In FroKnowsPhoto Show #6 Jared and I discussed group portraits since we had photographed a big group of about 200 people at UG7. He had a cherry picker and the perfect conditions for it.
Unfortunately most of the time that is not the case. We need to pose everyone correctly in order to have them looking their best. In my video I discuss how to position everyone so their faces can be seen, higher angles, large and small group portraits and a few other small tips which make a huge difference in the overall photograph.
Gregg kazar low fro knows photo dot-com this week's show or should say Sunday's froknowsphoto show Jared and I talked a little bit about portraits and also about group shots because he had done that big group and we hit Jayde asked me well what had I done in the past and so this is one of my recent big groups and I thought I'd go over some of the things that I've done as far as posing those groups I think that's the most important part of that in you know setting up people is that posing part so let's go over that number one is the line of fire company here I had done this group back a couple months ago back in November and number one they have something interesting in the shot with them let's talk about the set up before we talk about the people we have the truck on an angle in front of the firehouse we have the flagpole here we have everything is it has a you know has a nice flow to it and a nice angle to it instead of being straight on I like to show more dimension and bringing your eyes around in an image rather than having everything straight on all the time so that's why I had put the truck where it is next thing is bringing in all of the people now number one when you're doing this you need to be confident about it you can't just be sitting back and meek about it you know you need to be confident you need to be strong about what you want because you get people to listen to you if you're not strong about what's going to end up happening is they're just going to keep talking and talking and talking because that's what people do is they talk and you're not going to get the shot so I will raise my voice obviously I'm a big guy so that helps but I will make it known that look at you know we want to get this done we want to give horns that everyone can do what else these are the things that they want to do so that's what raising your voice and having that confidence to tell everybody what to do and how to stand where that comes in now next step once we have the items posed we need to start posing people now this is the best way that i have found to pose people and that is always posing them at an angle okay you start off in the middle you get the two senior most people in this case the current chief right here Mike Holmes and the former chief right here Richard Ruth and so we have them in the middle and then we start flanking them with more and less important people as we go out typically especially an organization like this or say a big group photo for a some kind of a fortune 500 or 5,000 company and like anyway that kind of a big company you're going to have a CEO or an CFOs and more officers that you would want to have in the middle all right so that is that's why we start them in the middle and as you can see it actually looks good with them in the middle since they have their additional stripes on their class that uniform actually makes a difference all right actually looks good instead of having them way out here on the side and actually works all right so next step we start off with them posed facing one another in a v-shape if if this was a bride and groom we would do the same thing we would have them in a v-shape but they would maybe be a little bit closer together put their arms around each other's waist and behind and then make sure that they're not wrapping their hands all the way around so that we can see fingers hanging out in between the arm and the body always hide that hand back behind so there's not like this little growth that's coming around that's what I call it anyway and I get to get a laugh out of that all the time so we're posing like this everybody is on that angle and they've walked in really nice and close and as you can see the advantage of that is I can easily see everyone I can see everybody's faces and they can look right at me and there's no issues and so that makes for a very nice portrait now there are times when you might need a few levels of people so what I've done in the past is I've actually had this is the might be the standing row but then I might have a sitting row in front and if I need it even third row I might have say a row of people sitting on the floor if it was kids I had the kids sitting on the floor in front and then sometimes I'd even have a fourth row where I'd have a row of chairs behind and people would stand on those chairs and so that will give me four easy rows so chairs standing chairs seated and then seated on the ground or on the floor and that would give me four nice rows and they've and a couple advantages of that is number one you can still see everybody number two you don't have to be up on a ladder in order to see everybody all right now as you see here something else that I will that I always look at is the hands see the hands here some people have their hands relaxed like this gentleman has his hand as fingers very nice and relaxed but then this gentleman has a little bit of a fist clench well you want to try and get everybody to relax their hands you don't want it to be perfectly straight which is still uncomfortable and stiff but you just want to just relaxed and relax the fingers and not in that the the fish clenched position just so the fingers are down naturally now in this image we actually have another row up here which is good everybody seated and facing forward and hands on the knees one other thing I will mention when you have groups you never you always want to have the hands at the sides and especially with men you want the hands at the sides you never never never want to have the hands crossed in front I always heard that called as a soccer pose where your your hands are full your fingers are folded in front of you it doesn't look good it looks uncomfortable and it's much better to have your hands at your sides we're behind the back with the fingers together if they absolutely have to be you're much much better off with that rather than in the front it just it looks so uncomfortable and so bad and just doesn't look good I've never seen one of those in a good one except for women but men never just does not work so that's the first one and let's see what's next here here's another group same idea shot about two or three weeks before with another local fire company now same thing they're fire cut they're fire houses in the back we actually stopped closed off the street in order to get this photo for about 30 minutes all right we started off with the Chiefs and the officers in the middle and then we worked everyone out everyone's on in their uniforms they're all on an angle as I said fingers relaxed all that stuff but as you see instead of being up whoops wrong photo instead of being up high like I am here I was actually standing on one of the fire trucks for this photo this one I was actually at ground level for this and it's still fine I can still see everyone's faces you know no one is blocking anyone's face anything like that so it's not an issue at all so that pose this posing technique works very very well next photo there you go another one this is I shot in one of my classes that I did last year and is actually publicized on the back of a of the the local book for for this night school so that was cool anyway we have one person in the middle and then we have people on an angle and the key to this I think when you're when you're doing this is getting their feet turned alright once their feet or turn they're going to naturally move and they're going to be in the right position but a lot of people will just try and move their you know move their shoulders or something like that and you actually want to have them turn their feet into the right position and then what I what I say what I do is I I say turn your feet and then walk in and when they walk in they get nice and close and they fill the frame or you know fill to fill in this less dead space and there's no big spaces in between and that's the best way to go now in a lot of groups especially like this group I actually shot this a 2.8 which actually isn't a good example but in a lot of groups you'll see you probably want to go to F 4 F 5.6 especially in a studio when you're shooting a group of people for a portrait a family portrait that kind of thing you have four or five six people in that kind of a group then you'll definitely want to have a number of like shoot at it like five six something like that alright next photo is a family one all right so I actually broke my own rule in this image and I only shot at 2.8 because I wanted maximum bokeh in the background so that they would really be separate the family would be separated from that background now I also have here the unedited version of this image I with exception of the black and white and you'll see all these little spots and they're really really easy to edit out but a lot of people don't realize what they are and they're actually bugs I'm actually bugs flying around in the air they take no time to edit out just the key to that is just to grow it get the smallest spot tool you can just get a really small brush and then go in and edit them out but anyway gather bugs there's a bunch of them right there loot in a final image I would always edit those out you can even see them in front of the shirt here so anyway a couple things about this image I'm on a low angle with them so that I can see the background very nice it works shooting at a high angle you're going to get all kinds of grass you're not going to get that perspective and it works a lot better one other thing that I'll do a lot with groups is form a triangle okay triangles are very interesting to the eye and anytime you can get a good a some kind of a triangle going in a portrait you will end up with a better image and it's more interesting because your eyes just stay inside of that triangle keep bouncing around one other thing with group photos especially family groups like this is you always want to try and have the eyes on different levels his eyes are slightly higher than hers and then the kids are on different levels you don't want them on one street level going all the way across that's typically a bad thing so try to stay away from that alright kids can always be posed either in mom and dad's lap or in between the younger ones almost always going to lap and usually the oldest boy or girl we can either sit them off to the side here or stand them in behind that gives you an even stronger triangle all right so that's a nice group photo now last one is a good one same week same family as I should say same session I think I photographed these guys about six let's say five or six times for all the kids as they've grown up so anyway this is the final one and this group photo I had set them down on a wall or something like that and this photo is just priceless when we have the boy and you know he has a really straight face but she has this huge smile on her face and just loved it now if you can get shots like this you know these are the ones that really really sell these are the prints that they're going to want really big they're going to want a lot of copies of because they're going to be able to give it to everybody that it's going to be the christmas card and it's going to be this it's going to be that and so there this is an image that you're really going to cherish and with kids you have to be ready getting kids in the groups when you're especially when you just do when the three of them is really really difficult just you just have to be patient and keep telling them and keep shooting and not chimp and just know that your shot is on in order to get the good expressions and sometimes you got to do what you got to do you have to actually go even farther and edit the photos sometimes I got to pull eyes or faces or noses or mouths or you know from one image to another in order to really make it work and I have done that sometimes the kids just aren't cooperating enough in order to make it work so this is one of those times where I didn't have to edit it a thing in fact this is actually a raw image I haven't even touched it haven't even edited it it's so cute it just stands on its own so hopefully you guys have learned a lot about posing groups and if you have any questions thoughts on it I loved here especially in the forum Gregg Casilla fro knows photo comm Thea [Applause]