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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Photographing large groups...I've just had a booking in to do a family portrait next month, when she said family I thought she ...
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Old 06-10-2006, 17:20   #1 (permalink)
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Photographing large groups

I've just had a booking in to do a family portrait next month, when she said family I thought she meant Mum, Dad and three kids. Nope. There will be twenty four of them and she wants a shot with all of them in it. Obviously I doubt I will be able to use my wide backdrop but she does have a big house with a large lounge/sitting area which has quite good natural light.

Luckily it is an old building with some interesting features as far as I can remember and she does have a couple of large sofas which I'll use somehow, kids on and in front of them etc.

Lighting: I'll try and use the natural light wherever possible but for a group this size I'm going top need some more, I'm thinking a couple of studio lights with softboxes, maybe bounced off the ceiling and possibly a bit of fill with the Gary Fong Lightsphere.

Any other suggestions, hints or tips? This is my first proper 'booking' for a portrait shoot - talk about in at the deep end!
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Old 06-10-2006, 18:58   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Photographing large groups

Take a mall step ladder with you. Very usefull when photographing large groups.
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Old 06-10-2006, 19:17   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Photographing large groups

yeah and get the kids on the floor infront of the group as it keeps them from spreading out too far...... get as many in layers as you can.......althouhg i am probably teaching my granny to suck eggs! but i had a large group to do once and when they were all in layers it was easy!

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Old 06-10-2006, 19:27   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Photographing large groups

Also if the weather is kind enough to you, try shooting them (not literally) in the garden from a 1st storey window all looking up at you.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:42   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Photographing large groups

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Bagshawe View Post
Also if the weather is kind enough to you, try shooting them (not literally) in the garden from a 1st storey window all looking up at you.
& pinch what you can whilst you have the time
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Old 15-10-2006, 22:05   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Photographing large groups

For a group of this size, watch the clothing colours. This will affect who goes where.

Using the normal rule of 'Red proceeds, blue recedes', you don't want a lot of people wearing jeans in the front and people with red jumpers on behind them as this causes a confusing colour combination with the people near the back appearing more forward and the blues in front appearing to recede.

Careful positioning of colours can make a huge difference between colours running riot and a pleasing balance for the eye. Obviously with families and friends, people tend to naturally clump together whether that be family units, all the children or whatever, but when putting people into the picture, do it in stages. Put the people who are going to be in the rear 'layer' in situ first, then work forward, remembering that people need to be relaxed and comfortable. The people positioned first are likely to be there for a coupe of minutes minimum so let them relax, tell them not to start posing until everyone is in the picture. PUT BABIES IN LAST! They won't sit still for more than a few seconds unless they are asleep!

For 24 people, a rough guide would be to use three layers of 10, 8 & 6 rather than 8,8,8 as this will form a natural inverse trapezoid shape...
________
\ /
\_____/

Have the people at back (almost certainly standing) facing angled inwards from both sides but don't let them stand too bolt upright or it'll look like a Welsh Choir!

Anyway, that's just a few little pointers. There are no hard and fast rules but I hope they are at least of some help.

Cheers,
Rob
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