How to take great group photos

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By Lorenzo E. Mendoza

The Scribe's Corner

Sunday, January 19, 2014


DIRECTOR’S Cut: (This portion features the thoughts of DepED 11 Regional Director Gloria D. Benigno, CESO IV to all stakeholders and recipients of the efforts to improve the basic education) "I am your team leader, you are my team mates, together, let us work as a team.”

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I have encountered numerous people reading my columns and would tell me that they need to have some tips on how to take good group photos. Below is the summary of the post of a well known Australian professional photographer, Darren Rose: Group photos happen everywhere from weddings, to camps, to parties, to sporting teams, to school etc.

While there will always be such challenges with Group Photos there are a number of things you can do to help improve your chances of getting the shot you’re after:

Prepare. There is nothing that will make of people posing for a photograph turn upon you faster than you not being prepared. People don’t like to be kept waiting so think ahead about some of the aspects needed in your photo:

Location. Choose a position where your group will fit, where there is enough light for the shot and where there are no distractions in the background. Also avoid setting up a group shot directly in front of a window where the light from your flash might reflect back in a way that destroys your shot.

Take Multiple Shots. One of the best ways to avoid the problems of not everyone looking just right in a shot is to take multiple photos quickly. I often switch my camera into continuous shooting mode when taking group shots and shoot in short bursts of shots. I find that the first shot is often no good but that the one or two directly after it often give a group that looks a little less posed and more relaxed.

Get in Close. Try to get as close as you can to the group you’re photographing (without cutting some members of it out of course). The closer you can get the more detail you’ll have in their faces – something that really lifts a shot a lot.

Pose the group. In most cases your group will pose itself pretty naturally (we’ve all done it before). Tall people will go to the back, short people to the front.

Timing Your Shoot Well. Pick the moment for your shot carefully. Try to choose a time that works with what is happening at the gathering that you’re at. I find it best to do a group shot when the group is already close together if possible and when there is a lull in proceedings.

Think about Light. In order to get enough detail in your subjects you need to have sufficient light. The way you get this varies from situation to situation but consider using a flash if the group is small enough and you are close enough for it to take effect – especially if the main source of light is coming from behind the group.

Take Control. I’ve been in a number of group photos where the photographer almost lost control of his subjects by not being quick enough but also by not communicating well with their group of subjects. It is important to keep talking to the group, let them know what you want them to do, motivate them to smile, tell them that they look great and communicate how much longer you’ll need them for.

For large groups. Large groups of people can be very difficult to photograph as even with staggering people and tiering to make the back people higher you can end up being a long way back to fit everyone in.

Use a Tripod. Set your camera up on your tripod so that’s ready to take the shot in terms of framing, settings and focus and then it will be ready at an instant when you get the group looking just right to capture the moment.

Use an Assistant. If you have a very large group and assistant can be very handy to get the group organized well.

Smile. Yes YOU should smile! There’s nothing worse than a grumpy stressed out photographer. Have fun and enjoy the process of getting your shots and you’ll find the group will too.
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You can access DepED Updates, latest issuances, photos and other relevant information through our website: region11.deped.gov.ph and our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/deped.regionxi. For comments, suggestions and/or contributions, send your email to depedregion11@gmail.com. For queries, complains and other concerns, call DepED Region 11 at (082) 227-9342 or fax to (082) 227-1102 and (082) 221-6147.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 20, 2014.

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