Posing a Small Group: 4-5 People
Okay, so what I'm going to do is I'm gonna actually switch you guys back to the way you were for more sisters, if you want to switch positions. Take a seat. I'm actually going to pull you out, pretend that you're not there. How bout... Move this, I don't need this. How bout you sit back on the floor, lean in towards her, perfect, come fit in here. So, what do you do with a fourth person? For a triangle? What would be another triangle? (audience muttering) So, two more triangles, you could put somebody here on this side or whatever, or you could also sit somebody, so it could be a triangle here and then another. It doesn't need to be the same height on either side. So if you look at a lot of Vanity Fair, Vogue poses, they're not balanced, they go like this, up and down because it gives you visual interest. Great, perfect, great. Let's take a pose, picture that, I'm watching everybody's pose, would you put your arm across in front? Yeah that was great, put that back up there, pop your el...
bow out just a little bit more, relax thought that was kinda fake. Okay, cool, good. (camera clicking) And now I'm gonna have you stand up behind. Put your hand on her shoulder, hip back, perfect. (camera clicking) So are you guys getting the idea of building triangles, you just kinda figure it out, and any of these are fine, I would just go ahead and say okay, and I would take a look at it and say, does the hand look natural? Maybe, I need a little bit more balance, I need her to step out to the side, so I'm kinda balancing the whole thing, and so I'm gonna keep adding a few more people, but I'm actually going to ask for that couch over there while we do this. Do you guys have any questions so far? Kinda makes sense, look for your triangle? So they're gonna set that down. Perfect, so would you guys stand next to each other shoulder to shoulder just like that, I just wanna show you real quick, I don't. (audience laughs) Come this way, close, shoulder to shoulder. Watch, heads lined up. That was a good crazy shot over here. (audience laughs) Heads lined up, put your arms around each other's backs. (camera clicks) You're not paying attention to each person's shape, so they're going to blend in, you'll see in a second. There's not really individual shape. And now, arms on your shoulders. And now we have a whole bunch of hands. (camera clicks) Alright, so, what I prefer is if I can have a couch or something to work with, makes your staggering a lot easier. You can have somebody sitting on the floor, somebody sitting on the couch, someone standing behind the couch, someone sitting on the back of the couch, so let's bring in, are you gonna come in? Okay, so who wants to sprawl across the couch? Do you want to? You're sprawling?
What you're going to do, is you are going to lean across this way. So I'm elongating, I'm having negative space. I start with one person, so they don't count yet. I'm building around one person. Looks good, make sure you're relaxed-ish. Do you wanna put your feet up? Does that make you more comfortable? She's like yeah. Who do I wanna build? I will have you come right behind here, so I've got two parts of a triangle here, so where is my next triangle going to go? I could maybe put somebody here, and I can actually stick someone here to complete that triangle, and I'm actually going to do both, Will you come stand over here, You sprawl on the floor again. I don't want their legs to go the same way. I'm gonna have you stick your hip out, and I'm going to have you put your hand on her shoulder, and lean in, great. So I've got a triangle, got a bit of a triangle, gonna bring you right over here, and I'm gonna have you lean out, so by default, she sat back, that is not, doesn't work, so watch out for couches, so right now she's faced straight towards the camera, I don't want that either that's the same thing, foreshortening. I'm going to have you turn your hips towards them, right now her feet are even, even feet doesn't work, so I'm gonna have you kick one foot back, giving it a little bit of shape, gets much more dynamic, she's leaning back, I'm actually gonna have you lean forward, perfect. Pull up through better posture, this arm's coming straight towards the camera, gonna tweak that like this, let's take a look, I'm gonna have you scoot in a little bit, will you scoot this way a little? And you look a little distant so I'm actually going to have you sit on the edge of the couch, and you can use whoever you need to balance. (audience laughs) Just don't fall! That would be a good Creative Live blooper though so I'm okay with it. I need to make sure I can see everybody okay so I take a picture and I'm still thinkin' you look out of place so I'm actually going to have you put your feet on this side behind her and sit on that edge, here we go. Your bottom right there, so I'm looking, I've got triangle, triangle, triangle, this is a little less of a triangle, but we've got enough triangles going on, don't lean back, lean forward, give me some negative space with that hand, that looks great, can you scooch a little bit this way? (camera clicks) Now we have more dynamic groups. You'll see it improve, so now we have lots of triangles and shapes and so this can be any groups you want, it just depends on what your goal is, if it's going to be a corporate shot, whatever. At the very end here, we are going to do a massive group shot with everybody. You guys, too, if you want to be. You guys are gonna be in that group shot. But that is how I would build it, and to finish that off, I'd put another person here on the ground to create a triangle, another person here to create a triangle, if I had another person, maybe it was somebody tall, a tall male, standing here, with his head here, another male, with his head over here, so I'm just building triangles, and that's how you do more dynamic posing, so I'm going to see if there's any questions because I will build on and do bridal parties next.
Yes, Lindsay, one quick question from Photos Scott, with group shots, do you ever direct the group where to look to position their heads?
Definitely, in general, I'll say okay, everybody, make sure you're leaning forward, if you feel like you're leaning back at all, trust me, it doesn't look good, everybody lean out towards me, and I'll say "tilt your head this way a little bit." If it's a family, I'll definitely say, "tilt your head in," "can you tilt your head forward," "can you lean back just a little bit more?" (audience laughs) Not like that. Also, you can definitely have more intimate poses like this, I could actually, there's a famous, who shot this? I wanna say Herb Ritts, I don't know if it was him, where there's a bunch of supermodels, all nude, and they're posed real tight shot together, it's gorgeous, and if you look, all triangles, and it gives you a nice circular composition there, so the whole point of that is I can have them look, and then I can also reposition. I always have them look this way and then I will tweak individuals, and I do this, eye contact, that's how I direct if I don't know everybody's names. I try to learn their names, but I'm pretty much lost after five.
So that actually leads nicely into the next question from Karooo, who has like three or four o's in their name, so Karooo, wants to know, what's the maximum size that you would use this technique with, what's the maximum size group, like how many people before it becomes unwieldy?
Well, Vogue for example will do a five page spread, like a double, triple fold that opens up endlessly, and if you look, go look up "celebrity group shot Vogue," your eye just does this throughout the whole thing, so it could actually be endless, but if you don't want to have an endless panoramic, there's not really, at that point, this technique still works, but you wanna use depth and height. At that point, let's say that you don't want to keep building to the side, so you need to build upward triangles, so instead of someone sitting, I can have someone laying, or if it's a kid, sitting cross-legged, and then I can have someone standing behind. They do this a lot in Vogue, ladders, you've probably seen this a lot, they put the ladders behind because then they can stack people in triangles up the ladder, somebody sitting at the top. So if you can't go across, go up, but really, usually it's a balance between the two. Up and across to build these shots.
Lindsay, you were spot on, it was Herb Ritts.
Okay, cool, I thought so, I love that photo. I will say, if you wanna laugh, go look up the remake done with larger men naked. (all laugh) It's really funny, you saw that? I saw the disgust in your eyes. How bout the, well this is posing related, so I feel okay to say this, the middle-aged heavier men recreating women posing with motorcycles, awesome. (all laugh)
AT Photo, I'm trying to find the question here, said, you seem to be abandoning some of the rules you gave us previously, hands, wide bodies, et cetera, is that typical in group shots, do you become a little bit less concerned about some of those rules, or is that just based on time?
It's a little bit of both, if I could do this perfectly, I would have her lean forward a little bit, but in general, because it's not exactly posed for that person, you can't quite get it, it's funny, I was looking at the Vogue pictures. I was looking across and I was like "oh my gosh, Scarlett Johansson is posed terribly in this photo," because sometimes to get it to work, it can't be the absolute pose perfect for that individual, but you definitely want them to look their best, so I didn't completely abandon, I don't think, I think most of it's pretty spot on, but maybe her hand is a little bit too far to the camera, so I'm gonna try to tweak it as close as possible.
And maybe one last one, which might lead into an example, Photo by AM from the UK, if you were outside with nowhere to sit, how can you get different levels?
What you do is laying, kneeling, like, laying out, sitting on your knees sideways, sitting on your knees one knee up, standing, and then taller people in the back, so you just kinda build that way, and then if there's kids and you wanna build that even more, have them in the foreground, have a kid in somebody's arms, if you wanna be playful, it can be a kid around somebody's shoulders, so you're just trying to give it a little more movement and depth.