Group Photography: 5 Tips You Absolutely Have to Know

Written by  on December 4, 2010 

When it comes to difficult photography jobs, group photos rank among some of the hardest. Not only must you direct a group of people, but you must be able to predict and prepare for any one of the many things that could go wrong. Here are a few tips to consider when preparing for a group shot.

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Photo: Yaisog Bonegnasher

  1. Engage Your Audience: Whether you are taking pictures of a group of middle school students or a wedding party, it is a good idea to establish a friendly, professional relationship with the group. Remember to be polite when asking the group to arrange themselves the way you see fit. If needed, enlist the help of a teacher or family member. After all, you are entering a new setting for the first time; having someone who is familiar with the group you are photographing can be a godsend.
  2. Be Clear: It may sound obvious, but it is a good idea to make your requests as clear as possible. This means not only phrasing them in a way that makes sense to the group, but also speaking loudly and articulately. The less confusion that occurs, the less likely your subjects will grow impatient. Again, if you have problems with a reluctant subject or a clownish student, enlist the help of an insider to keep the atmosphere calm and professional.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Have Fun: This is one of the tips for taking group photos that is often neglected. While not always proper for certain professional settings, in many cases, taking a few candid shots will put everyone in a good mood, even if you don’t plan on using them. If possible, encourage your group to be a bit silly or loosen up. Feel free to be charismatic as you snap away–keep their attention on you, not the camera. You’ll be surprised at just how far a few jokes and a bit of praise can go when it comes to keeping an unruly group settled and cooperative.
  4. Be Prepared: This should go without saying. When it comes to taking group shots, there are a number of things that can go wrong. You can keep the unthinkable from occurring by keeping spare blank memory cards, film, different lenses, and even a spare camera if needed. You may not end up needing these supplies, but it’s always a good idea to have them around. In addition to this, arrive early to your destination and make sure you know exactly where to go once you get there. Nothing gets a crowd restless, after all, like a late photographer.
  5. Don’t be Afraid to Get Creative: Whether you’re taking family photos, a group shot at a birthday party, or an epic shot of a family reunion, don’t be afraid to use the lighting, background, angles, and even your subjects in ways that go beyond the conventional family portraits. Not only can you create group photos that are unique and memorable, but you’ll also be able to emphasize the group’s unique dynamic. Best of all, putting a new twist on group photos will make your subjects all the more interested in participating.

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Photo: Jayel Aheram

These are only a few tips for taking group photos to consider. While challenging, both you and your subjects can have a lot of fun with group shots.

About the Author
Rick is a digital camera repair service provider at C.R.I.S. Camera Services located in Chandler, AZ. Rick is also the administrator for the company camera repair blog. This blog is updated with rare information from the techs that fix thousands of cameras each year.

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