"Great Group Shots" - Digital Photography Podcast 49


Sooner or later, every photographer is asked to take a group shot. In this podcast, I explain the ins and outs of this type of assignment so you can get satisfying results every time. I've also publish a blog post titled, Tips for Great Group Shots that complements this podcast.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Great Group Shots." You can download the podcast here (32 minutes).

Photo of Larry Lessig speaking at an O'Reilly Conference by Derrick Story.

See It in Person

If you're in Northern California on the weekend of October 7, stop by the Macintosh Computer Expo and sit in on my iPhoto 6 Tips and Tricks session. It's free, and I'll show you this tip plus lots of other cool iPhoto goodies. For those who really want to dig into some shooting techniques, stick around another day and sign up for my Digital Photography Made Amazing half day workshop on Oct. 8. But sign up early because seating is limited.

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Great podcast! So often we have to do this, and so often not discussed this way. I love portrait work, a handful of selective (outdoor) weddings and event photography every year. Group shots are always a challenge. Lighting, composition, standing, sitting, leaning, posing, smiling, eyes closed, everybody looking the same direction but one, etc.
I agree to keep the energy up...so often the group will get ready for only the first shot, then start to fall apart. Keeping it light, fun and engaging keeps them ready longer and lets you work the shot to get all you need.
One reason I love digital photography is the interaction with the people and their photo session. Being able to show them occasionally what they are getting keeps them engaged. Be careful with kids, often they love to see the results, which helps, but sometimes they want to see every shot! Or the person that is worried how they look in every shot. Stay in control.
I try to only do outdoor photography with as much natural good light as I can get. If at all possible, when I know I am going to shoot group shots, I will go the day before in the same light and time. Then I can see the lighting issues and challenges and opportunities. Sometimes I hear "oh the area is so pretty and the light is good" but only 8 square feet of it is useable where they were thinking. Fine for 2 people, but not 10.
I also agree about light stands for the most part. The one area I use them is when there is one magic spot on location that allows you to do pre-setup then "set them and leave them" throughout the session. The other benefit of light stands is once you get the light set, it does not move. If I am lighting a group with open shade and have three remote speedlights for fill flash, I don't want those moving around much in between group adjustments and have surprise shadows anywhere. Clamps are handy sometimes too: tree branches, railings, fence posts, etc make for impromptu holders for reflectors or speedlights. I don't often have the luxury of a lot of assistants.
Group shots are usualy one of those things too that you only get a few locations, maybe only one, to pull off if time is short.
The more people to work with, the fewer settings I have available for time. Plus some of the people may start to tire of the process and will show on their face. So visualize, setup, bring them in, get the great shots, then play with options.

Great additional tips Landon...