How to Take Great Group Photos

How to Take Great Group Photos


In this post we want to give you 12 tips for taking great group photos.

One of the most common types of digital photographs is the ‘group photo‘.

They happen everywhere from weddings, to camps, to parties, to sporting teams, to school etc.

There must be thousands of group photos taken each day around the world – however unfortunately many of the group photos that I see in my friendship group and on Flickr would leave their photographers disappointed with the results for a variety of reasons.

Common group photo mistakes and problems include:

  • one or more subjects always seem to be looking away or in different directions (ie at different photographers)
  • subjects blinking (there’s always one)
  • someone being missing from the photo
  • different moods in the group (some smiling, some serious, some playing up to the camera etc)
  • the group being too far away or not all fitting into the shot

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:

1. 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 following aspects of your photo:

  • scope out the location of your shot before hand
  • think ahead about how you will pose people and frame your shot
  • one of the group’s head hiding behind another person
  • make sure everyone you want in the shot knows you want them a few minutes ahead of time
  • make your your camera is on and has charged batteries

2. Location

The place that you have your group stand is important to group shots for a number of reasons. For starters it can give the photo context – for example a shot of a sporting team on their playing field means more than a shot of them in front of a brick wall. The other reason that choosing locations carefully is important is that it can have distractions in it.

Get Free Weekly Digital Camera Tips via Email

Choose a position where your group will fit, where there is enough light for the shot and where there is 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.

3. 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.

Similarly – shoot some frames off before everyone is ready – sometimes the organization of a group shot can be quite comical with people tell each other where to go and jostling for position.

Also mix up the framing of your shots a little if you have a zoom lens by taking some shots that are at a wide focal length and some that are more tightly framed.

4. 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.

If your group is a smaller one get right in close to them and take some head and shoulder shots. One effective technique for this is to get your small group to all lean their heads in close to enable you to get in even closer. Another way to get in closer is to move people out of a one line formation and stagger them but putting some people in front and behind.

5. 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. But there are other things you can do to add to the photo’s composition:

  • If the event is centered around one or two people (like a wedding or a birthday) make them the central focal point by putting them right in the middle of the group (you can add variation to your shots by taking some of everyone looking at the camera and then everyone looking at the person/couple).
  • For formal group photos put taller members in the group not only towards the back of the group but centered with shorter people on the edges of the group.
  • Try not to make the group too ‘deep’ (ie keep the distance between the front line of people and the back line as small as you can). This will help to keep everyone in focus. If the group is ‘deep’ use a narrower aperture.
  • Tell everyone to raise their chins a little – they’ll thank you later when they see the shot without any double chins!

6. 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.

Also towards the start of events can be a good time as everyone is all together, they all look their best and if there is alcohol involved no one is too under the weather yet.

7. 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.

If it’s a bright sunny day and the sun is low in the sky try not to position it directly behind you or you’ll end up with a collection of squinting faces in your shot.

8. 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.

Also important is to give your subjects a reason to pose for the photograph. For example at a wedding you might motivate people to pose by saying ‘((insert name of couple being married here)) have asked me to get some group shots’ or at a sporting event ‘lets take a group photo to celebrate our win’. When you give people a reason to pose for you you’ll find they are much more willing to take a few minutes to pose for you.

Another very useful line to use with group is – ‘If you can see the camera it can see you’. This one is key if you want to be able to see each person’s face in the shot.

If there are more photographers than just you then wait until others have finished their shots and then get the attention of the full group otherwise you’ll have everyone looking in different directions.

Of course you don’t want to be a dictator when posing your group or you could end up with lots of group shots of very angry people. The best photographers know how to get people’s attention, communicate what they want but also keep people feeling relaxed and like they are having fun.

9. 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.

One solution to this is to find a way to elevate yourself as the photographer. If I’m photographing a wedding and the couple wants one big group shot I’ll arrange for a ladder to be present (I’ve even climbed up onto church roofs) to take a shot looking down on the group. In doing this you can fit a lot more people in and still remain quite close to the group (you end up with a shot of lots of faces in focus and less bodies). It also gives an interesting perspective to your shots – especially if you have a nice wide focal length.

10. Use a Tripod

There are a number of reasons why using a tripod when taking photographs of groups can be useful. Firstly a tripod communicates that you’re serious about what you’re doing and can help you get their attention (it’s amazing what a professional looking set up can make people do). Secondly it gives you as the photographer more freedom to be involved in the creation of the posing of your subjects. 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.

11. Use an Assistant

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

An assistant is also incredibly handy if you are taking multiple group shots (like at a wedding when you’re photographing different configurations of a family). In these cases I often ask the couple to provide me with a family or friend member who has a running sheet of the different groups of people to be photographed. I then get this person to ensure we have everyone we need in each shot. Having a family member do this helps to make sure you don’t miss anyone out but also is good because the group is familiar with them and will generally respond well when they order them around.

12. 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. I usually come home from a wedding which I’ve photographed with an incredibly sore jaw-line from all the smiling because I find the best way to get the couple and their family to relax and smile is to smile at them. It really does work.


One more quick tip. Get a little Creative!

This post has been updated from its original form – originally posted in June 2006.

Enjoy this Post? – Subscribe to DPS today

Read more from our category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Andrew Hind August 23, 2013 12:20 am

    Great post. In my experience the top tip has to be to take multiple shots - rather than using the camera on burst mode as you say above I will often take two or three in succession to hopefully avoid blinks and then talk to the group hopefully to create a different expression and do the same again. The 3-2-1 count down is also great for avoiding blinking!

  • Chris Renton July 17, 2013 12:16 am

    Getting up above a large group is always a good idea if you can - always handy to have a ladder in the boot! I would also add that for smaller groups, a mid to zoom focal length often looks much better than shooting wide angle as it is more flattering and can blur out the background.

  • Jonathan June 29, 2013 03:13 am

    How about camera settings? What aperture would be appropriate when you have multiple rows or single rows of people? Where should the focus point be? Should we use multiple focus? Is it possible to take a picture of a group of people but still have the background defocused?

  • Kim Rix June 18, 2013 10:12 pm

    Darren, your tips will come in handy, thank you. Photographing groups can be rather challenging. Don't get me wrong, I love a challenge, but even by asking 'can everyone see me?', it doesn't guarantee that everyone is in full view. Sadly, on occasions, I have found that despite asking the question, some camera-shy people have (probably intentionally) hidden themselves just everso slightly. As the photographer, it's not easy to spot at the time.

  • Ian Baker June 7, 2013 11:42 pm

    Some really good tips here, Darren. I think rapport is absolutely key to getting group pictures, especially large ones. I always say "if you can't see me then I probably can't see you" as getting every face in is one of the toughest tasks! That and getting a shot of kids without one of them giving the bunny fingers or poking their tongues out...

  • Susie May 20, 2013 10:40 pm

    thanks for another great article with some interesting tips. Love the reply about Microsoft group shots - I'll have to look at that.
    Not sure I like the idea of asking everyone to close their eyes and then open them on the count of three... That takes a lot of trust and in a wedding party there can be a lot of people... I generally find that by being professional and efficient, the shots come out beautifully - just making sure everyone is looking at the camera! Keep engaging your subjects - smile and talk to them. Susie

  • AJ Dooley April 8, 2013 09:22 am

    The high angle is very useful if you can secure a shooting position. It helps see faces in the back row, people looking up reduced baggy shins and it is different. As a rough rule, divide the number of people by 3: that's how many shots you need to be almost sure you get one with all open eyes. Finally, count to 3, but shoot between 2 and 3. Of course, today's digital cameras enable lots of shots, which can be sorted and discarded when you find the "winner."

  • Lea May 2, 2012 07:37 pm

    How do you position everyone if there are, say, 5 adults and then one smaller child? Firstly, how do you get the smaller child into the shot nicely, without having everyone leaning in to them, and secondly, if the adults are all about the same height, how do you position them and avoid their heads hiding each other?

  • Tricia April 14, 2012 02:15 am

    I'm just sating out with indoor portrait stuff. I usually do weddings. Can someone tell me what is the best lighting systems are out there? and how many lights should one have for a large group.

  • Prophoto - Wedding Photographer Perth February 14, 2012 08:35 pm

    As a wedding photographer I often have to take large groups of people and It’s fairly easy to cut and paste individual faces in Photoshop so that you get all the group with eyes open and great smile's.

  • Alfred Sunday January 19, 2012 04:20 am

    Indeed, the group pix are nice especially the wedding pix. But how can one get a good shot with details when it involves a large group without an elevator?

  • Alfred Sunday January 19, 2012 04:11 am

    great lesson! Simple but very key...

  • Jay January 7, 2012 04:50 am

    There is a really cool app for group photos called groupshot which you should add to this article. It is so easy to use and works so well. as for this post, it is excellent. I loved the picture with the kids in the water. Awesome!

  • Eboni November 4, 2011 01:08 am

    Great tips. Do you have any tips for taking photographs of bands?
    I have location and time sorted but I've taken a few for them before and one of them always pulls a stupid face.
    This work is for my GCSEs (I'm in high school in the U.K) and I need a way to make them all look serious and sullen (in a way)
    They are an Up and Coming rock band and the next set of photos I'm taking could be used for their next album cover and to put onto posters
    Thanks x

  • Dewan Demmer September 8, 2011 10:08 pm

    This is a really pratical information, which in general can be applied to most photo situations. I know for myself I try to get a lay of the land, as it were before getting the subjects involved, it not only saves time but helps give a sense of purpose when you directing and setting up the scene.
    Location, location, location ... just like real estate the more relevant the location the more the photo will appeal.
    I know I already shoot more shots than I need to and and in fact I am working on cutting back, that said I agree multiple shots is a win and shooting people getting into position sometimes brings out the winning shot.

    I admit large scale of 20+ people I still have not done, smaller groups yes.
    Actually here is a group shot I have done, simple, relevant to the people involved and quite fun.

  • T.White September 8, 2011 03:50 am

    Could someone tell me what to set the can on to get the sharpest group photo... Do you let the camera choose the focus ? I only have a 7 point and 9 point so it doesnt cover a family of 16 ... Or do you focus on the person in the middle with the center focus ? Please help !!

  • Chrissy Puntasecca September 4, 2011 04:03 am

    Thanks for having such helpful tips!! I really learned a lot from this. I just started out doing photography this summer semester at college. I have fell in love with it ever since. I look at things so much more differently than I would have before. I want to minor in photography, so hopefully I can be known around. :)

  • denver photographers August 4, 2011 01:06 am

    Nice tips. Indeed the last pic is very unique, nicely conceptualized. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jenny J. Smith July 14, 2011 01:07 am

    Boy did I needed this article badly! I will be carefully taking my family pictures! Thank you very much

  • Cecile Perrin July 12, 2011 07:47 am

    Thanks for the wonderful tips. I will definitely be studying this article until Wednesday when I have to take group shots of 15 people. God Bless!

  • Montrese July 12, 2011 12:54 am

    any ideas/tips for photographing kids birthday parties and babyshowers

  • Susanna Lee July 10, 2011 01:09 am

    Hello, i am just getting started with photography & all of these tips were great BUT i can not seem to figure out how to get the whole group to get in focus? even when i use all the AF point selection someone always seems to be out of what settings do you use to take pics of large groups? do you do a higher
    Fstop(aperture) to get everything in focus ? THANKS for your help!

  • Chelsea June 26, 2011 01:00 am

    WOW! im really interested in photography and im only 14. im like a beginner at this and reading this has helped me alot and its only been a few minutes and i already know things about photography!! thanks

  • Jenny J. Smith June 22, 2011 08:24 am

    Great article it helped so much to be ready for my family shots!

  • Jayna Amiri June 16, 2011 05:15 pm

    Seriously awesome article! You clearly did a great deal of exploration on this, so great task. I am going to make guaranteed to bookmark your webpage too!

  • ellen gager April 24, 2011 05:57 am

    OK. So how did the photographer do the last picture? 360 fisheye?????

  • Chillikopi March 23, 2011 07:02 am

    I often taken take group photo in class with Dslr but always have blurr vision of the people on both ends.
    Can anyone help?

  • Giles Hodgskins March 8, 2011 06:05 pm

    Hi, As a Regimental Photographer I take a lot of group shots, (Courses, Exercises etc) and as it is for the military I have little to worry about with people not looking at the camera, or not being to deep etc), but there is always something to learn so thank you for this great piece, very much like the fisheye, I am now thinking about using it for a kids school fun day photo with them all in their fancy dress, printed out in a circular frame would look great and all the kids can see their full costumes, and as for the grass area? well, that is the perfect space to put some text in! Thanks again!

  • Rhonda Schaefer February 23, 2011 04:34 am

    What I am wondering is how to get everyone sharp...which lens do you use? yes tripod helps but still,
    I have a Canon 5 D and am not sure my camera is set properly....a fixed 50mm 24-70mm and a 70 to 200mm...please advise...thanks!

  • Margaret February 16, 2011 02:38 am

    Okay....HOW did they do the final shot???? I WANNA KNOW!!! :D

  • arianna February 13, 2011 11:21 am

    this was so incredibly helpful thank you so much

  • Deborah Besanson February 5, 2011 02:51 am

    Hi I was wondering I am taking a picture on saturday of a Tai Chi group of 125! there is only a small stage that is about 1 foot by 12 feet long. This is the biggest group ever taken...and I don't know how to get the best shot! There is a staircase I'm told in the University when you first come in other than that what would you suggest? I have a Nikon d300 with a wide angle of 17-55mm that's the only wide angle I have other than a telephoto lens?
    can you give me any ideas? thank you so much Deborah Besanson

  • Camila December 24, 2010 03:09 am

    These tips have been a great help!! They make ne wish to take more and more photos, each one trying to do something better! Thank you very much! I am always checking upon this website!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  • Ajmer thind December 22, 2010 10:42 pm

    . Thanx now after reading this i am sure i can click a good group picture..

  • Jill December 6, 2010 09:34 pm

    Where do I put my focus point in a group shot or a shot of two people or more.How do i do It .Help.i keep getting a bit blurred

  • A. C. Cooley November 26, 2010 07:40 am

    The circle photo would really have been more fun if everyone was ying on the groung with their heads together and their feet out like a sunflower. Has anyone tried that?

  • Devonnn September 24, 2010 10:49 pm

    this is absolutely amazing, this helped me so much!

  • Bob Masiello September 18, 2010 11:46 pm

    Very nice tips on "Group Shots". I would love to see a follow up article on how some of the shots were taken, as well as how to use Reflectors, Back Lighting, Light Meters etc.


  • Picture and Poker September 9, 2010 11:58 pm

    Wow! Really great tips!!

    I'm not good at taking group shots but after reading this post, I think I'll be more confident about taking group shots.

    Thank you so much for this very helpful tips.


  • Mandy August 22, 2010 01:06 pm

    Great tips! Love reading all tips and a great photo at the end. I look forward to using a ladder at a reception in a month to take a group photo.

  • Vijay August 11, 2010 03:58 pm

    Very informative article.
    I would like to know the appropriate settings (Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO) for an indoor group photo (Eg: people in 3 rows). When I compensate low light with higher apertures it results in low DOF with some out of focus faces and low shutter speeds results in less sharp images due to movement of people posing for the photo.

  • Mary McGrath June 21, 2010 01:48 am

    Great tips! I'm hoping to land a group gig, and these are handy things to remember...I'll check out some of your other sections.

  • Denver Photographer June 14, 2010 05:35 am

    That shot with everyone standing in a circle is really great. I love your use of creativity to pull off a great shot.

  • Bill June 11, 2010 03:08 am

    Thanks for the group photography tips!

    I am often called upon to photograph a local dance group comprised of people of all colors. If I expose for the darkest skinned, the lightest are washed out, and if I expose for the lightest . . .

    What I do now is shoot a wide exposure range and (gasp) build my final shot with Photoshop using the stamp tool.

    If anyone else has an easier way to cover this situation, I'd love to hear it.


  • Memphis Wedding Photographer May 21, 2010 10:30 am

    Photographing groups of people can be especially challenging when the people being photographed aren't as excited as you are about getting a good photograph. While shooting weddings, I sometimes encounter wedding guests that aren't into being photographed. This is when your personal appeal and your ability to talk to others can be very useful.

  • Robert Fotografia ?lubna May 19, 2010 03:43 am

    Thanks for your hints. I hope with this knowledge group photos can be easier.

  • Los Angeles Wedding Photographer April 25, 2010 07:42 am

    Thanks for sharing this article. Large groups can be a photographic challenge if you are not prepared. Weddings can be extra challenging because people seem to be extra fidgety and ready to get to the party. So, be sure you know how many people you will be dealing with and what shots you want beforehand.

  • Richard March 26, 2010 02:39 am

    I really like the last picture of a 360 round picture...I wanted to know how it was done. I'm going to the Philippines soon for a family reunion and I think this will be a great idea since we are a huge family. Kindly please let me know, I would appreciate it very much.


  • Ampix March 22, 2010 10:26 am

    The tips are great but, what about camera settings ie, ISO, Av, Tv, or Manual settings information. No one includes this kind of information............. It is important too.........

  • Madison Eads February 8, 2010 02:33 am

    I realy could have used these tips when I was starting out! I was recently looking over my photos from the first wedding I photographed and was so dissapointed by the group shots! Mostly because I didn't make sure that everyone was focused on me. Everyone is looking every which way at the other family taking the pictures. I have learned now to stick up for yourself and ask the other family to refreain from getting their snapshots until you are done. Afterall, they are paying YOU for good photographs. And if you have a really unique way of shooting or a unique setup, you don't want uncle harry taking the picture and getting your creative credit.

  • Carl February 6, 2010 05:36 pm

    Great article, it touches all the bases. All groups have reluctant individuals who aren't comfortable in having their picture taken even with other loved ones. Take the extra time to get their attention, gather them to a spot you have previously scouted out for background, lighting and angle. Tell them it will only take up a few minutes of their time and to pretend to like everyone for a moment! Continuous mode shots are great since your odds increase in capturing a memorable photo with everyone present and paying attention to your camera.

  • Jdlink January 17, 2010 07:30 am

    This is very helpful information. There is a lot to get out of this and I look foreward to trying out some of the suggestions tonight. Thanks.

  • Joel December 24, 2009 06:07 pm

    Another life saver, Darren. Thanks. Looking forward to trying it out in a few hours. :-)

  • Memphis Wedding Photographer December 17, 2009 06:56 am

    Great article! As a photographer with experience photographing for wedding clients I wholeheartedly agree with tip #8 about taking control of your subjects and the situation. If the photographer doesn't come across as having full control of the situation your subjects can quickly lose confidence in you and this will come across poorly in the finished portrait.


  • J.R. Durruthy December 10, 2009 02:25 pm

    That last shot is Amazing. Great tips all around. Keep up the information and the good work you do for the pro's and novice alike. I am sure I speak for a lot of people when I say thank you for what you do here.

    J.R. Durruthy

  • awahid December 9, 2009 11:57 pm

    I am not sure when I read your article, but I really wanted to make a group photo like "weaving major & tractor dan".

    I wrote about my experience at

    Thanks for the inspiration...

  • irene jones November 19, 2009 04:15 am

    Great tips. You mentioned using different angles, my favorite is looking up! Recently did an entire blog post all about shooting from alternate perspectives. The main image was taken while I was laying on the ground next to the wedding parties feet.

  • Evolution - World October 31, 2009 08:47 pm

    these are really awesome tips and pics...bundle of thanks

  • Palitha Mannapperuma October 6, 2009 02:31 pm

    I am sure they will come in handy when I take my next group photo. I have always found it very difficult to motivate people to pose for a photograph.Thank you for your tips

  • jasmi October 2, 2009 01:57 pm

    What's suitable setting for group photo using dslr ? A priority or Manual ?

  • bill lewis August 21, 2009 01:36 pm

    One thing that I do when shooting a large group, 150 to 200 people is to manually focus on the second or third row. I will zoom in so my focal point is as large as possible.

    This technique moves my plane of sharpness where I want it to be 1/3 in from the front of the focal point and 2/3 of the group will be behind my focal point.

    I then zoom back to crop the group and I always shoot on "two" more eyes are open. I enjoy your forum.

  • Crum August 6, 2009 11:59 am

    I love the tips. I have just been asked today to shoot a close relative's wedding and I have only shot one other just for fun. This is exactly what I was looking for as well as the other blog for tips on weddings.

    My Photo's

  • deepshek deo August 3, 2009 08:59 am


  • employee time management June 19, 2009 05:00 pm

    sweet, this is perfect for the teenager who constantly goes out to hang out with friends...such as me

  • Aaron Scott Photography June 19, 2009 11:51 am

    Good ideas here. Thanks for the info!

    Aaron Scott Photography

  • vivek vishwakarma May 15, 2009 01:28 pm

    i want to learn proposal photograph for merriage, and engagement in studio. I have studio in india. I want also learn lighting effects and single light photography

  • Donald Norris March 31, 2009 11:06 am

    Great article. Making the formal wedding photos fun is always a challenge. I'm always looking for new ways to do. Thanks you!

  • Gauri March 24, 2009 06:47 am

    The last photograph seems photoshoped..... it has been worked up and joined using multiple shots on a photoeditting software.... i didnt get how it was being done? cud u explain....

  • Angela March 16, 2009 08:25 am

    Hello, thanks for the article. It is very usefull. Within a few days I have to photograph the members of the local council. First individually, later as a group. I wonder if I should bring studio flashes. A lot of light is important for details. Thanks again.

  • Zen Elements February 7, 2009 06:35 pm

    I know this was posted sometime ago but it doesn't make it any less of a gem! Thank you for a fantastic guide to group photography. I picked up a lot, here and all over

    Thanks again!
    Alex | Zen Elements

  • brett January 22, 2009 12:35 pm

    another great post. I have found all the post here very informative

  • Elizabeth November 28, 2008 01:47 pm

    Your tips are terrific! I've really loved reading every single article on here that I could on Digital Photography School, please keep it up and thank you so much!

  • jamesmalibiran November 26, 2008 06:38 pm

    thanks for the great tips.. these are really useful for me.. ^^

  • Boutiquetucan October 21, 2008 03:18 am

    These are great for photographing people....I would love suggestions on how to photograph items. I'm having a hard time with my lighting and set up on my web items. Thanks!

  • October 10, 2008 02:32 am

    This website was very useful for me when I took my first 15+ people family portrait. I feel as though I did a great job and the family, even a year later, is buying more and more prints from me and they just booked me for a new one. Thank you for your group portrait photography advice you have made this a great resource for the public, amateurs and professionals. Thanks again!

  • Susheel Chandradhas October 3, 2008 08:19 am

    Group photographs are always a little more complicated. Nice tips I'm sure they'll come in useful sometime soon.

  • daniel September 27, 2008 07:44 am

    The light is the most important of all. Without light you got nothing

  • John Mc September 11, 2008 10:24 am

    Photos of groups are my biggest bugbear, I really hate those 'stand & stare' shots that you continually see. Now armed with some new tips & tricks from DPS, at least my shots will be fresh & imaginative ... thanx guys

  • paul saulnier September 9, 2008 08:53 pm

    omg ...why didnt you tell me this last week lolol...i took a couple of group photos at a wedding ..yuk out of focus ..the other one not light enough...and still one of the people in the group missing and one person out of focus ...i should have just put my camera on automatic to make sure i didnt screw it up ..oh well it was my first wedding ..i have some of the pics on flickr ...not that good at all time i will be more ready ...thats a promise

  • Ricky September 9, 2008 02:27 pm

    Great job, and some very very good tips. Love the poses, especially since everyone know how hard to get a large group to stay still.

  • juliemarg September 9, 2008 01:27 pm

    What great tips! I'm an amateur photog myself - but I've been learning from the people in my flickr groups. This will help me.

  • Smitty September 9, 2008 02:51 am

    I LOVE the fish-eye shot! Imagine printing that out on a circular bit of photo paper for all of the participants. Very imaginative!

  • Rosh September 9, 2008 02:12 am

    Wow, great tips. We do a lot of group shots. We are shooting three hundred people, on a lift and in the sun this evening.

    It is always a challenge to find interesting ways to shoot groups. We usually divide the group in two and ask one side the turn toward the middle and then the other side and hands at their sides. Unless we are looking for a little action or movement.


  • Corsi Di Fotografia September 9, 2008 02:01 am

    It's not easy to blan and to arrange a Group shot.
    If all the people wear the same clethes you can reach a pattern effect.

  • Embassy Pro Books September 9, 2008 12:37 am

    Def. good planning and preparing goes a long way. You def. want to do your home work before starting any photoshoot.

  • Sunnyman September 9, 2008 12:24 am

    Cool article, and some really creative examples! *smile*

    What I'd like to add is this:

    If you have some basic skill with image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, then you can do as suggested - shoot a couple of pictures in rapid succession - and then actually layer these on top of each other in Photoshop and, using for instance the Eraser tool, choose exactly those faces that have come out the best and hide the rest.

    It takes a bit of skill, though, and you will likely need to do a bit of retouching also to avoid edge effects. Also I recommend having the camera on a tripod.

    Hmmm, and I noticed there was no comment on light in the article. OK, here goes: AVOID having the sun in people's faces! Soft light is best. Also make sure to find a neutral background, as in the nice shot of the group from above, with a brick circle as backdrop. Good luck!

  • daniel September 5, 2008 11:43 am

    Make sure no one else is trying to take the same photo at the same time since a lot of the people in the group will be looking at them instead of you.

  • Tzar August 29, 2008 05:41 am

    Russ, there is no magic formula :) Just keep shooting until you get at least 2 or 3 really great shots.

  • Jonas July 12, 2008 08:37 am

    Tried some of them on my photoblog, but never put them, prefer pictures without people on the blog:

  • RUSS WILKINSON July 12, 2008 01:10 am

    I have seen a formula for calculating the number of shots needed to have everyones eye open in a group shot. It is something like the number in the group divided by 2 multiplied by 6. I am not sure . Does anyone know the formula?


    Russell The Druggist

  • RUSS WILKINSON July 12, 2008 01:07 am

    e mail

    I have seen a formula for the number of shots necessary of a group to have at least one with all the eyes open. I seem to recall the number in the group multiplied by six then divided by two. Does any one knpw for sure.


    Russell the Druggist

  • jamyang July 9, 2008 01:29 pm

    i want to learn more how to take photos

  • Kaylem July 4, 2008 08:14 pm

    i am satisfied with ur information. it is very useful to me. i hope you can give more information about taking pictures at different angle to make it more creative,in that way i will find the information very very useful. i really need the information in taking photos at different angles to improve my picture quality.

    thank u very much,

  • AL May 13, 2008 07:08 am

    I am a beginner and I am really learning a lot from these tips. hoping for more tips with tutorials. :)

  • val April 30, 2008 04:59 am

    thanks for all the great suggestions! I have to take photos at my high school reunion, and they have to be good enough for those present (40 middle aged women!) to want to purchase copies from me. I take pictures all the time of places and things, and occasionally people, but never large groups, so all these good ideas are sincerely appreciately.
    I am also using my new Olympus E-410 and I'm still learning new things about what it can and cannot do ;-)
    btw...just discovered your site, and will come back often, I'm sure!

  • William Bay February 26, 2008 03:47 pm

    That last shot really is the highlight of the article. I think one of the commenters is right though with all the grass and dirt as the focal point. A creative work-around could be a unique circular mat in the middle.
    It's nice to see someone giving some thought to one of the more mundane and "not-so-fun" shots at the wedding.

  • Judy Taylor December 17, 2007 07:02 am

    My mother just recently passed away(Dec. 5th). My father had taken quite a lot of photographs of us as children(he was a photographer). I need to make copies of them all and I had in mind digital photographs to copy them all and then download them to cds so we don't all argue over who gets what picture)since more than one of us is in the photos). I'll be making about 6 copies of the photos once downloaded onto cds, in fact I may have to make more because there are so many photos. I plan to let them print what ever picture they decide to do(because there are so many). Thing is I need some tips on making great copies of the original photos in order to do this, so if they want they can do an 8x10 picture(which alot of them are). I have an Olympus digital camera. Any help/tips would be greatly appreciated.

  • Phil Weece December 10, 2007 03:58 am

    Thanks for the tips. Very helpful for this newbie wanting to learn.

  • Angie October 29, 2007 04:05 am

    Thanks for the tips. Great photos.

  • Rob O. October 18, 2007 05:51 pm

    Thanks for the great tips. One can never learn enough.

  • Mackenzzzie October 13, 2007 12:44 am

    those pictures are so cool

  • Alex October 9, 2007 07:43 am

    Hi, thanks I have picked up some good tips from the information you have given, could you tell me what is the best setting to use when performing a group shot, i have been using f11 iso 400 speed set at 125, i get a good shot but would like it to be better. Thanks

  • BeachBum August 21, 2007 11:55 am

    Awesome photos. I didn't read your story, but the pics ae very cool.


  • Katie August 3, 2007 02:51 am

    Hmm, I guess that must be why they call it DIGITAL Photography School.

    Awesome tips in this post! I'm definitely going to try the "group shot from above" trick at an upcoming family wedding. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Arulla July 28, 2007 10:35 pm

    Everyone says the last shot is cool....creative yes....a goog group Unless the photo was supposed to be of the dirt and grass center. Would you hang it on the wall as a family portrait? can see more of the dirt center, which is where your eye is drawn than of the people. Creativeness is key, but the focus should always remain on the people...not dirt.

    Not to mention that some of the faces are darker than the others, so the photographer put little thought into the lighting.

    This shot was done similar to how real estate photographers take 360 shots to show in 'video' form on mls/realestate web sites. Its done in multiple overlapping shots after which its all software. Boring.

  • BestRN July 28, 2007 01:29 pm

    I, too, have discovered Microsoft Research's "Group Shot" and LOVE it. What a timesaver! When I do a group shot now, I ask everyone in advance to 'hold' their pose once I start clicking for at least 3 seconds or so. I put my camera on continuous shooting and take a burst of shots. It never fails that there are always closed eyes, strange expressions, etc. and with Group Shot, these are very quickly and effectively eliminated and I have gotten fantastic composites in minutes. I highly recommend it--and the best part is that it is FREE!

  • tin-tin July 22, 2007 06:54 pm

    how was the last picture taken? i love it :)

  • July 21, 2007 12:51 pm

    These are nice tips!

    Thanks for the insight.

  • Paul July 6, 2007 12:18 pm

    These tips are awesome! Thanks for sharing all of this great info. The group stuff rocks!

  • AniMei July 5, 2007 01:50 pm

    nice! thanks for all these.. ^_^

  • Carolyn July 4, 2007 03:14 pm

    I really needed to hear all this. I'm bringing my new camera to a big birthday party in a couple weeks and I've been wondering how I'm going to get good shots. I've seen so many party photos of the backs of people's heads, etc. I feel more confident about doing this for my friend. Thanks so much.

  • Cheryl June 24, 2007 05:30 am

    I love this site
    I have lots of group photo jobs this summer and this was perfect for me.. lots of great tips

  • Squidder June 23, 2007 09:14 am

    Great advice - from all of you. I don't focus much on group shots, but these are indeed wonderful tips. I love the staggering example, it looks so good, but relaxed.

  • Tabatha June 23, 2007 03:58 am

    One of the great tips that I got for group pictures is to ask the group to close their eyes and open them at the count of 3. 3...2...1... open.. wait a second and shoot you will avoid the problem of blinking subjects.

  • Jackson. June 22, 2007 05:28 pm

    Welll! these sounds more or less pretty much basic! and nothign about the light has been specified. Well the focus of light gives more impact on the picture than the ppl. May be may be im wrong. Anyways would like to know more about photography as i hike to capture my dream snaps.

  • Kitty June 22, 2007 12:09 pm

    Group photos are one of my favourites. Thanks for the fantastic tips and great insights.

  • Motorcycle Guy June 22, 2007 08:12 am

    These are great tips. And beautiful example photos as well.

  • Cayman Juice June 22, 2007 07:30 am

    Thanks for the tips. I like the pics of what not to do as well.

  • Andrew Ferguson June 22, 2007 02:53 am

    Getting up high is incredibly helpful in these shots. I also find people like groups shots of themselves taken from high up more often, because it's a bit more of a unique angle.

  • Paul June 22, 2007 02:25 am

    LOVE that last photo.

  • Free Nature Photography Wallpaper June 22, 2007 02:18 am

    Groups are very tough to deal with, but making sure they know who is in charge is very important and ideal for the situation.

  • Misty-Rzoe June 22, 2007 12:40 am

    Check out how to make the Planet Shaped Amazing Circle photo

  • Live Television June 22, 2007 12:11 am

    That last photo is amazing (assuming PS doesn't stand for Photoshop)!

  • superXM June 21, 2007 11:59 pm

    that 'high up' thinge reminds me the fish-eye effect so popular in 90s..

  • RayL June 21, 2007 11:52 pm

    I applaud you for the excellent tips for large group pictures. I will be using some of these tips for an upcoming wedding and family day,including some close friends. Thanks a million. I would like to find more tips regarding lighting the subjects for that really special picture.

  • chi June 21, 2007 11:50 pm

    I like the idea of giving them a reason to take a picture.

    "For example at a wedding you might motivate people to pose by saying ‘((insert name of couple being married here)) have asked me to get some group shots’ or at a sporting event ‘lets take a group photo to celebrate our win’. "

  • Bill Minton June 21, 2007 11:41 pm

    Nice article. In the past I've used Microsoft Group shot - to easily combine multiple photos into one good one. For those of us w/kids, it's a must.

  • Al Chumley June 21, 2007 10:27 pm

    Here's a "Little Planet" panorama tutorial:

  • Dustin Bachrach June 21, 2007 04:35 pm

    Cool tips. I really like that picure at the bottom where they go around all 360. That was very clever. I also like your tip about getting high up. I was at a wedding, and the photographer got as high up as she could but the room wasn't tall enough. It might be best to take them outside cause they look so very cool.

  • Puplet June 21, 2007 10:28 am

    Yup, tripod's the way forward. Once everything is framed up, it means you can get out from behind the camera - pop your head up (not too far away otherwise everyone will be looking in an odd direction) and say 'Big smile'! Works every time. When the person you've identified as the most reticent is smiling, that's when you click.

  • AC June 21, 2007 09:27 am

    Whoa! The last photo is way cool. For the most part, I use a tripod for group snaps - specially when I want to be in the snap ^_^.

    If I am taking the snap, I generally wait till everyone is relaxed and ready before taking the snap.

  • Rogerio June 21, 2007 09:22 am

    One trick I got from one of Scott Kelby's books is to get everyone to close their eyes and open them when you count to three. This way everyone will have their eyes open when you take the shot.

  • banbro June 21, 2007 08:13 am

    Great tips... although I know they are read than performed. Curiosity has me with the last shot... how was that taken?

  • Donncha June 21, 2007 06:28 am

    Group shots is an area I'm really weak in, but I totally agree that you have to take loads of shots. I usually have to warn the group that I'll be doing that because they'll have dispersed and everyone will start talking and sitting down.

    I love catching the interaction between people when they think that the photos are finished however! :)

  • Sarah Dutton June 21, 2007 06:24 am

    Great story! For my sister's wedding we had a firetruck come and the photographer went up on the ladder and took pictures from way up into the sky. (The Groom's brother-in-law is a fire fighter.)

  • Ryan Dlugosz June 21, 2007 02:39 am

    Great tips! I especially like the ideas/examples with unique angles or post techniques (such as the spherical one at the end)... these are some great ways to improve a boring group photo and make it visually interesting.