One thing we run across as portrait and wedding photographers is the large group that you have to get just right. Group photos can be a lot of fun if you are prepared. However go into it clueless and it will be a definite disaster! Getting that perfect group photo is work, not only do you need to get that pose, you need to command the attention of every subject before it turns to utter chaos. Having knowledge of how to pose those large groups, will help you get it achieved quickly, a must do. The longer it takes for you to figure out how to pose the group, the higher your chance of wanderers.
Here is some great posing advice for those larger groups!
From Portrait Photographer Site: “It is important with medium to large-size family groups that the poses you put your subjects in appear to be natural and comfortable. Even experienced group photographers working with assistants will take ten minutes or so to set up a group of twenty or more. Therefore, it is imperative that your subjects be posed comfortably. Natural poses, ones that your subjects might fall into without prompting, are best and can be held indefinitely.” Standing. Each standing subject has his or her weight on their back foot and is posed at a 45- degree angle to the camera, lowering the rear shoulder to diminish overall body size. Tall Kneel. Generally a masculine pose, not unlike a football players’ team pose, this pose calls for the man to get down on one knee with his other leg bent at 90 degrees. The elbow of the arm on the same side as the knee that is up should rest on the knee. Short Kneel. This is the same pose as above but both knees are on the ground and the person’s weight is back on their calves. This pose is good for either men or women, but with women in dresses, they are usually turned at a 45-degree angle.Sitting. The man sits on his buttocks with the leg that is toward the camera curled under the leg that’s away from the camera. The elbow rests across his raised knee. For a woman wearing slacks, this is appropriate. However, a more graceful seated pose is achieved when she lays on her hip and rolls slightly toward the camera. Her legs then flow out to the side with the ankles crossed. Her top hand can rest on her lower thigh or in front of her. If she can bring her top knee over to touch the ground, her body produces a beautiful curved line. Lying Down. The subjects can lay on their sides with their hands resting on the sides of their faces, or can lay on their stomachs with their arms folded in front of them. This really works better for an individual pose, rather than a group, but it offers another level if needed.”
From Advice: “Arrange your group. When arranging group photos, create a good balance while steering clear of the traditional chop block style of group photography. You don’t have to arrange by height. Of course, height should be a consideration, but experiment with several different arrangements and shoot all of them. Groups with mixed gender, age, body type and size can be some of the best photos out there. If you have a group of eight or more, try forming them into a stacked half circle instead of in rows for a unique pose.”
From Digital Photo: “If the event is centered around one or two people (like a wedding or a birthday) make them the central focal point by putting them right in the middle of the group (you can add variation to your shots by taking some of everyone looking at the camera and then everyone looking at the person/couple).For formal group photos put taller members in the group not only towards the back of the group but centered with shorter people on the edges of the group.Another very useful line to use with group is – ‘If you can see the camera it can see you’. This one is key if you want to be able to see each person’s face in the shot.”
More Advice: Get silly on purpose! Having a few silly funny shots will allow the wanderers to fit right in. Some of our favorites are have everyone talk to the person beside them, and ignore the main subject, who is looking at you. Everybody jump, run, dance, or make faces. Piggy back rides. “Think Charlie’s Angels”.
Visit the GROUP POSING category for more great tips!