There is a reason the National Geographic remains the home of powerful and innovative photography. It’s because they have experienced people chipping in and guiding the next generation. And, with the blessing of the internet SEOs we have the ability to go back and cherry pick their best features. Good advice rarely changes. This composition advice from photojournalist Jim Richardson is wise and well written. For how, exactly, do you manage a group shot?
Group shots when working with people who are not normally in front of a camera can be tricky. In any wedding shot there is probably one person who feels intimidated by the lighting, or reluctant to be exposed on film. It can also be intimidating as a photographer having so many subjects expecting great things from you. Richardson has a few pointers to help get round these awkward subjects and balance a photo.
Among his tips he says:
- Recruit co-conspirators. Find a couple of folks to help you on the ground. For instance, the crowd will just naturally want to spill out too far on either side. So grab two people and put them at each end of the line where you want your group. Just say “Stand here and don’t let anybody go outside of you, OK?”
- Disband the crowd (and grab one more). Keep your finger on the shutter when you say “Thank you everyone.” Very often the pleasant confusion of the breakup is interesting in itself. Sport teams are particularly likely to come to life in the moment when everyone is being released.
- Make it fun. A little zaniness on your part will go a long way toward easing the atmosphere.
- Play the maestro. When it comes time to snap the picture, change the tempo and take command. Make eye contact. (I like to have the camera on a tripod so I don’t have to be looking through the viewfinder.) Raise your arm like you are ready for the downbeat and say something like “OK, everybody, we’re ready.” (And be ready.)
All good advice and much more can be found over at the National Geographic’s site by clicking here.