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21 Sample Poses to Get You Started Photographing Groups of People

21 sample poses for photographing groups

Are you looking for some group posing inspiration? Need some group poses for your next family or event photoshoot?

We’ve got you covered.

In this article, I’m going to share my favorite 21 poses for groups, ranging from fun and informal to serious and businesslike.

Let’s dive right in, starting with:

1. Everyone standing together, facing forward

When working with a large group of people, you won’t be able to control each individual’s pose or expression. This works out fine – as long as you pay attention to the overall composition.

So direct everyone to stand together, with no significant gaps. Ask them to face forward and cross their arms over their chests. Most importantly, make sure that all people in the group are visible.

group standing together facing forward

2. The standard full-body shot

When photographing large groups, the only composition that will include everyone into the frame is often a full-body shot.

These shots are usually formal and even documentary, so your primary objective is to ensure everyone in the group is clearly visible. Note the varied poses in the example below; feel free to direct heads and arms, but don’t obsess too much about it.

group standing businesslike

3. Businesslike from above

If possible, shoot from an elevated angle. You might use a balcony or climb on a car to get a higher viewpoint (and if you’re really daring, you could get on a roof).

The higher vantage point will definitely be worth the effort, because instead of an ordinary and common group shot, you will get a more interesting and inviting perspective. As with the group poses discussed above, make sure all individuals are visible.

elevated angle group pose

4. Staggered team

There are occasions when standing separately is more appropriate than keeping everyone tightly packed. It’s not the best way to take a friendly group photo, but it can certainly work well for a small team shot: a band, a TV show cast, or a small business staff.

If a group has a known leader, put them in front for an even stronger composition, then stagger everyone else behind and to the sides. Some overlap between bodies is okay, but ensure that everyone is given ample space in the frame.

staggered team group pose

5. The trio

This is pretty much a standard way to photograph a group of friends. Yes, it’s easy, ordinary, and common, but it really works.

Simply ask your subjects (three is ideal, but four or five can work, too) to position themselves around the tallest group member, shoulder to shoulder, arms around each other.

three people posing together

6. Heads leaning in

Here’s another great pose for friends.

Ask everyone to stand very close together. Then make them lean their heads in slightly – both toward one another and toward the camera. If they’re willing, group members might put their arms around one another.

five people leaning in

7. Head circle (on the ground)

This is another friendly one, and it works great for outdoor photo shoots. Ask the group to form a circle while lying in the grass, then shoot from above.

Make sure everyone is spaced out evenly – in other words, the circle should feel balanced – and looking toward the camera. You can try photographing from different angles: directly overhead, from the side, from a high vantage point, etc.

lying on the ground looking up

8. Over the shoulder

This is a fun and rewarding way to pose a small group of people. Choose a group leader and put them in front, then bring in the others one by one, staggered behind.

Note that each new group member should stand behind the previous person and peek toward the camera over the shoulder. Supporting themselves a little by leaning on the person directly in front adds to the informality of the composition.

people posing together informal

9. Peeking out from behind

A variation on the previous shot, this pose has a slightly sillier feel. Put a group leader in front, then ask the others to peek out from behind.

Pro tip: Take shots with different aperture settings, then decide whether you prefer the entire group in focus or only the leader.

posing with heads behind

10. Jumping in the air

This is a fun way to do an informal picture of a group of friends.

Simply ask everyone to hold hands and jump (ideally while raising their arms above their heads). For the best results, ask the group to make the jump after a short run.

holding hands and jumping in the air pose

11. Heads in a row

Here’s a very rewarding and interesting composition: a group of people in a row, slowly fading into the background.

Check that everybody is clearly visible, then shoot from a close distance with a wide aperture and be sure to focus on the first person. Yes, people farther away will be blurred, but the result is a very interesting and unusual-looking group shot.

heads in a row pose

12. Family on a couch

Now let’s look at some family poses.

The most common way to photograph a family is by asking them to sit on a couch in the living room. No, it’s not the most creative way for a family shot, but it can be done well and generally looks good.

The easiest way to improve these standard compositions is to simply crop tight. Don’t include the couch and room furniture in the shot. Instead, fill the frame with all the family members.

family sitting together on the couch

13. Family on the lawn

Another good idea for family photos is to simply get outside. A front lawn, a local park, and a beach are all excellent places to take some family shots.

Just remember that when subjects are sitting, you shouldn’t remain standing; instead, get low and shoot from your subjects’ eye level.

family sitting together on the lawn

14. Family on the ground

For an intimate family pose, ask everyone to lie together on the ground. Make them lift their upper bodies a bit and support themselves on their arms. Shoot from a low angle for the best results.

family lying together on the lawn

15. Family pile

Here’s a beautiful composition for a family shot, and one that’s tons of fun for kids and adults alike. Choose one family member to lie down flat against the ground, and ask the others to (gently) pile on top.

You can do this one outdoors on the ground or indoors in a bed; note that it works absolutely fine with any number of kids.

family piling on top of each other lying down

16. Family cuddle

This one’s a classic, though make sure the family is comfortable with it before continuing.

Ask the family to sit on their favorite couch and cuddle up tight. Keep everyone staggered enough that all facial features are visible.

family cuddling together on the couch

17. Behind the couch

For an unusual and interesting family picture, turn the traditional couch photo setting around. Simply take your shots from the back side of the couch and see what a huge difference it can make.

Ask the group to huddle together, with the “leader” at the bottom and the rest arrayed behind.

family looking over the back of the couch

18. Behind the couch, separated

Here’s a slight variation on the group pose shared above. Head around the back of the couch and ask the family to peer over – but instead of posing in a pile, have them sit more formally.

family looking over the back of the couch more formal

19. Piggyback posing

This one’s an absolutely beautiful way to create shots of a group of family members. Just ask the kids to hang onto the adults’ backs, then position the adults close together:

piggyback family pose

20. Full-body staggered

If you’re looking for a full-body shot, try this option, where you ask the tallest family member to stand in the back, then stagger the shorter individuals forward.

As you can imagine, this works well with any number of people, though the more folks you include, the more variation you’ll need in height.

staggered group pose full body

21. Walking forward

Here’s your final posing idea for groups:

Take shots of the family walking hand in hand. Make sure they’re spaced out relatively evenly (also, as indicated in the example below, younger kids can be carried).

Pro tip: Shoot in continuous mode and select the photos with the best leg movement and positioning. Make sure to control the focus while subjects are approaching from a distance.

group walking forward while holding hands

Group posing ideas: final words

Well, there you have it:

21 posing ideas to get you started with group photography. Of course, feel free to get creative and come up with different variants on your own. Think of ways you can transform these ideas for your particular shooting scenario and subjects.

Now over to you:

Which of these group poses do you like best? And do you have any group posing ideas of your own? Share them in the comments below!

Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App where more poses and tips for people photography are available.

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