Group and family portraits can be difficult; they are tough to light, they take a long time to pose, and trying to get everyone to look great (no blinking!) is no easy feat. But in this video, Pye shows us three reasons why he loves group portraiture, along with seven tips on getting incredible editorial bridal-party portraits while using the Profoto OCF Beauty Dish.
Three Reasons To Love Group Portraiture
1. It’s a Chance to Create High Production Value Images
Group portraiture is a great opportunity to create gorgeous portraits of a large group of people in an incredible venue. Everyone is dressed up, happy and excited to be celebrating with family and friends. It’s like a fashion magazine shoot, and an opportunity for you to channel your inner Annie Leibovitz.
2. It’s a Chance to Show Off Your Skills In Front of the Client’s Closest Friends & Family
Group portraiture gives you a chance to impress not only your clients but their family and friends. They will be watching and listening as you line everyone up and pose them for portraits, then you can show them the back of your camera and amaze them with your incredible images, skill set, and the way you work and interact. They will want to refer you to everybody!
3. Group Portraits Are The Most Shared Images on Social Media
Of all the images that we capture, the group portraits are the most shared images of the entire wedding day. You have a large group of people in the shot of a special day and they think it’s a cool image and will want to share it with all the rest of their friends.
7 Tips On Creating Incredible Group Portraits
1. Decide On The Ambient Exposure In Camera
If you’re aiming for a more natural shot, your ambient exposure needs to be brighter. If you want a more dramatic portrait, make sure your ambient exposure is darker.
2. Choose A Lighting Direction That Complements The Existing Light In Your Scene
To keep the existing shadows and create dimensions on your subject’s faces, place your light in such a fashion to complement the existing light in the scene. For example, in the video above, the existing light is coming in from a window and going from left to right. Ergo, we place the Profoto B1 on the left side then light toward the right side of the group where there is less light.
3. Ask An Assistant to Be A Stand In While You Set Up
Before your group gets there, ask your assistant or one person to stand in the frame while you set up the light power. This saves a lot of time and you won’t have a big group of people just standing around while you’re trying to adjust your lighting.
4. Select The Modifier of Choice For Your Lights
For editorial bridal portraits, Pye loves using the Profoto OCF Beauty Dish in either the white or silver to modify light. They create beautiful light and are portable and easy to set up.
5. Create Overlapping and Connections Between Individuals While Posing
To create a sense of closeness in the image, when posing your group make sure that there’s overlap and connection. When you line up the individuals, be sure they are touching or connected in some way.
6. For Larger Groups, Try A Composite
When you have a very large group, set your camera on a tripod and pose everyone in smaller groups. Then have your assistant light up each group individually so you can composite the image later.
7. Composite In Photoshop
When you are in Photoshop, take all the layers for your composite image, align the layers, and then mask each layer out to hide the light, while revealing each lit group in the entire scene. Don’t forget to remove any unwanted reflections in the background.
To see more from the Ordinary to Extraordinary Series, check out the following articles and videos:
- Can You Tell The Difference Between Golden Hour and Artificial Golden Hour?
- How To Create the Perfect Hero Shot In Broad Daylight
- Three Ways To Create Dramatic Portraits With One Hard Light
- Using Flash to Recreate The Sun And Enhance Bright And Airy Portraiture
- The James Dean Styled Shoot With the Profoto OCF Beauty Dish
- Two Gel Techniques For Corrective & Stylistic Lighting Effects