Accordion Technique with Groups


Portrait Photography Fundamentals


Lesson Info

Accordion Technique with Groups

So let's get on to seven killer group poses. Right, and this is the one that I'm doing for small group posing. I call it the Accordion. And you can see it in this next picture, here. When you line up people, a lot of people, when you tell them, okay, will you guys stand over there? I'm gonna do a group shot. Right, they'll stand like this, and the next person will stand like this, or all in a line like this way. And then, all in a line that way. And aesthetically, that doesn't look too appealing. So what I do is accordion posing. Whereas like, one's this way, one's that way, this way, that way. And so, in this particular shot here, I'm doing the accordion, right? And so the easiest way to do that is to pair them up. Put them in a pair, put them in a pair, but then when you put them all together, it has a zig zag feel to it. So you just pair them up, and put them together. So when I'm doing a group shot like this, I am looking for a background that's glowing. So my environment will tell...

me what my subject's, so if the tree's in the background are glowing, then if I put them in the same area, look at their heads. Aren't they glowing also, right? So I'm looking for, I wouldn't put them over here in the shade because then they're not gonna have- so I see all that highlight back there and how it feels like it's glowing. I'm gonna put my subjects around there and then I'm gonna shoot in that direction, and I'm gonna get nice, beautiful highlights. And I'm gonna meter for the highlights, okay? So I'm gonna set my cameras so those highlights look good to me. At this point, the sun is behind them and they're dark, and then I'm just gonna fill it in with flash. Now you can look at this, there's a group of them, I'm shooting that at 1.8, okay? But I'm just like 20 to 30 feet back. And so everybody's in focus there, okay? So you don't have to worry about, once you're 20 feet back. You got a lot of distance to be in focus. But anyways, that's the accordion look for that. 85mm, 1.8. And so here's what it looks like, okay? So here's basic, if you had five groomsmen or five bridesmaids, right, here's a typical thing that I do, is I find the bride and the maid of honor. I put them together, and then I kind of go by height, the tallest in the middle, so it's a triangle. So you do that a lot with group posing and family posing, you kind of create a triangle. It has a pleasing look to it. So the taller people near the middle and then down from there. And generally you're gonna have a great shot, okay? And so that's five bridesmaids or groomsmen. If you want to do side by side, men also shift the weight to the rear leg. So, it's kind of like the holding hands shot where their weight is all on the back leg. And so I'll tell all the bridesmaids, pop your hip to the rear, okay? So, I saw one lady, I think when I was here at Photo Week, yeah. And she was telling me when she says when she's posing, she says, booty to the back! Oh hey, yeah that works. So she would tell her clients booty to the back to shift that weight, but I don't do that, I just tell them to shift their weight to their back leg and so it looks a little bit more natural than standing straight up like that. Just shift your weight to the back leg, okay? Now, let's go to the next one whereas you have six bridesmaids. You can pair them up and then keep the lone bride by herself if you want to. Now, let's go even further. What would you do if you have seven bridesmaids? Okay, and so if that's the case, I would pair, pair, pair, and I would create some space here and I would try to find a level where they're one level higher. So they can be seen in the back, okay? If you can't get a level higher, then you may want to sit them down and then raise them up, it just depends. But you gotta try to get them at different levels, if possible. You can have them all the same level if you create some space in here, but it will look better if they're one up. So that's what I'm doing when I have- the larger the group, the more levels I'm gonna need, okay? So just think of that. So if you're like seven and above. If you've got seven bride- anybody shoot something with seven bridesmaids? Yeah, I have. Yeah, you need levels if you can find it. Stairs or whatever, and it makes it a lot easier. So let's get going with trying eight, right? You could do the same thing, you're keeping the same position, but you can just throw and pair one of the other persons up there, right? And then if you got nine, you can just throw another person on this side and pair 'em up, and you can separate them, okay? So, that's how you handle different bridesmaids. It's just one option, this is what I suggest. Actually, you just kind of make these things and you have them available on your phone or whatever. You know how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you're gonna have, you can make these simple charts just to keep notes to yourself. I was a graphic designer before, so it's a little bit easier for me to see and arrange things. I had been doing it for 12 years, so it's easy for me to see elements, but if I didn't have that experience, then I would defiitely just bring something that I can look at just to remind myself, okay? Okay, good. Definitely if you've got nine or ten, you gotta get some different levels. It's really hard to take a group shot that looks aesthetically interesting without different levels. 'Cause if you just have them all standing there, I mean you can take it, but it's not gonna look right, let's put it that way. Okay, so now you can do the micro posing with the group posing. And so what do you think I told them to do here? Out of my micro posing, remember all the things that I had them do? Laugh hysterically, right? So that's what I'm doing, I'm telling them to do that. You can see that they all have the same expression on their face. It's because the photographer said something to get that. You're not gonna get people standing all there, and then all of a sudden they're gonna break out in laughter for you all by themselves. It will never happen, you have to be proactive to make it happen, okay? So there's a variation to this, which is kinda nice, is that you can do that and then have them hold hands and spread out and extend the accordion and look at each other. This works really good if you have a lot of backlight. 'Cause then you want that dreamy kind of feel to it where that light is coming from the behind. And especially for weddings, I just love backlight, a lot of strong backlight to kind of give that glowy, dreamy feel to the subject.

Class Description

Want to be able to go into any situation with your camera and have the confidence to know you’ll get the shot? Award-Winning photographer Scott Robert Lim goes in-depth on the four foundational elements you must conquer if you want to develop your creativity and style.

Scott will give you the guidelines you need to master:

  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Composition
  • Post-Processing

Once you master these fundamentals of portraits, you free up your mind to get creative and ultimately get the shot.


1Class Introduction 25 Shots That WOW 3Four Fundamentals of Photography 4Create a Visual Impact with Composition 5Importance of Foreground and Background 6Create Depth in Landscape Images 7Photos Don't Always Follow the Rules 8Composition Practice Exercise 9Composition Critique of Student Images 10Keys to Posing 11Shoot: Classic Elegance Female Pose 12Shoot: Modern Female Pose 13Shoot: Rollover Female Pose 14Female Hands & Arms Poses Overview 15Shoot: Hands and Arms Poses for Female 16Seven Posing Guidelines 17Headshots Poses with Male Model 18Shoot: Headshot for Male Model 19Shoot: Sitting Poses for Male Model 20Shoot: Leaning Poses for Male Model 21Shoot: Standing Poses for Male Model 22Keys to Couples Posing 23Shoot: Couples Posing 24Couples Transitional Posing Overview 25Shoot: Transitional Posing 26Keys to Group Posing 27Accordion Technique with Groups 28Shoot: Accordion Technique 29Shoot: Best Buds Pose 30Shoot: Talk with Your Hands Pose 31Shoot: Lock Arms and Hold Hands Pose 32Run at the Camera and Dance in Your Seat Poses 33Shoot: Pod Method Pose 34Posing Critique of Student Images 35Introduction to Lighting 36Soft vs Hard Light 37Difficult Lighting Situations 38Bright Light Techniques 39Overcast Light Techniques 40Low Light Techniques 41Lighting Techniques Q&A 42Drama Queen Lighting 43Laundry Basket Lighting 44Make it Rain Lighting 45Smart Phone Painting with Light 46Mini LED Bokeh Lighting 47Choose the Right Lighting System 48Hybrid Flash System 49Innovative Accessories 50Gear Overview 51Theatrical Post-Processing 52Ten Keys to Post-Processing 53Essential Skills to Post-Processing 54Headshot Post-Processing 55Bright Light Post-Processing 56Flat Light Post-Processing 57Low Light Post-Processing 58Introduction to Fine Art Post-Processing 59Light & Airy Fine Art Post-Processing 60Dark & Moody Fine Art Post-Processing 61Post-Processing Critique of Student Images


Vitor Rademaker

This course is amazing! Scott is extremely straightforward. He goes directly to practical problems, tips and etc. He explains every thing very clearly, and he is also very funny and charismatic, making you laugh as you learn. He shows that you don't need a lot of expensive gear to make very nice pictures. So I have saved some money as well, cause I was about to buy some gear that I wouldn't need right now. It is for sure one of the best photography courses I have ever attended to! I highly recommend! Thanks a lot Scott! You are the best!


I have purchased a number of classes, this being one of them. The quality of the information was good and the level at which Scott spoke was appropriate for me. Having a course sylibus would add greatly to the value, which usually is not part of the programs I've purchased including this one, unless I've missed it. I believe the speaker should be required to provide one. After watching the videos, much of material can be recaptured by seeing it in writing. I would like to hear back from Creativelive their thoughts. In sum, good topic, good speaker, good technical audio and video quality by Creativelive


Another fantastic class with Scott Robert Lim! The combination of his knowledge, willingness to share, passion & entertaining personality makes him a top choice for photography education. Learning not only the "what", but the "why" & "how" can transform one's entire approach towards MAKING pictures. A constant inspiration to get better & better through practice.