Take Control of Group Shots

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, many people had today off from work. Translation: If you hosted the holidays at your home, you may still be dealing with a house full of guests.

While you’ve got the entire clan together for an extra day, grab your camera and snap some group shots. Even if your gang consists of just a few stragglers, it’s nice to document loved ones sharing the same space and enjoying each others’ company. Smaller groups lend themselves to close-up shots. The closer you get to your subjects, the easier it will be for you to view details, such as facial expressions and other nuances.

However, you won’t be able to view many details if you don’t have adequate lighting. If you are shooting indoors, make sure you are photographing your subjects near an open door or window that allows in abundant natural light. Otherwise, supplement with artificial lights, including lamps and your camera’s flash. Also, don’t backlight your group. This is easier to avoid if you are shooting outdoors. Simply wait until the golden hours (near dawn and dusk) when the sun casts a gorgeous glow on your subjects.

A group of four or five family members showcases well in head and shoulder shots. Have your loved ones lean their heads in close to one another to avoid extraneous background clutter. Also, skip the single line formation, and instead, stagger your subjects by putting some people in front and behind of a designated middle man.

If you are looking to spice up a group shot, forget about traditional formations where the tallest family members stand in the back and the shorter ones remain up front. With large groups you can choose a few people to act as the focal point, and then gather the remainder of your subjects around them. For formal group pictures, have your subjects gather in a condensed circle. Then, place taller members of the family near the back, as well around the edges of the group to create a cohesive look.

Related Articles:

Basic Photo Tips for Digital Camera Owners

Cameras: Knowing When To Upgrade

Telling A Story With Your Shots

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.