How to Successfully Photograph Large Groups

How to Successfully Photograph Large Groups

do's to photograph a large group
Photo Credit: Cameron Kirby

There is nothing more precious than having a photograph of your entire family at a reunion, the entire graduating class, or the wedding party at a wedding. But, if you ever tried to get a perfect shot of a large group, you know it is not easy. Professional photographers prepare well in advance to successfully photograph large groups.

Professional grade photo props or backdrops will add to the photograph.  Denny Manufacturing can help you with the proper selections for the theme of the group. It is a good idea to discuss the backdrops with your client before you order. There is a wide range of designs, colors, and materials to select from. Show them (you can email a picture) the backgrounds you are considering for approval. Your idea of shabby chic may be there idea of just shabby.

In this post, we will share professional photography tips to help you get the photographs you want. If you are a beginner photographer, there are some professional terms you need to become familiar with. For example, is your camera digital or optical? What is your ISO (sensitivity to light?) You are taking professional grade photos, and you will be learning from professional photographers whether in person or online.

If you are not sure what a term means, you can click here for help. Now, let’s get started on your journey to the best picture you will ever take.

plan ahead when photographing large groups
Photo credit: Allef Vinicusa

Do’s to Successfully Photograph a Large Group

  • Use a wide-angle lens
    • You may be very good with a standard camera, but they are not designed to take professional photographs. If you do not have a professional grade camera, consider renting one.
  • Visit the photo site in advance.
    • See what you have to work with and what you have to work around. If your location is in a wooded area, you will need to find a place where there is room for the group.
    • Do communicate with the person who is hiring you. What do they want? Perhaps they want a photo in a park. But what if it rains. Be ready with a backdrop that they may love and set up inside the building.
  • Double your shutter speed
    • Everything is about getting a great shot. In order to get the best shot, most pros use a shuttle speed of 200-250.
  • Use a tripod
    • A tripod will keep your camera perfectly still. No matter how good you are, for a still photo, you need a tripod. You are still human and it is not until you review the photos that you realized you moved a bit while taking the picture.
  • Determine your lighting issues
    • If you are shooting on a very sunny day, you may have no choice but to fight the sun for the shot. You can put the group with their backs to the sun. Not only will your shots come out cleaner, fewer people will be squinting.
    • If there is a choice, consider taking the shots in the afternoon or early evening. The position of the sun makes it much easier.
  • Be sure you tell everyone, if they cannot see you, you cannot see them.
    • This is especially a problem in a family photo. There is always someone who wants to stand behind everyone and stick their head in the middle of two others so no one will see they gained 10-pounds. Be sure you arrange the people in a reasonable order. That person can be placed standing on a stool in the second row so cousin Billy can cover her curves.
  • Do not use heads for horizons
    • Perhaps you are trying to capture the mountains behind a group. If they are positioned standing; you should be squatting or standing on a stool. If you take a straight shot their heads may look like they are over the mountain peaks. A busy background takes the focus away from the subjects.

Don’ts for taking a group photograph

  • Don’t set your camera and never check the settings of the screen again.
    • You should often check to make sure everyone and everything is in focus.
  • Don’t only take one picture.
    • So you got the perfect shot? Well then keep pushing that button. You need a few good shots to choose from. You may not have noticed someone in the had their head turned or looking down.
  • Don’t be shy
    • You need to stagger the people in the photograph to make it look more natural. A ground where everyone is posed by height is boring.
    • If you notice someone’s shirt came untucked, or a zipper down, you have to speak up.
  • Don’t form a straight line
    • Have the people stand in a semi-circle, or use stairs to pose a group. You do not want the picture to look staged.
photograph large groups by visiting the site in advance
Photo credit: Duy Pham

Before you step into photographing a group, take the time to learn about the mechanics of photography. Learn how to use a camera and it’s features. If you take your time, you will get the shot you want and people will cherish it forever.


Author Bio

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

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