group photography portrait tips

Use these simple photography portrait tips and your group shots will look super! This article is going to focus on group portrait tips. 

Generally speaking, your group posing should be done so that each individual is visually connected to another individual in your group photo. What I mean by that is this. Look at the family portrait pose below.

  1. Overlap the people.
  2. Pose like a pyramid.
  3. Tell your subjects to interact.
  4. Use triangles.
  5. Get their heads close
Group Family PortraitConnected Group Pose

1. overlap your subjects' bodies

Bodies overlapping group poseOverlapping Bodies Pose

Notice how there are no gaps between the individual family members in this family portrait.

The individuals are spaced fairly evenly, at similar distances from each other, but they are connected by overlapping their bodies in the pose.

Smaller people (the children) should be posed in front of the larger people (the adults).

2. Use the pyramid posing technique

The other posing technique that is often used is to to have the pose wider at the base and narrower at the top. Some photographers refer to this as the pyramid pose.

It is not a perfect pyramid shape, but you can see that the portrait has a base that is wider at the bottom and visually supports the top of the pose.

This technique works best for groups with 4 people, but can be used for larger groups provided you have somebody posed in front, inside the outline of the pyramid.


pyramid group posePyramid Pose for Four People

3. Take an interaction pose


Another group photography portrait tip is to try a pose where your subjects are interacting with each other instead of all looking at the camera.

In the group portrait below, I had done a very similar pose of these four siblings about 8 years ago. Their mother reminded me how much she still enjoyed that portrait, so we re-created the pose.

group of 4 portrait pose

One tip to remember is to avoid the mistake of having your subjects' faces hidden from the camera's view. I instructed the older brothers to slightly turn and lift their heads so they were at least partially viewable from the camera's perspective. This is an instance where I did not use a pyramid pose.

The third group photography portrait tip is to use geometric shapes in your family photos. Forming triangles with your subjects' heads within the frame is a good group technique. You can also use diamond shape compositions when you have 4 people in the group.


4. posing with triangles

You can build your family portrait pose by using triangles. These are not equilateral triangle with equal sides, but will vary in shape and dimensions. Triangles create an opportunity for the viewer's eye to move from one face to another in your pose.

family posing drawing

Position your subjects so that there faces form triangles. You can use this portrait posing technique for small groups of three or more people, as well as much larger family portrait poses.


5. Get them in close

Finally, here is another posing technique to use when you want to show the love and affection family members have for one another. Build your portrait so that all of their faces are quite close. This often results in great natural smiles because the family members are truly enjoying their close connection.

closely posed group photo

This family pose happened spontaneously and I was ready to capture it because my camera and flash were ready to go. You can really feel the closeness and joy this family shares with each other.

As a professional photographer, I am always most critical of my own photography and there are always little elements of any photo to improve upon. Yes, I could have re-positioned a few hands and perhaps tweaked the locations of my subjects a little. The bottom line is to have fun with your photography subjects and you'll get more relaxed expressions.

If you are creating family portrait poses for someone else to enjoy, remember to make it a pleasant experience for them. These group photography portrait tips are just tips. They are not hard fast rules of photography that cannot be broken.

Following any of the digital photo tips on this web site should be a fun growth process. Digital Photography is a subjective art with a variety of opinions on the best composition tip or posing technique to use. 




short cut to great posing

Portrait photography has been around a long time and there's no shortage on good ideas. Posing can't be copyrighted. Why not use a pose that already really works well? It's a great idea to look at poses from other photographers that have the same number of people as your upcoming photo.

Another source to use for interesting portraits is a book. Copy pose ideas from a good book written specifically about posing for group photos.   

You can get these books anywhere. This particular book on the right has hundreds of samples for groups of three or more people.

"Hundreds of samples provide inspiration and are easily replicated, allowing photographers to customize the source material to meet any type of need."



one final comment of portrait posing for groups

One more little tip is to pay attention to your subjects hands. It is usually a mistake to have everyone in your pose doing the same exact thing with their hands. Occasionally I will direct one or more of my subjects to change their hand position to improve the pose as well.

Shoot more photos. Shoot better photos.



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portrait photography links

If you are more interested in photography portrait tips for individuals, go here: Portrait Posing for Individuals.  

Family Portrait Ideas. Creative ideas for family portraits , including many submissions by the readers of this website.

Family Portrait Tips. Instead of posing tips, this article covers portrait lighting and natural backgrounds.

Baby Poses. Here a few simple poses to use for baby portraits. Samples using simple lighting and simple posing.

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