Group Posing Challenges
Posing a group can be challenging. Your telling people what to do, and photographers typically like to just capture the scene, rather than be the director. If you're going to work with people, portraits, models or fashion, then, at some point, giving some simple directions to your subjects can be very helpful. Be the DIRECTOR! Be confident and relaxed and your group will pick up on that mood.
The same basic issues and techniques with posing one person, and a group apply: Make a connection, relax, develop rapport, use music, be confident, create a good mood, and respect your subjects. Keep plenty of good music on a handy iPod and speakers nearby if you are doing a model shoot as music can help set the mood. Ask your subjects if'd like to play their favorite music. When posing subjects, respect their space. Have them fix something, or have an assistant, the subject's mom, or a stylist fix the hair, or outfit.
Check out our Tips for Posing a Model http://www.bluefinstudios.com/blog/2013/2/posing-techniques
Get your subjects' heads on different levels
Using dynamic composition is the easiest way to dramatically improve your group photos. Your goal is to get people to be on different levels. Try placing one group of heads on one of your Rule of Thirds and another on a different part of the Rule Of Thirds. Try using the location you are shooting at for different levels. Stairs, rocks, and benches help. Use the location around you.
Triangles make for interesting and compelling elements in a group photo. Posing someone above and behind the other two makes for good composition. Remind people posing as a group to "squish in a bit" They've been hearing this all their life and will be comfortable clsoing any awkward gaps.
Who's The Boss?
Remember who's the boss when composing. If it's a family shot, make sure mom is happy. Sometimes, mom doesn't like being too obvious, or too much on camera. Put mom in the back or middle to make her a part of the pose, but not the main subject. Keep the boss happy!
Make sure your subjects can be seen!
This is one of the easiest tips to use. Simply look and make sure you can see all the subjects in the camera. Don't depend on some luck, make sure you can see everyone through the view finder.
Take A Lot Of Shots!
Groups may not all be posing at the same time. They may not all smile, or look in the same direction. This means, when you are shooting a group, try shooting a few photos for each pose. Take a series of three exposures for each shot. Just hold the shutter release button in Continuous Shooting Mode. This increases the chances of getting a good shot.
Let the Group Be Natural!
Let them have fun, and be more relaxed. Let them move. Let them pose as they would naturally in their homes. Remember, Remain Focused on the end product. Get the shot. Don't just allow play for play's sake. And don't try to over pose. Nothing too crazy, as it may be just plain tacky!
Remember, you have a bigger group, so you will need more light and over a larger area. Watch for shadows from one person onto the rest of the group. Make sure you get even light, and not one person in harsh light and the rest in shadow or low light.
You're not just shooting one person, so getting tack sharp eyes with a group is more difficult. Open up your aperture and get more Depth Of Field. With a group, try shooting at f8 or F11 to get more people in focus.
Good luck and enjoy shooting!