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If you think that group photos are daunting, you need to know that this will be very easy if you take care of several variables that are actually beyond your control. However, it is possible to become more comfortable with taking group portraits if you sharpen some skills.
Note that these group portrait photo tips are meant for the hobbyists than those who are professionals. The only thing you need is access to an entry-level DSLR camera and no other special equipment is actually needed.
You need to take time to plan the details of the shot before you shoot it. Plan what day it will be, who all will be there, the locations you will need, and what everyone will wear. Make sure you know all these before the shoot.
The right settings depends on the context. In case, you are shooting a corporate team, you need a location that represents the business. If it is a wedding, you can experiment with innovative ideas. While clicking seasonal shots, you should incorporate elements of the season such as snow or fireplace to represent the Christmas season.
f you want to decide the shot live, it can result in frustrated and confused subjects while you look for the possibilities. So, you need to visualize the shots prior to the subjects meeting up. You need to ask yourself what you need at the end and how the group photo should look like.
You need to think that you are the director of the shot and to get the optimal shot, the subjects should be told what they need to do and when. Don't hesitate to tell everyone that you are the authority as far as the shot is concerned. Keep in mind that if the shot does not turn out well, you will be blamed.
Though you are assertive, make sure you maintain the gentleness as well. If you are not gentle, the subjects might get distracted, intimidated, and nervous, and it will be seen in the photo.
You should be comfortable with the camera and gear in order to shoot what you envision without thinking a lot about the same. This will let you stay 100 percent focused on properly communicating the shot.
You need to know when you should use a specific lens for portraits. It is good to stay away from the extreme conditions. The wide-angle lenses might result in a distorted photo while the telephoto lens might require a lot of space between you and the subjects. The lens that range from 50 mm to 105 mm will give the closest to reality shot with not much distortion, and we suggest to use the same for a group portrait photograph.
Tripods are quite beneficial. If your lens and camera are heavy and they lack image stabilization, you can use a tripod to reduce shaking. It lets you to direct and interact with the subjects without carrying your camera all the time. If it is a long-exposed shot, a tripod is non-negotiable.
One of the main tricks to get the perfect and high-quality photo is setting the right lighting. This is the reason that there is a difference between the summer shots and winter shoots. and outdoor and indoor shots. You need to understand about the rules of exposure and apply the same. Never use a direct flash as flash is too strong and it will wash out the colors and produce very harsh shadows. Usually, natural lighting is the best, but if flash is unavoidable, you need to use a flash bounce card or flash diffuser that will soften the light.
The photographers have assistants who will help with the required equipment, take secondary photos utilizing the viewpoints and angles, and organize subtasks.
When clicking a group shot, you should not have all the subjects at uniform height as it will give an undesirable and artificial quality. You need to try mixing up the heights so that some heads are high and some are low. Some should be in between as well. This way, you will get a dynamic and natural looking photo. So, ensure to form triangles with the subjects' heads and position them in the front and back rows accordingly to give a visually appealing feel.
The background you choose should not distract the main focus of the photograph that is the subjects. So, you can try for a neutral background such as a wall. If there are distracting elements like tablets, chairs, wall hangings, etc, you can move them away for the shot.