Group Photo Ideas and Tips

Here are five tips to get the most out of group portraits.

1. Sharpness

If I’m shooting a group or family of five or more, I always make sure that I am at f/8 at the very least. Why is this? Well, because you want all of their faces to be sharp, of course. If you’re at a lower f-stop, some faces will likely be out of focus or not quite as sharp as the others. Going up on your f-stop number is not hard when shooting in a studio, but when shooting outdoors using natural lighting it can be very difficult because you may not have a enough light. At that point it’s a trade off and you just have to use your best judgment. When I’m shooting large groups at a wedding outside, I will often bring a flash, as it is hard to get everyone’s faces lit up and sharp at the same time.

group photo ideas

Photo captured by Gary Walters

2. Faces in a Line

This step is very important, and I usually explain this to the group I’m shooting before we start taking photos in the first place. If some of the group is in a line, for instance maybe there are three in a line in the back and then two in the front, you want to make sure that the three who are in a line are using their peripheral vision to make sure their noses are in line. I tell my clients to pretend that I’m holding a piece of paper and that their nose is touching it. Anybody else in that “line” should also be able to touch my pretend piece of paper with their nose as well. Have you ever seen a photo where one head looks really big? That’s because of this problem.

3. Light

When shooting larger groups of people it’s also very important to have more light available to use, as it will require much more light to make sure their faces are lit up compared to taking photos of a couple of people or a single subject.

4. Posing

It’s hard to pose a large group of people because by the time you’ve posed some of them and are posing others the first group of people have fallen out of their pose anyway, so candid is usually best—unless you’re taking photos of a high school team or something, in that case I carefully pose the shot.

family portrait posing

“Our Family” captured by Tanya Little

5. Clothing

With event photography this is obviously not something you have control over. But with photographing families, for instance, it can be very important to make sure that the colors are coordinated but different. Matchy-matchy is out. Make it bold, fun, and modern.

About the Author:
Amber Bauerle is considered one of the best family photographers in Utah. She also specializing in children, commercial, fashion, newborns, and more. If you’ere interested in Photoshop tips and how to make your photos look better, she is a master at this. Check out her website to see the results she has gotten with many of her photos. Besides being one of many family photographers in Utah, she spends a lot of time doing editorial and fashion photography as well as wedding photojournalism.

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One Comment

  1. DWM Jr says:

    Latter this summer I will be taking a rather large group picture,perhaps as many as 75. I would appreciate any suggestions on lens choice and anything else that will help me capture this once in a life time photograph. Thank you.

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