Want to see how we posed this large group in less than 6 minutes to get a fun bridal party shot? Swipe left to see the BTS video and follow the steps below.
[REWIND: 10 Tips for Photographing Large Groups]
PROBLEM: TIME IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE
Group portraits are some of the most shared images to come out of an entire wedding day. It is not often that so many friends and family gather in the same place at the same time, dressed to the nines, ready to pose for pictures. When pressed for time, group portraits pose a unique challenge.
All of the same rules apply as posing individuals or couples, but with the added dynamic of adding several people to the frame. Throw the all-too-common time constraints of occasions like wedding days into the mix, and without a very clear vision and direction, time can run out quickly. The single biggest time killer while capturing large groups is posing. Setting up and positioning lighting takes less than a minute, but posing requires careful direction so that the group is balanced in frame and uniform in terms of poses and expressions.
SOLUTION: DIRECT FOR SUCCESS
Put the camera down and use clear communication to direct your group into a perfect pose no matter how much time you have. During a recent wedding, the couple wanted to create a celebratory party scene at the bar, and we only had a matter of minutes to set up and execute the shot. When placing subjects in creative, theatrical poses like this, it’s crucial to know how to clearly communicate poses and expressions to get everyone on the same page and in character.
Here are six steps for posing large groups in six minutes:
STEP 1: START WITH YOUR CENTERPIECE
Begin a group portrait by posing the centerpiece, which in wedding photography, will most often be the bride and groom. Then, build out from the center.
STEP 2: VARY POSES AND PLACEMENT OF SUBJECTS
Many photographers choose to use standard symmetrical posing for large group portraits because they’re safer and quicker to set up than editorial portraits, but the latter makes for more dynamic images, which are often more interesting and powerful.
STEP 3: MAKE CONNECTIONS
Using touchpoints like holding hands or overlapping subjects helps create literal and figurative connections between subjects in large groups.
While overlapping creates a sense of connection, placing hands on shoulders or weaving them through arms tends to convey a sense of familiarity and to establish relationships between the people in the image. More touchpoints between subjects implies more intimacy.
STEP 4: WATCH FOR OVERLAPS & ANALYZE BALANCE
For most large group portraits, each person in the group should only slightly overlap the person next to him or her, covering no more than 20-30% of the person’s body. It is also important that you direct your subjects to stand (or in this case, lean over or lie down) in a straight line to keep them in the same focal plane. Take a step back and take a look at the entire group before lighting the scene.
STEP 5: LIGHT THE SCENE
You can light large groups any number of ways, but remember this: Simplicity and efficiency is key. Available light conditions, both indoors and outside, will affect your lighting needs, as will the size of the group.
Here are our favorite lighting tools, modifiers, and stands that help us create dynamic and unforgettable imagery. We’ve listed several options so choose what works for your budget and style.
Manfrotto 5001B Nano Stand
[REWIND: Our Ideal Group Lighting Technique]
STEP 6: CAPTURE THE MOMENT
Cue the group to inspire the reaction you’re after, and capture multiple images to get a variety of expressions. Be sure to zoom in and check focus before moving on to the next group.
One cannot understate the importance of clear communication when directing groups into poses. Remember to keep things friendly and avoid speaking coldly to your clients while posing them, regardless of stress levels and time constraints.Join Premium
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