Wedding Photography Tips: Fun Group Dynamics

 

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How often do you see shot like this? An unusual vantage point can work wonders for the otherwise regular group photo. Photograph/Morvi Kumari

How often do you see shot like this? An unusual vantage point can work wonders for the otherwise regular group photo. Photograph/Morvi Kumari

Chachaji, chachiji, long lost relatives from abroad…everyone wants to be a part of the marriage celebrations. Here’s how you can keep them happy.

Arrange Poses Around One Person: If you are confused about how to position people in a large group, start with one person. Use this person as a starting or a central point within the frame and ask everyone else to pose around him or her.

Make Sure Everyone is Visible: Whether you are making a posed picture or simply capturing a spontaneous moment, you should see that everyone’s face is clearly defined and lit. See that one person’s shoulder does not block someone else’s face!

Carry a Portable Backdrop: You can quickly set up a patterned, colourful fabric for portraits if the background at the venue is cluttered and busy.

Use Lines to Lead Towards the Group…: …especially while posing the group at the foot of a stairway or path. Remember, the pose and position of each person within the frame can also create implied lines.

Create a Fun Photobooth: All you need is a unique background, some interesting props and a handy printer!

A great group shot is a memory for years to come. Plan it out, but also think on your feet.

Find a Simple Background: You are likely to have people wearing all sorts of extravagant attire in your frame. So let the background be understated.

Bunch the Aunties Together: Make sub groups. Photograph the the elders together, or have one picture of just the women, just the cousins, kids and so on.

Make Pictures at Home As Well: After all, that’s where the family has its memories attached. Use a familiar set of swings or the courtyard as a backdrop. Even if it is not the most photographic of locations, it will have a special connect.

Which Camera Are They Looking at? There may be family members who stand beside you to make the same group shot with their cameras. Wait for them to finish shooting so that the group is not looking in different directions.

The Advantage of Digital: If you have time, always show the group what you have shot. It may help you explain them how they can look even better. That, in turn, may spur off ideas in their head, which you should never ignore.

Props such as these crazy wigs, oversized sunglasses and feather bows make for an unusual, yet fun group portrait. Photograph/Payal Kumar

Props such as these crazy wigs, oversized sunglasses and feather bows make for an unusual, yet fun group portrait. Photograph/Payal Kumar

Balance the Group: Layer the group, but keep its foundation strong. When photographing more than 6–7 people, have more people at the base of the Morvi Kumari structure and less as you move up.

Ask the Group to Move… …if the background is too distracting. Always have an alternative location in mind.

Work Around Clashing Colours: Try to group people wearing complementary colours. If someone’s outfit clashes , try to mask this difference by posing them behind someone else.

Standing, Sitting or Kneeling: Vary poses. Make a few stand, ask others to sit on chairs or sofas and get the rest to kneel.

Put Everybody At Ease: Give importance to all. If someone is uncomfortable in a specific pose, change it so that their expressions don’t look forced.

Bring different generations together in a single frame. Seeing similar facial features together can be quite beautiful and interesting.

Arrange the Group Tightly: Get everyone to stand close to each other. Not only is this visually powerful, it also emphasises their closeness and bond.

Give Them Something to Do: People can feel awkward while just staring into the camera. Distract them by talking to them or giving them a funny activity to do such as a dance step or a jump.

“Ready, Steady, Go!”: Give the group a countdown to avoid closed eyes when you press the shutter.

Is Everyone Sharp? Choose a narrow aperture like f/8 in order to get everyone from the foreground to background rendered sharply.

Catch the Group Unaware: The portrait is done and people stop ‘posing’. Now is the time when you should make a second shot, to get candid expressions.

Everyone’s in a line and yet, there is variation in terms of the angle at which they are standing. Remember, a good pose is meaningless without expressions! Photograph/Nikhil Kumar

Everyone’s in a line and yet, there is variation in terms of the angle at which they are standing. Remember, a good pose is meaningless without expressions! Photograph/Nikhil Kumar

Shoot the Camera’s LCD: You will often see guests and family members photographing each other using a digital compact or a cellphone. Use this to your advantage by focusing on the cameraphone’s screen, such that the group in the background is out of focus.

Shoot at Eye Level for Formal Portraits: Stand at the centre of the group and position the camera at mid-level. Beware of distortion at the widest end of the lens.

Conversely, Shoot from Ground Level: When you can’t think anything else, then simply sit on the ground You could also stand on a sofa, or climb up a staircase for an overhead perspective from above.

Make Fun-filled GIFs: Rapidfire shooting will capture a group’s funny movements. You can use these pictures to create a GIF of them clapping, cheering or being crazy.

A Sense of Belonging: Instead of having each person looking at the camera, let them interact with each other. A child putting his head on his mother’s shoulder and other such gestures are great at conveying warm relationships.

It’s the Time to Disco! While some elders may be enthusiastic about posing, others aren’t. Wait for functions like the sangeet as that is when they really lose their inhibitions.

Never Underestimate Formality: A carefully planned, formal portrait is an essential aspect of any wedding album. It needs a certain investment of time, so try to preplan a dedicated time window for it.

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