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Posing groups

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Posing groups requires particular skills from the photographer.


Avoiding blinks

There is a mathematical formula for the number of images you have to shoot in order to be 99% certain that no-one in the group is blinking. Essentially, for groups of less than 20: divide the number of people by three if there's good light and two if the light's bad. Full details are here:

Getting people to appear

A good phrase to use is "if you can't see the camera lens, the camera can't see you". Strictly speaking, this is not actually true, as you may get half a face, but it helps people to move around a little. Generally, if you say "move about a foot", people will move three or four feet. Often, it is enough to ask them to move an inch, and they will move about a foot.


For a large group, raking the sitters so that they are at different levels is the traditional solution. However, it requires a raked stage or a slope, and it gives a very formal, school photo look. As an alternative, get high up to shoot the image -- on stairs, a balcony, or even just a chair.

Lens angle

Shooting a group with a wide-angle lens will tend to strongly fatten people at the edges, which they are unlikely to favour. A 50mm on FX or film, or 35mm on DX is generally the widest satisfactory lens, but you should always check visually.

  • This page was last modified on 27 November 2009, at 23:15.
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