Setting Up a Group Shot


Digital Photography 101


Lesson Info

Setting Up a Group Shot

And now what I want to do is get all of you involved in a group photograph and which with doing that it will be a ziff we are setting up and just anyone's living room, which is kind of the setup here I'll move this light out of the way and tammy, you'll be part of it too don't go anywhere because you're gonna be part of the group yes so it's it's going to be set up where let's say you've got this scenario and you've got friends family coming over to your house and you want to get a good shot of them you're probably in a living room environment something like this or maybe outside but let's just say you're in a living room since that's what we have set up and you want to get a good shot of everyone so let's go ahead and I'll have everybody come on in and I'll turn on some lights here so this is what's going to happen you know when people come in and say ok let's take a picture if if they know each other really well it might just all pile on the couch and go okay great let's take the sho...

t but if they don't then you need to give them some direction and tell him what to dio so let's do this why don't I have chris you're going to sit here on this chair and kind of hang out you're looking that way and I'm gonna have um julian why don't you go ahead here and sit here on the on the sofa just kind of between those two pillows and then I'm going to have the guys alex and hans we'll have you guys come in back of the sofa and that's kind of a way to start so if you're trying to position people and add a little interest, you don't want to just line them all up against the wall if you have some chairs in your home or so far for them to sit on, try using that and just kind of position people around this is looking like you could look kind of posed but remember some of the shots I was showing you earlier is you khun you compose people and get those posey shots but you also want to get the moments in between so all practice on, you know, taking a lot of those shots to I've got some beautiful scars little law will hand these to you we won't really play with scarves right now I'm going to turn on his other light and add some more light to the scene now with groups this is what can be really challenging, you've got a group of people and you want to make sure that they're evenly lits and that could be a challenge sometimes because maybe you've got you have living room lights or kitchen lights or something they're shining down on someone so you may not have these studio lights in your home if you don't have some kind of life that you can pull out like this, you can, you know, try using the flash that could work too, but you want to try and evenly light everyone that's the key, so in this instance, since we do have these studio lights will start with that and we can kind of play around now what's happening here is chris is a little bit more in front than everyone else, so I have to keep that in mind when I'm lighting the group and also when I'm taking the photograph, I don't want him too far in front he may look bigger than everyone else. Um, I don't know, maybe you maybe you won't that yeah, you might look bigger than everyone else and also, if I have light that's shining on all of them right now, chris is looking brighter than the guys in the back, so not only my dealing with making sure I can focus and get everyone kind of been focused on the same depth of field, which oftentimes is not that hard to do with a smartphone, it gets a little more difficult when you start working with digital digital slr cameras or compact cameras but just a little know you want to pay attention to that focusing from the front, the back different planes and also getting light on everyone so in this instance, if I bring the light in close like so then chris is going to be too bright and everyone else looks far too dark so aki tio working with groups if you've got some lights is trying to bring the lights farther away so they're going to cover a broader area and everyone will be close to evenly lit and also it's a good idea to bring the light up a little bit I don't want it coming from down below way go so I'm going to raise these up to see a tad and make sure it's kind of pulled back and I can you know I can adjust this with this little adjustment nod like I showed you earlier and just to make sure it's even I've got that light pulled out this way I can pull this lay out this way and just so it's even I'm not going for super dramatic lighting here I'm just going for making sure everyone's lit and I can capture the shot so still I've got this cold kind of farther away now the lighting looks a little more even on the guys and if I wanted to make things look say a little more casual and friendly like maybe now all these fabulous people will accept for tammy so far, she just came today, but they've been here for a couple days. I think they feel like they know each other, but maybe they're not in the huggy mode just yet. Maybe that will be tomorrow, but what I would probably do is try to get them to interact more if it was like, you know, husbands and wives or brothers and sisters it's usually a good idea if you've got people just standing behind the sofa that they kind of either scrunched down a little bit so their faces or closer to the other people's faces. So, alex, I'm going to have you on this may feel weird to you guys back here because it's not that comfortable, well, you know, standing, but just let me just show you something you can you can d'oh, so if they were, you know, the husbands or the brothers or whatever they could kind of lean in like this, and if they're back here and if it was, you know, his wife, I'm just simply having soldier for second it was his wife bringing in faces together like this, they're on kind of a similar plane as far as focusing is really helpful. So but just not like they're looking up like that but so they're more like this so that's one way it may feel uncomfortable for the guys back here for a little while because this is kind of a low sofa but that's one thing you could do to pose if they're not in the lovey dovey mode what you can d'oh it's kind of seat people anyway, you can't just start thinking about you want to arrange faces so that you've got some different levels of eyes you know when all the eyes in the same level just kind of creates a visual interesting drop people's eyes through the scene so I'm gonna have you guys try toe kind of sit on here so you can get your faces down a little bit closer to them while still feeling comfortable about it it seems like a fairly solid sophie I guess we'll find out so ok, so all right, so you feel all known lier they're well, you know okay, so yeah, chris chris chris so what chris could do if it was feeling lonely like that? We could move him and julian, you could move in a little bit in the middle of the sofa and put kristen together on the sofa because that we were seeing kind of a little space there and he was feeling left out and you don't want to do that, okay so now we've got this great group shot, so look at we've got faces and all different kind of angles and levels these two are obviously married over here in the corner and and you just want to make sure that that your life it now you now look a pay attention to the faces that I'm seeing right now as I turned the light it's like I want to make sure you've got enough light on chris and what's happening with the light over here, julian sitting up a little bit so I would either say, julian, if you could maybe take get rid of that pillow behind you so you can scoot back just a tad because what's happening is she's blocking chris is light so this that's working really well and maybe this is thanksgiving, you know, and alex just kind of stopped in from college and we've got the husband and wife over here and then you want to like, ok, everybody, I want you to look let's see where I want you to look, I want to look right here this is the lens right there and kind of get everybody situated and make sure not cropping anybody out or off, maybe I'll move back just a little bit and now I'm just going, ok, alex, you're looking right here and everybody's happy and hey, ok so right now, I have the flash on I accidentally left that on from the last shot, let's, just take a look and see how that turned out, ok? Not sure I like that with the camera with the flash, so I'm going to turn the flash off, which is usually a good thing to do if you've got another light source happening, which we dio, so I'm going to come and try this again now, here's something about working with groups here. We have some very fabulous students in a model, and they know what this is all about, but most of the time groups are very difficult to shoot pictures of, you have to have a lot of energy because you need to be directing them, telling them what to do, yet still making them feel comfortable and getting good shots. So anytime you have multiple people in a shot, I've got five people I need to make sure you take at least five photographs, because inevitably, every time you take a group photo someone's eyes are closed or looking off to the side or something goofy's going on with at least one person in the frame. So you want to make sure, so I would take probably twenty photographs of this if I could, and I would say, hey, you guys are looking great, okay? The positions really good so I'm going to take probably about twenty photographs were gonna be here about five minutes. Is that good with you now I want to go have a drink. Well that's too bad because you got to stay here because we're going to take pictures you're going to love these pictures you're going to want these pictures after we finish this photo shoot believe me okay, so I'm going to focus in a little bit I'm going to just tell my finger right there on julian and julian I want you to sit up just a little bit straighter so you're gonna need to give everybody a little bit of direction here if you're seeing things in the frame that you think ok that looks good cause you're start was looking a little bit brinkley you guys look great alex I want you to kind of lean in just a little bit that's nice that's kind of bringing everybody together you guys were looking fun and an a one in two two and a three and I'm going to take a shot and now we're going to take another one I'm going to come in a little bit closer you guys look really good julian look right of it me you're looking fabulous, you actually do it good photographs I want you to know you d'oh okay and right here and one and two and three oh ok, now I want everybody to jump I'm just kidding. All right, so, klein's, this is your cousin over here and you haven't seen her in five years and you guys have this inside joke you've been talking about for a while, so you're looking at julianne right now. Yeah, and having a julian and having a little moment because you guys are sharing, you know, she actually took the turkey breast from you last time and it's like, yeah, it's like, you know, you get it, you guys gotta work this out, whatever it wa so you're talking to each other it's like, wait a minute, what did you do that? So you want it? You want to see if people can talk to each other while they're in front of the camera, you know, little things that they think they're funny, especially if it's a group of friends or family that where they know each other and if they don't, you can do what I just did say, hey, pretend and just say, talk amongst yourselves or whatever it is that you want people people to do and you might mix people around a little bit, okay, alex, I'm going to have you move, move your body even closer, that waste you're kind of right behind julian that's, right looking good. Okay, fabulous. And you can kind of turn this and julianne, I'm gonna have you kind of lean in a little bit that way towards chris it's like hello, nice and you get that's nice right there. Great. And alex looking good, mr handsome. You know, alex, my mom watched the show yesterday and she was saying who said that young guys that are kerry was so cute because he looks really good in the photographs, so just so you know, ok, you guys did fabulous now, and we're gonna just take a look at some of the shots and see what we have. All right? People are kind of laughing and joking, all right, that all looks good, but in that one, alex has his eyes closed, so we'll look over to this one and that looks good. But, you know, when the laughing and joking around you probably to take a lot of shots because as people are laughing and joking around, you know, sometimes someone's looking down, looking up and even just looking at each other like hans, hans is looking over at alex and, you know, laughing and things were kind of happening in the photograph now I could also play around with positioning even more, maybe I would have alex come sit down and maybe julianne's back on the back of the sofa and you just also want to consider you know, what are people's relationships that they have to each other and what's special about this particular event maybe it's someone's birthday if it is make sure that that's the person that's featured that's focused on that's, you know, obviously special in the shot or if there's a particular relationship and they're having an anniversary or something like that, you want to make sure that you capture that in the photograph in this instance, it's just, you know, it's, a fun family photograph and everyone's just kind of hanging out and you're you know, you put him in the living room and you're just positioning them. The key is to make sure that you have faces at different levels, and right now, even in this set up right now, I've got kind of a classic setup. This is what painters would use, they would place things of interest in the painting andi in a shape of a triangle. So here I've got kind of like a big triangle of faces and then a little triangle over here, so it gives your eyes somewhere to go in the photograph, so think about that think about shapes when you're forming groups of people triangle zahra good classic shaped position heads and make sure heads aren't too far away from each other that's. Why I had the guys that were standing up in back of the of the sofa come down a little bit lower, so it wasn't so distant. So that's, that's, the scoop on groups. I love it. I think that that's, I mean it's. Wonderful to be able to hit those, because those are two of the, I think, most common ways that people take pictures today with their cell phones of themselves or of their friends, and then with groups.

Class Description

Are you ready to start taking amazing digital images? Join award-winning photographer Erin Manning for a three-day introduction to the fundamentals of digital photography — frustration-free.

Whether you take pictures with your phone, a point-and-shoot digital camera, or a DSLR, Erin will give you the tools you need to capture beautiful digital images. You’ll learn about light and exposure, including how to work with and modify your on-camera flash. You’ll learn about common errors beginning photographers make and develop strategies for troubleshooting. Erin will also guide you through the basics of digital image editing and sharing your images online.

By the end of Digital Photography 101, you’ll have the creative and practical skills to create, edit, and share stunning digital images.



Good basic or "refresher" course.