Tips & Tricks

Take Great Group Photos

How to catch that instantaneous moment when everyone’s eyes are open and mouths are smiling.

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!


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. Also remind them if they can see the camera, then the camera can see them. So make sure they keep those eyes forward!


4. Try different group arrangements.  One of my favorites is to have everyone lie on the ground looking up with their heads close together and their feet in a circle.  Or try action shots.  Have everyone jump into the air at the same time!

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.


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 November 9, 2012 by Stephanie Glover.  Revised January 11, 2017

Photography by Kate Barber


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