How Many Shots Do You Need to Prevent a Blink?


An Australian scientist has calculated how many frames you need to record during a group shot to give you the best odds that at least one image will have everyone with their eyes open. In the article, Picture Perfect: How to Make Blink-Free Holiday Photos, physicist Piers Barnes calculates the average number of times a person blinks (10 per minute), how long a blink lasts (250 milliseconds), camera shutter speed (8 milliseconds in a typical setting), and the number of people in the group.

The article goes on to provide some rules of thumb for shooting in both good light and bad. It's interesting stuff, and the formulas work out to about the same as experience has taught me over years of working weddings -- I average about 5 frames for most group shots.

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I've had good luck just by not dawdling around - get the picture taken quickly. I think if you do that, and take multiple shots (without dawdling on any of them), you have a better chance of success. It also helps your subjects' expressions to appear less strained.

I really hate it when someone wants to take a posed group shot, and you wait for the shutter, and wait, and wait... it's no wonder people blink, and the smiles look so phoney!

Really good advice Travis. I agree. Working quickly increases your odds of getting a good shot. And your subjects will love your for it.

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