Mastering The Art Of Group Portrait Photos

Family in Bikaner by Aline Dassel

Family in Bikaner by Aline Dassel

Whether a group photograph is at a company event or a family picnic, there are some reliable techniques for making it unique, dynamic and successful. It all begins with the photographer’s perspective on the group itself. Rather than waiting until it is time for the photograph to be taken, the photographer should spend some time observing the group and the individuals within it. They will see the various mini-groups that exist and this can help to make the group shot more natural and “warm”.

For instance, if a photograph is to be taken at a family event and the photographer notices a few people continually attending to an older member of the family they may want to make sure that these people are placed near one another in the image. Quite often this sort of arrangement leads to physical contact between people, and this creates emotion in the final image.

Another issue where any group portrait is concerned is the setting and background. Depending upon the size of the group and the location of the gathering a photographer may not be able to control the background. If there is an unappealing or distracting background the photographer has two easy ways to deal with it. They can find a way to get above the group which converts the ground beneath them into the background, or they can get themselves down lower and shoot looking up at the group. This, however, can give some unflattering effects to the bodies of those in the front and should be used when the proper lens can prevent such a thing from occurring.

Regardless of the type of group and the setting or environment, there is always room for an alternative approach to the image. The group might be asked to put their arms around one another’s shoulders, leap into the air, make the same face, or say the first word that comes to mind rather than the proverbial “cheese”. This can lead to spontaneous outbreaks of laughter, which will then deliver the goods for several great follow up shots.

This brings us to the final tip which is to plan on moving quickly during a group portrait shoot. If you plan ahead for such techniques as those listed above you will need to request them, implement them, and use them as quickly as possible. It doesn’t pay to have a few ideas in mind and then get only images of a bunch of people looking a bit bored or tired because you didn’t work fast enough.

Article by Amy Renfrey.

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2 comments on “Mastering The Art Of Group Portrait Photos

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