When we think about special occasions and events we want to remember, we almost always wind up thinking of one kind of group situation or another. Whether it’s your best friend’s wedding, a family reunion, or the annual picnic you and your best girlfriends like to have every spring, it’s hard to imagine making life’s most important memories without a lot of loved ones involved.
However, capturing groups on film can come alongside its share of challenges. Here are some dos and don’ts to remember the next time you’re looking to capture your favorite group events with your camera.
DO choose your lighting carefully.
When possible, try to get your group shots in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky. Barring the ability to do that, try to shoot in the shade. This will help keep people from squinting into the sun and making odd expressions as a result.
DON’T shoot underneath trees or close to objects that cast shadows.
Scattered, broken light and shadows cast over people do not photography well, especially when they involve faces, so avoid them whenever possible. Look for places to shoot where the light is soft and even instead.
DO place families and couples together in shots.
When it comes to posed group shots, people tend to appreciate it when families and couples are grouped together within the shot. This makes it easy for auntie, dad, or grandma to use the shots in the future to point out their loved ones without having to spend too much time hunting for the right faces.
DON’T take forever to set up your shot.
People have a tendency to lose interest and become bored when a photographer takes way too long setting everyone up and getting the final shot. Keep in mind that many people really dislike group photos, especially dads and kids. The more quickly and efficiently you can get what you need, the happier everyone will be.
DO take multiple shots.
When you’re dealing with groups of people in a single shot, you’re bound to have one person or another staring off into the distance, making an odd face, or blinking at a given time. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary to take multiple shots. If need be, you can always open up Photoshop and head-swap during the retouching phase.
DON’T try to get overly creative for group photography
As touched on above, one of the tricks to getting better group shots is to get the shot quickly before people get too fidgety. Save your creative brainstorming for times when you’re not dealing with too many people. The end goal with a group shot is really to get everyone into the picture successfully.
At the end of the day, group photography is far from impossible, but it does take some careful planning and attention to detail in order to make sure the final shot can be obtained quickly and simply. Try it for yourself today and photographing groups will become second nature before you know it.
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