Advice for Shooting Group Photos

Hey guys! During this past summer, I started a photography series here on my blog, but never really continued it. This past week, I decided that I want to create photography posts in the future, so today I wanted to share a few tips I’ve learned recently!

Last week, I had the opportunity to shoot some group photos for my sorority’s website. I typically only shoot solo portraits, so shooting more than one person was definitely a challenge for me at first. It’s definitely all about trial and error, but it was so much fun to try something different last Wednesday!

Here are a few tips I learned during that day for shooting group photos:

tip1

This is something I have had to learn the hard way! During our photoshoot last week, we shot two different outfits in two different locations. For the first location, the models were wearing t-shirts. I had them stand in the Grove (where we shot all the photos) by a picnic table. If I would have scouted at the location ahead of time, I would have realized that the specific place that I placed them was way too dark. I sadly noticed this after we shot all the photos, and they were too difficult to retouch. Luckily, I found a fantastic spot with great lighting for the second outfits (pictured below). Walk around the area where you will be taking the photos and practice shooting from all different directions. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when you take the actual photos of the subjects. It will also help you find the best place to shoot the photos!

tip2

When shooting friends and family, it can be difficult for them to come up with poses naturally. I always look on Pinterest and Instagram for ‘pose-inspiration’. For both individual and pair/group shots, I can find it helpful to have the subjects walk away from me and then walk towards me. I find that it looks natural and can really help them loosen up. I think this is an especially great suggestion for fashion shots! For group shots in general, I think it can be really helpful to have the group ‘fake laugh’. It sounds silly, but I personally think fake-laughing pictures can be adorable, especially for a group of girls!

tip3

I love shooting at a very low f-stop because I love the gorgeous bokeh it creates. For the first set of photos (that we ended up not using), I shot at a 4.0 f-stop. I wasn’t happy with the photos not only because of the lighting, but because the high f-stop created a not so dreamy effect. However, if I would have used an f-stop that was too low (like a 1.8, for example), some of the members of the group would have been completely blurry! For the best set of photos (pictured below), I used a 2.5 f-stop, which I was really happy with! There was the perfect amount of bokeh, but the subjects were still all in focus. Score!

tip4

Definitely be aware of spacing when shooting a group! Sometimes the subjects don’t realize if they are standing too close or too far apart from the others next to them. Let them know if they need to stand a little closer or a little farther away, and also be observant about the lighting on the subjects.

tip5

Another error with the first set of photos was that all the outfits clashed. I told the subjects to wear whatever they wanted to, and the outfits ended up clashing together, which was entirely my fault. I should have had the girls send me photos of their outfits ahead of time, but I didn’t do that. Luckily for the second set of photos, all of the models’ dresses looked gorgeous together and really complimented each other. I think it can be very helpful to have the subjects wear solids and similar color palettes. For example, for a spring time shoot it can look lovely to have everyone in pastels. For family portraits, you can’t go wrong with white shirts and jeans. In addition, it can also be helpful when picking a location if you know the color palette you are working with!


All in all, last week’s shoot was an amazing learning experience for me! Photography is totally trial and error, and I always love learning new tips. This fall semester, I will be shooting portraits/group photos just for fun to gain experience. I hope you can find these tips helpful as well! To see more photos from the shoot, check out my sorority’s website & our updated ‘what to wear for recruitment‘ page.

xoxo,

Mackenzie

 

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