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How to Take Awesome Group Photos

Group photos happen to be a more difficult task than shooting portraits. Usually, we take group photos at weddings, birthdays, or other events, and it is challenging to even get people together for a shot sometimes because they are too excited and distracted. With group photos, besides making everyone look good, you have to take care of the focus, light, and style. You’ll have to choose a different approach for taking steady and dynamic shots of groups of people in action as well. Here are some tips for you on how to create more than just ordinary pictures and nothing less than awesome shots.

Scan the location and plan ahead

Planning is crucial. If you’re shooting at a set location for the day, it’s advisable to visit the location beforehand so that you know the type of lighting you’ll have to work with and can scan the area for potential framings. Take every detail into consideration. How many people will be there? Is it a big and bright space or will you need additional light sources? Will you need props? What’s the timing? Then think about the ideas for group photos and your strategy on how you’d like to arrange it all. 

Be ready with advice on how to pose

Posing in group photos is sometimes tricky as well. How do you get people to pose right? Make sure they’re paying attention to you as you give them advice. You can crack on some jokes; it works great, especially with kids. Besides, it makes everybody laugh, which is good. There is nothing worse than a stressed-out grumpy photographer.   If you understand how to help one person with their pose, it should not be difficult to give advice to a group. Shoulders parallel to the camera isn’t always a good idea because of the different body types. Ask people to stand at an angle. It will also help fit all of them into the shot.  Group poses can be neat and orderly as with classical group photos or you can create a different pose for every person to keep it more fun. However, remember about timing. If everyone is doing what they feel like, it can become messy, annoying, and time-consuming for you. Especially if it’s a wedding or an event with hundreds of people.   With smaller gatherings, you can ask all the members to create more fun poses. When you have the time to devote to the details, you also have time to direct group photos. Read up on advice on how you can guide people during group photoshoots in this article.  

Find the spots with the best lighting

You don’t want weird shadows on the faces or shots with dull lighting that will hide everyone’s features. One of the options is to find a spot that doesn’t have direct sunlight. Well lit places away from direct sunlight will have lighting that is more smooth and will give you softer shadows.  It is always good to have natural light directed on the group but never shoot with the sun right behind you. You’ll have a picture full of squinting eyes which is not something that is flattering in any group photo. Use your flash if you are close enough to people and the source of light is behind them. Using the flash off-camera can help you better direct the light.

Stay confident and let people have fun

Become a silent observer at an event and work with the atmosphere of it. Often you can catch the best moments when people don’t see you taking photos of them. The beauty of spontaneous shots like this is that people get to keep memories of something other than organized group photos. You know your profession best, so you have to stay confident on the job at all times. It puts people at ease when you’re charismatic and know how to guide them. Let them know when you need them to get closer to each other, change their position, etcetera. Give clear directions, so that everybody can understand and follow you easily. 

Take more pictures than you need

There are always some photos where someone’s turned away, or the eyes are shut, or the angle is not perfect. Both you and the people would appreciate having more choice. To battle this problem, take as many shots as you can. Continuous shooting mode can help you with group photos. A couple of photos right after the first one often look better because the participants are more relaxed.  People can also look somewhat funny or tense when posing, so let them pose in a way that is most comfortable for them, but give them advice to guide them. Again, smile and use your sense of humor to make the group members feel more comfortable as you take multiple shots.

Grab a tripod with you

Sometimes a photographer’s attitude, professional gear setup, and charisma can help on the job as people trust you more. Grab it with you, and you most probably won’t regret it. It will give you a cooler look and help you arrange everything. Besides, you will not have to have your gear always in your hands or hanging on your neck.  Tripod will help you to stay organized, keep the perfect lighting conditions for each group and save time if you have dozens of people that want photos together. Set it up in the well-lit area, and get ready to take multiple shots.


Always plan ahead and when you get ready for your photoshoot. Explore the location, ask questions, and be wise with how you use your time with group photos for big events. Remember about different sources of lighting and bring your tripod just in case. Smile, stay confident, and use your sense of humor to charm everyone and keep them focused on getting the perfect shots. Enjoy the results!