Do you need some large family portrait ideas? This article will help you with posing large groups of people. Posing a big group of people, whether it's at a family party or another big gathering of people, can be one of the most challenging things to learn with portrait photography.
Whether it's a professionally posed large group picture shown below or a quick snapshot of a group at a celebration like the one farther below, you will improve your large group poses dramatically by using a few of these ideas.
One of the best large family portrait ideas I can give you is to coordinate clothing. If you limit the number of colors to 2 or 3 it makes a big difference in your final portrait.
Once a group of people gets bigger than five or six, it isn't as simple to pose everyone correctly anymore. You need someone, namely you as the photographer, to take charge in a pleasant but assertive manner. Otherwise the quality of your group posing will suffer and look unorganized.
Big group posing has a unique set of challenges, in addition to the regular aspects of lighting and location choice. Large family posing is improved when you do have the option of coordinated clothing.
I had only a few seconds to quickly take the photo below of all the grandkids, during a 50th wedding anniversary. I posed the 3 small children in the middle and had 4 teen-aged boys kneel down in front so that everyone could be seen from the camera's view. I used only 1 chair in the pose.
With outdoor large group photography, I often look for a shaded, evenly-lit location with a simple background. If possible, shoot underneath the shade of a large tree, in the shadow of a large structure, or perhaps in front of several trees.
Shooting late or early in the day, when the sun is closer to the horizon, often gives you larger shadow areas to work in. Shooting portraits on location is often better for large family groups then an indoor portrait studio where space and size of a painted background may be limited.
There are situations like the one below where the rules are broken. I shot with the sun blasting this group in the faces. Since the large majority of them were wearing sunglasses, squinting eyes were not the usual challenge.
We wanted most of the large banner to show, so only the two kids were placed in front of it. The front row of adults leaned lower and the tallest people were placed in the back row so that everyone's face was visible from the camera's angle. Notice it isn't perfect. There is one woman's face that is partially blocked.
Here are some recommended books with family portrait ideas and the reviews on whether they're any good by readers who have already purchased them:
Here are my three basic large family portrait posing tips.
1. Always use a tripod, if the situation allows it. This not only will hold your camera steady to limit blur from camera shake, but it also allows you to watch the many faces and body positions of your subjects at the exact moment you click the shutter. Tripods for Portraits.
2. Make sure you can see everybody's entire face from the camera's vantage point. You may have to move somebody slightly higher or lower or you may have to move somebody to the left or to the right.
3. Getting Everyone's attention. My best advice is to have only one person; I repeat, 1 person stand directly behind the camera to talk, make noises, crazy faces or draw the attention of everyone. It is a much better group photo if everyone is looking directly toward the camera.
You should give directions any other people standing behind you. Have them move off to the side, out of view they need to stay quiet. If it a large group of the same sized people then you must layer them in different heights.
If it is a few adults and many children, perhaps grandparents and all of their grandchildren, then the kids should surround the grandparents.
1. Uneven lighting, either because of a wimpy on-camera flash or because the outdoor lighting is very uneven.
2. People with expressions that don't match. Almost everyone smiling except one smarti-pants, 8 year old making a goofy face or everyone happy except the disgruntled teenager who would rather be hanging out with his friends than posing with his family.
3. Someone missing from the photo. In the family photo below, three of the people could not make it to the 50th wedding reunion. I actually had to photograph them separately on a different day at a location with similar lighting. Then I added them through some specific techniques in Adobe Photoshop.
4. Not everyone looking at the camera. People can easily be distracted by something else, not directly behind the camera, especially with outdoor photography.
5. Everyone being too small in the pose because the photographer posed too "wide" with everybody standing next to each other.
6. This is the biggest mistake of all. It happens when someone's head is partially blocked by the person in front of them.
These basic large family portrait ideas should help you improve your group photography quite a bit. For more large family portrait ideas, look at online galleries with large family posing. Analyze the positioning of each individual person within the frame of the portrait.
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Here's a great way to get speed up your posing results. Copy a pose from a great book on posing group photos.
This book has hundreds of samples for groups of three people on up to large group posing.
"The hundreds of samples provide inspiration and are easily replicated, allowing photographers to customize the source material to meet any type of need."