Originally posted with edits by Stephanie Glover, November 9, 2012

I love taking group shots. Whether it’s for holiday cards, weddings, graduations or birthday parties, I love capturing those picture perfect moments between loved ones. And you will too after I walk you through how to catch that instantaneous moment when everyone’s eyes are open and mouths are smiling.

Once you read this article, I promise you will achieve great group photos!

How to Take Great Group Photos

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1. Take multiple shots. I always use continuous shooting mode when shooting groups of people. I want to make sure I capture a handful of the same set up. More times than not, the first photo I shoot isn’t very good.  The second or third are usually much better. People are a little more relaxed and less posed. I also use this time to move around or zoom in and out to get different angles and close ups of the family.

2. Talk to your subjects. While I’m shooting a set pose, I start talking to my subjects. I want to catch them in a natural smile or laugh. It helps them relax and forget that they are getting their pictures taken. This also helps children warm up to having their picture taken.

3. Get control. When dealing with a large group, you can lose control of the group. More often than not, I remind my subjects that if they listen to me and look at the camera, the shoot will get done quicker and they can hop back into their warm car sooner. Also remind them if they can see the camera, then the camera can see them. So make sure they keep those eyes forward!

4. Remember the aperture rule. Always keep this rule in your mind when shooting groups of people. Your aperture should at least match the number of people you are photographing. For example, if you are photographing a family of 4, you want to use an aperture of f/4 or more. This will ensure that everyone in your picture will be in focus.

5. Height differences.I always try to avoid having everyone stand in a straight line. Instead, I like to create height differences in my photos. This not only makes it visually appealing but it also helps get the group closer together.

6. Give children height. When photographing young children, I will often either have one of the parents hold the child or let the child stand on a bench to bring them up their parent’s level. Height difference is good but you don’t want the child to get lost on the ground. Or you could have everyone sit on the ground.

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Photo: Laura Hamilton

7. Look at your background. When shooting a group of people you want to keep your background simple. You don’t want anything to distract from your subjects. After all, they are your subject! Also look for things that may stick out from people’s heads or body such as tree limbs or street signs.

8. Get in the picture! Don’t let being a photographer be your excuse for not being in the picture. Set the self timer or use a wireless remote and capture your family!

 

Originally posted with edits by Stephanie Glover, November 9, 2012