmas stood near the tree and fire surrounded by stockings etc.
Make Sure It Looks Like They Know Each Other
You may need to squash people a little closer together as what they think is close may not look very close in-camera. Try to fill the frame but take care not to remove anyone's limbs by accident as it's easily done to people who are at the side of the frame.
Shoot Lots And Often
People have a habit of talking, moving, pulling odd faces and blinking when you don't want them to so make sure you take plenty of shots. Switching your camera to continuous shooting mode will help increase your chances of getting a good shot as you'll usually find the first shot isn't that great, but shot two or three could be a winner.
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