When a group gets together for casual or formal occasions it is not unusual for someone to ask the majority of attendees to come together for a photograph. We have all seen the “stock” and “standard” look of such an image, and while these perform their assigned tasks – getting a permanent record of the group together – they don’t often do so in a stylish or impressive way.
Are there any sort of tips and tricks for creating better-than-normal group photographs? Actually, there are some interesting approaches that can help to make for more remarkable and memorable images than ever before.
Photo by Craig Marston
The first thing to do is smile, and this includes the photographer. Quite often people respond to the person pulling them together for the image and if this person happens to be “all business” or even somewhat bossy it can be reflected by the forced smiles in many of the faces. Make it fun for the subjects and yourself, and this could be by joking around a bit or actually stepping into the group to arrange them in the way desired.
The next thing to do is plan the shot in advance of the actual moment. If you know that you as a formal or casual photographer will want to snap a few group photographs then you should make sure you know where to place the camera and the group, and what settings will be needed. It is often a problem for a group to happily standby while the photographer fiddles with dials and settings.
Photo by Eric Richardson
This leads to the next thing necessary for a good final result – control! There are many ways a photographer can take control of the setting including using a tripod, standing on a ladder or step stool, or assuming a unique position. Firstly, a tripod delivers the message of “intent” and can usually force people to listen to the person with the camera.
Next, if the individual taking the picture is in an elevated position it also draws the attention of most involved. Lastly, if you use that ladder or stepstool to position yourself above the group, they must assume a unique pose. For example, many excellent group photographs are taken with the entire party looking directly up into the lens. Also, larger group shots are usually easier to capture from an elevated stance too.
Of course, standing at a distance and up on a ladder does remove the photographer from the scene and setting, which leads to the final group photograph tip – try getting in close to the subjects as well. Rather than standing at a bit of a distance, a photographer could physically place themselves in a much closer position to capture finer details.
Top image by lobraumeister