Let’s Talk About Photos: 7 Tips for Expert Group Pictures


Take Your Best Shot - Group Photos: Photography Tips 101 (header)

Cue the dad joke: “Act like you like each other.”

Whether you love or hate group photos, they’re a necessary piece of visual journalism.

People enjoy photos filled with happy faces. You don’t want your star piece of visualization to come out awkward.

We pulled together these seven tips to help you pull off the impossible.

1. Engage with each other

Ideally, you should have everyone in your photo interacting in some way. If you like the classic smile-at-the-camera style, have everyone huddle closely together.

You also can have more direct interaction with a candid approach and having subjects laugh together, look at one another, and act as if the camera’s not even there. The first few takes of this style might be awkward, but keep talking with your subjects and be patient. A rewarding photo just takes time.

2. Stagger

Of course, one of the most familiar tips for group photos is to organize people by height, but there are many other ways to create a dynamic layout. Take advantage of steps and chairs whenever possible to fit more people in the frame and make a more visually interesting photo.


3. Include everyone

Whenever planning group photos, make sure you have everyone you need. Plan out all the key players and make the most of everyone’s time.

Check Yourself: Engage, Stagger, Review, Be Inclusive, Take Control, One at a Time, Right Equipment

4. Review

With many subjects in the same photo it can be easy to think you nailed it, only to later edit and realize someone had their eyes closed or someone was talking in another, etc.

Be sure to look closely for these things before wrapping up.

Woman's hands holding a digital camera to capture a photo of a group of people

5. Take control

It can be intimidating to pose multiple people and make sure everything is ready for the perfect shot. But, truly, the more you can take the reins the better.

Subjects want to be posed to look their best and if it’s a rambunctious group, it will be difficult to get a good shot without lots of direction.


6. One camera at a time

Similar to the previous tip, command attention and make sure all eyes are on you.

If others want the same photo and are shooting over your shoulder, let them take a few and then step back in and direct the subjects to look at you.

This way, everyone knows exactly where to focus and others will appreciate your willingness to let them get a few of their own shots.


7. Let’s get technical

Use a wider lens such as a 35 mm and bump up the aperture to make sure everyone is in focus. Also, use f5.6 as a general starting point and increase with each additional row of subjects.

Nikon D7100 camera screen with image of ducks

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Author Kim Garrison is a product manager at Cision. She also is a snowboarder, photographer, and Washington Capitals fan. 

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