Photographing groups and families: 15 tips for taking better group photos

Whether it’s a family party, out with friends, a school field trip, or an employee photo for the company page on Facebook- Occasions for Group photos there are enough. We tell you what you should pay attention to, so that photos of the whole family and other groups succeed better.

Photographing a family or a group of people, is not always easy- to get a convincing picture, it is very important that the people in the picture really look like a group. Putting the little ones in the front and the bigger ones in the back and making sure that the ones in the back always see through the gap between two heads of the ones in the front is important, but it’s not enough if you want to get a really great group shot. Get more out of your family and group photos with these tips.

1. Move in close together

To show that the people pictured are a group or a family, they should move close together and- especially when shooting a family or friends- also touch. If the distance between the individuals is too great, do not perceive them as a group, but as individuals.

Your job as the photographer is to instruct the group on this- take plenty of time to do this. Sometimes subtlety is necessary here. Extra tip for wedding photos or pictures from a birthday party: If you want the bride and groom or the birthday girl to stand out in the group shot, you need to position them appropriately, z.B. at the very front in the middle with a small distance to the rest of the group, standing in a semicircle- simply tell the couple or the birthday girl or boy to take two or three steps towards you. This may be uncomfortable for some at first, but it will pay off.

Tips group photos close together - photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

2. Stay at eye level

To keep people natural and not distorted, you should always use ca. at eye level. D.h. For children and groups that are smaller than you, crouch down a bit or use a tripod at a suitable height.

For creative shots, this effect can of course be deliberately "abused" and make for interesting pictures z.B. provide a bird’s eye view.

Tips for group photos Eye level - photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

3. Pay attention to the background

Even if Group or family photos everything revolves around the image of several people, you must not completely forget the background. A branch behind a subject’s head can quickly create unintended comical effects, or a trash can can sneak into the photo in a disturbing way. So, after you have focused the central subject, be sure to pay attention to the edges of the picture again.

If the environment itself offers itself as a motif, you can of course include it in the photo. The company logo on the building, a beautiful mountain range in the background or a golden deciduous tree in autumn are just a few examples.

Tips group photos with background - photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

4. Choose the right focal length

Classically you use for group photos with your camera A small focal length – Do not select too shallow a depth of field, otherwise distortions of people at the edges may occur. Take a few steps back if necessary rather than working at ultra-wide angle (rule of thumb: under 18 mm).

So focal lengths can range from wide angle to light telephoto (z.B. 85 mm 1.8 from Canon display ) can be used. It all depends on what you want to convey. Groups in combination with a beautiful landscape work well at wide angle. If you work with longer focal lengths, you fade out the background and focus more on the people themselves. Here the choice of the image crop also comes into play. Group photos, in which the people are shown from the waist up, look much more personal than a completely depicted group with legs. The focus here is simply even more on the faces.

5. Note the depth of field

In a classic group picture, the family or friends are in focus. Group in rows in front of you. Make sure that the Spread people out in as few rows as possible, otherwise, depending on the focal length / aperture, the depth of field may not be sufficient. Blurred faces in the front or back row are the result. While you could close the aperture further, you may not always have enough light to do so or want to pay too much attention to the background. Always take a test shot first and check the depth of field on the camera by zooming in. On the small screen everything often looks sharp and later on the PC you will notice that not everyone is in focus..

Tips for group photos Depth of field - Photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

6. Focus on the right light

Light always plays a crucial role in photography. At Outdoor group photos slightly cloudy days or evenly shaded locations offer the best light. This creates nice soft contrasts and the group is pleasantly illuminated.

If you’re photographing in direct sunlight, make sure the sun is coming from the front (standing behind the group)- this counteracts too prominent contours in the faces and nobody squints their eyes. Low backlight, ideally in the early morning or late evening hours, is optimal. It’s also important to have even lighting- make sure that z.B. Individuals do not stand in the shadow or are shaded by z.B. Ästen "blotchy appear.

Indoors, large windows lend themselves as Natural light sources at. In some cases you can even use a large white wall as a reflector. If you work with ceiling lamps, pay attention to the shadows in the faces. sometimes a step of the group forward or backward works wonders.

Whether indoors or outdoors, with reflectors display or flashes you can often get even more out of the shots and you can really control your light completely yourself.

Tips group photos light mood - photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

7. Tips for using a flash

If you want to use aids, you can Use reflectors to brighten up faces or use a flash. If you have an external flash display, you can use it specifically and illuminate your pictures even better for example, if you flash indirectly to the ceiling. We will dedicate a separate article to the topic of flash photography and of course link it here.

Attention: If possible, avoid using the built-in flash of your camera, as this emits very hard light and also usually only illuminates part of the group. In the dark and when no larger flash unit is at hand, however, this is unavoidable.

8. Pay attention to the group pose

At Photos outdoors you can arrange the group in front of a railing, those on the outside can place their hands loosely on the railing. A staircase with steps can also be put to good use: A group arranged on different steps provides loosening up in the picture- of course this also works for indoor shots.

Not all people have to be sitting or standing. A mixture of sitting and standing people brings a certain dynamic and depth into the picture. Extra tip: Have a look at some band photos, here you will find many interesting group poses!

Tips group photos band - Photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

9. Ensure a unified look

Of course, every person looks different and as a photographer you can’t always influence the style of clothing. Make sure, however, that you make an announcement before the picture like "Please take all your jackets with you (or not)". Also the subject Sunglasses in the picture you should for a "group look" clarify before pressing the shutter button. Don’t let it be said "Who is your bodyguard in the picture??”.

10. Accessories in the picture

The backpack and poles while hiking, the cup of mulled wine at the Christmas market, the report card at graduation, or as in the picture above, the bouquets of flowers… You may calmly recognize at first sight where and why the group picture was taken. Accessories create the right mood in the group and lend a Authentic overall image. Also, it’s often easier for the people taking the photo if they are holding something in their hands.

Tips Group Photos Accessories - Photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

11. Lighten the mood

Until a group photo is really in the box, it can sometimes take longer- especially the little ones are quickly bored. Good mood comes when you have clear Instructions with wit and charm give. In this way you also prevent that no one stands too stiffly and waits with a motionless expression as if frozen until you pull the trigger. A little trick to loosen up and get blink-free pictures: Have everyone close their eyes and open them again on the count of three. If you take 2-3 serial pictures here, you will surely have one in the box.

Tips group photos relaxed mood - photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

12. Implement unusual ideas

Besides classic family or group photos, where you place everyone in an orderly fashion, there’s nothing to stop you from trying something different: Make the group jump in the air or make a funny grimace on your command. You can also play with the perspectives- the Frog perspective can produce unusual pictures or you can photograph your group elevated from a ladder or table. Tip: After such small interludes, the mood is usually also looser and you can make some nice "natural" take pictures.

Tips group photos Springbild - photographing groups and families: 15 tips for better group photos

13. Tripod: More than just a steady hand

No matter how much you’ve thought about the perfect positioning, how much you’ve created a relaxed atmosphere, and how much you’ve set up the right settings- you’re ready to go if you don’t hold your hand steady, whether you shoot with a camera or a smartphone, blurry, shaky shots will be the result. Put your arms on or use an object to support your arm or get a tripod Display . With the Use a tripod and maybe even a remote shutter release, you can communicate much better with the group. You might even get a sneaky shot while everyone is looking at you instead of the camera.

14. Make preparations

Not everyone has the stamina in front of the camera, and especially at parties like weddings or big family gatherings, you don’t want to keep people away from the party for too long. Before group shooting, it’s best to first take out a test person and make Test shots. Fits the illumination? Could disturb something in the background? If the location and settings are right, you can ask the entire group to come to the photo shoot and get right to work.

15. Take a lot of pictures

Have you positioned all suitably, the lighting conditions and the backgrounduberpruft, then press the trigger often – that increases the chance that you’ll get a picture where everyone has their eyes open and looking into the camera. Besides: digital pictures cost nothing, except storage space!

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