Whether or not you are a hired professional photographer or just a family friend. Follow these simple steps to capture great group images at events and parties.
# 1 - Get Your Subjects At The Right Distance
Try to keep all your subjects at the same distance from your camera. A person standing five feet behind the main group will be out of focus. If you'd like them in the shot, get them to stand near the others.
# 2 - Close Your Aperture Up
Most large group shots require a more closed up aperture (higher f-number). This increases your depth of field and gets everyone relatively sharp.
Example: f/5.6 ---> f/10
Here's A Trick: Avoid multiple rows if you can. If you need to use two rows, close your aperture and focus your camera on the people in front. This is the same logic as portraits where you focus on the closest eye to the camera.
Have the people in the back row push their foreheads towards you. They will be sharper!
# 3 - Freeze Motion
Go with faster shutter speed! It's hard to have everyone stay still and keep from moving around. Especially true if your photographing kids!
Fast shutter speed will freeze the action. Don't risk the motion blur!
If you're shooting a wedding, be sure to get all of those once in a lifetime photographs! It's OK to bump your ISO a little bit in order to increase shutter speed. You can take more shots and get more “keepers”.
In the end, your family, friends or clients will appreciate the shots you get. They're not going to yell at you for ISO noise.
TIP: Make Sure Everyone Is Visible. Missing just one person in a reunion shot, wedding or family photo can ruin the memory. Don't forget anyone.
TIP: Say things like... "Can everyone see the camera?" "If you can't see me, I can't see you!" This will help the organization process.
# 4 - Get Close
Get as close as you can (given the focal length you've chosen) to reveal details in everyone's faces. You can capture details and expressions better by getting closer
TIP: When it's possible, consider using fill flash or off-camera lighting to help lighten up everyone's face. Revealing more context and detail in your shot.
# 5 - Avoid Distractions & Get Some Great Compression At The Same Time!
With group shots, try to put some distance between the subjects any distracting background to get a nice compressed look. Shooting with a longer focal length (Like A 70-200 Lens) will help you with this.
# 6 - Plan Ahead
Plan your shot BEFORE you need to deal with any people. Scout out a location. Choose a lens. THEN invite everyone over into your scene.
You will come across as organized and professional. Cause you are!
# 7 - One Photographer at A Time
Chances are pretty good that an audience will congregate behind you or around you as you're organizing. People will wonder what's going on and want to take a look.
They will also start taking pictures!
This is great. However, be sure you do your job and get the shot that you’re getting paid for.
One photographer at a time. One camera at a time! Everyone in the shot needs to be focused (at first) on you. This way there's no confusion about which camera to look at.
Trick: Once you get your shot, if you can, have everyone with a camera take turns. Everyone's photos will be much better.
Group photography is challenging but loads of FUN! A few simple techniques will go a long way in capturing great memories!
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