Keys to Group Posing
Groups are always a little bit difficult because group shots generally are really hard to kind of get creative with, because you gotta just pose a lot of people up there, and it sometimes just looks like a blob that you're shooting. But during my course of my career, I've learned to try to create some ways where I could get some reaction from the entire group, and some fun things to do. They always wanna do some fun thing so I'm gonna show you a lot of these techniques where A, either you're gonna be able to make a group of people look a little bit more aesthetically creative and better looking instead of just, you know, just stand up there and turn around and look at the camera, and also, some things that you can do as a group to get some emotion out of your, you know, subjects, and that's always hard to do when you're in a group setting. And so whenever you look at a photo with a group and they're all smiling or they're all, all have the same expression on their face, it's because th...
e photographer did that. Because if you take a normal group of people, right, and they're not all, and if there's no stimulus to make them all laugh or smile or whatever, you will never get anybody to have the same expression on their face without an outside stimulus. You won't do it, and so I think part of the secret, you know, one time I, every time a client would book me, I would ask them why did you hire me, out of the thousands and thousands of photographers out there, why did you hire me. What made it different than anybody else, and I was expecting them to say "Oh, because you makin' the bride look amazing, blah, blah, "we look like they're on the cover of GQ." Wasn't that at all, the number one response was "Your subjects, I mean, the weddings that you shoot "and your subjects, they just look so darn happy. "They look like they're really having a good time." And so I thought about that and I go, you know what? That's true, and the number one thing of getting emotion out of a group or a person, or whatever, is that your subjects mirror you. And in general, I'm a pretty happy and lively person, and so, that's gonna reflect in my photography. So that, so if you're getting into this business, and you want to shoot people, and you wanna earn a living, unfortunately, it is a social endeavor. You have to interact with people, and you're gonna have to like it (laughs). You might not love it, but you're gonna have to get to the point where you don't mind interacting with people because that's really what it's all about, so besides all these techniques and everything that I'm gonna share, I think on top of that, you have to be, realize that you have to be social, you have to exude positive energy, and if you don't do that, a lot of times that group is not gonna give you that positive energy back, right? To me, they're only gonna give me half of what I give them, right? You saw it up here, I was telling him to laugh hysterically, and you know, they're on camera and everything, and I was going crazy but they were sort of doing it, right? And that's generally what's going to happen. They're just gonna give you half of whatever you shell out to them, so you gotta be over the top to get anything out from them. Okay, so let's get going here, and so how I kind of described posing was turning chaos into creativity because that's really what it is when you got a bunch of people and you're trying to take their photo, and they don't wanna listen to you and whatever. But let's go over some keys to group posing. One, well designed group shots are always directed, it just doesn't happen by chance, so if you see a well designed group shot, it is somebody has put them into the position, somebody has posed them, 'kay, and that's always the case. Two, people have no patience for group posing. I'm sorry, they're "Yay! Group posing. "I wanna stand still for 10 minutes". Nobody wants that so you basically have got a few minutes, right, you've got about three minutes for a basic pose, you got five minutes for something that's really, really complicated, and you gotta really know your stuff, especially if you're posing because let's say you're posing a group of 10 people. You start with this, one person over here, by the time you're all the way over here, that person is out of pose already, is not posed, they're just given up, 'cause they can't stand in that position so long, so you gotta really hustle it and know what you're doing it, to get somebody, to get a group shot where they're all nicely posed, so speed is very important and efficiency. Learn to yell at people in a very nice way. (audience laughs) Okay, you literally have to scream and yell. Okay, this is the greatest trick that I do at weddings, oh, they are not paying attention to me at all, and we're trying to get a certain family up there, and I'll go, I am taking this picture in 10 seconds, and I will literally count down 10, 9 , 8, and they are just running to get in place, right? And so I'm kind of giving them an urgency to get up there and into it, and so, you're gonna have to learn how to direct a lot, and the more you can do that, the more success you're gonna have, so what does that mean? You're gonna have to learn to be a leader. If you're gonna be group posing, or you're gonna shoot families, or groups, you need to learn how to be a leader, and that's very important, and that also helps with their confidence in you. When they see you directing and pointing and knowing what you're doing, they love that, they want to be directed, okay? And so you gotta give that to them. Be extremely proactive, right? And so you see a large group, something's not going on right the way you want, you gotta yell at that person, hey, my friend over there, look at the camera, right? And so (laughs) sometimes, it's literally like that. Smile, or very, you know, strong, but you have to be proactive because it's just not gonna fall together for you, you have to make it happen, 'kay? Keep it fun and upbeat with energy, so if you're yellin' at 'em, that's fine, but you know, you gotta keep it light, make a joke once in a while, make it funny, but you still really gotta create, you don't wanna be a Debby Downer in that instance and bring the whole group down, so it's gotta be positive, and there's a fine balance between yelling and having fun and all that kind of stuff, but you're gonna learn that as you go along.