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How To Take a Group Portrait

Taking a group portrait can be a pain. Here's how to make it go as smoothly as possible.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Steel yourself Steel yourself; getting a large group of people to do anything is hard, and getting them to listen to a photographer is damn near impossible.
  • Step 2: Analyze the group Quickly analyze the group to be shot. Do a mental lineup according to height, affiliations, and order of importance according to whatever invisible law governs your group.
  • Step 3: Choose location and backdrop Choose your location and backdrop, if any. Try to maximize natural light if you can.
  • Step 4: Attach your flash Attach your flash and set your camera on the tripod.
  • TIP: Bounce the flash off the ceiling to get the softest, most diffused, most even light possible.
  • Step 5: Set up camera Set your camera’s ISO, shutter speed and aperture for the light condition.
  • TIP: A wide-angle lens will allow you to squeeze in more people.
  • Step 6: Gather the crowd Gather everyone together.
  • Step 7: Arrange everyone Begin arranging people according to your mental map, making sure anyone of greater significance is front and center.
  • Step 8: Compose the shot Compose your shot.
  • Step 9: Set self-timer Set your camera on its self-timer to help avoid camera shake.
  • TIP: Get everyone to count down together. This will make sure they’re focused on the shot.
  • Step 10: Meter and focus Meter on your group, focus on them, and shoot away.
  • Step 11: Shoot as much as you can Take as many shots as you possibly can before everyone loses their patience and either gets angry or wanders off.
  • FACT: Technically, the largest group portrait ever taken was of Earth by NASA.

You Will Need

  • 1 A camera
  • 1 An external flash
  • 1 A tripod
  • 1 A group of people
  • 1 And a large room or space
  • 1 Wide-angle lens

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