Skip to main content

Group Posing & Lighting Techniques

Lesson 17 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

Group Posing & Lighting Techniques

Lesson 17 from: Wedding Photography: Capturing the Story

Rocco Ancora, Ryan Schembri

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

17. Group Posing & Lighting Techniques


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Define the Goals of Wedding Photographers


The Importance of Wedding Photographers


Shooting Philosophy


How to Build a Shot List - Bride, Groom & Formals


Tye the Wedding Story Together


Capture Stories in Wedding Pictures


Get the Right Exposure


Lesson Info

Group Posing & Lighting Techniques

We should do some group posing, right? I think we should, yeah, absolutely. Bridal party is- There they are, hello. Hello bridal party. Hello bridal party. So what we're going to do guys, we're going to use this area just in front of us. So what we'll do first, as we would on a wedding, is position the bride and groom to exactly where we need them. And something that we call, we like to call modular posing. So starting with bride and groom and then building the group from there. And really just building it up until we have basically a full bridal party shot. And we're gonna do a couple of things with the bridal party just to have a bit of fun there as well. So, if i can get the two of you back over the knee of that credenza there. Beautiful, lovely, and we'll turn into each other, guys give each other a little bit of a hug there for me. So what we'll do, we'll make this really formal. And we'll give her Flowers are in the shot? It's formal. It's formal, yeah So just one...

arm around each other. And just a smidgen this way, just a smidge, there you go, and come out her for me just a little bit. Beautiful, alright guys, so that front toe is again point back towards me, excellent. Mate, that hand can go in your pocket, that's it. Hans, especially with guys, it can be pretty awkward because they're quite large. So I always find either it's got to be around her or in her, holding the flowers, or in his pocket just to make him look pretty cool there. So, and again, we need their heads as close as possible, yeah? So again, sh, there he goes, there he goes, just shrunk you. And if your cheeks are coming close together that's it, let her come to you mate and so you're gonna, there you go. And no leaning forward towards me guys. Chins up. Beautiful. So if we start with that, that's our first pose, and usually if we're in a nice environment we would start full length to the bride and groom three quarter length, nice formal shot, and then start building the groups in around them. So let's use our makeshift bridal party. Come on down guys, so all of you can come on down. Because I know we have one couple, so we're going to use them as a couple as well. So you guys I need, actually (muffled) right in there for me, beautiful. And Mark, come in just behind her mate. Lovely, and come out to me guys just a fraction more. I need one more girl. Come here Di, I'm going to split the boys up here. Come in that way, gorgeous, and a little bit closer in. So what I'm doing is making sure that the angles of what I place the bridal party at all become 45 degree angles back in to the bride and groom. And we're tucking people in behind each other, because what happens, if I all asked you to stand very flat footed towards me and straight towards me, so if you can all do that for me now. There you go, do we see how much space we now created between everybody's heads, yeah? Yeah. And you've seen this at weddings before because family get together and you go oh, get a family shot and everybody just stands there like- Military style. Yeah, like that. No one really looks like they love each other that much, so let's make it more lovey, yeah. So in on those 45 degree angles, there we go. You can all come in a little bit closer. Gorgeous, Sandra? Come on that side. Actually, come on the other side for me darling, yeah? And guys, you guys are going to swap around for me actually. Yeah, swap around. Yup. Yeah. So Mike, you go in first. If you put your hand in your pocket mate, and then Krista's hands can sort of, she can wrap into there, lovely. And then mate, you're going to come around the end there. Excellent, and this hand. So we see here with three couples, we've got a couple in the middle, couple on either side, and then the last couple, rather than have one side with two couple and another side with a single couple, you split the last couple up. So you have boy between two girls and you have a girl here between two boys. So it makes it a nice, beautiful, balanced composition. Notice what I've done here with hands as well. I've made sure that the hands have a connection point. So with some, like with Mark's hand, I've got it in the pocket, but then Krista's really wrapping herself into Mark and can squeeze into him. And mate, you're just coming in a little bit closer there, and just that arm's coming down there. So always make sure there's some sort of connection point between people, yeah? So her hand's coming, just wrap that back in. Down, there we go. You've got your hand in there, but you're holding on there. So let's say, there's always these ll connection points that happen. Now guys, if you all bring your front towards me like that, that'll give you a bit of a balancing point and then you can all lean in together. Now watch what happens when they lean in together is that what should happen is all their heads come closer and closer and closer together. So Mark is blocking out Krista a little bit. (laughter) There we go, you're wrapping into there. So it's bringing these triangles of heads, and that's what we're trying to build here, we're trying to build these little triangles and getting all their heads a little bit closer together. Now, important to note that my cropping is a little bit different to other peoples'. I like to crop quite tight. Now, when I crop tight, I need heads close together, that's where there's such an over exagerence of that lean. But what I'm doing is I'm cropping out the awkwardness of the shot, because mate you might feel quite awkward and you bending over like that looks a little bit awkward when I look at the full length of you. So if I wanted a full length shot, you guys are just going to relax back a little bit. Oh, there we go. So there's more of a full length moment, but when I want it tighter, and especially because I've got a big group in my frame I need all of your heads really closer to get you all in my frame, so you all lean in together, and then I crop the awkwardness out, and I'm going to shoot you so we've got it. So relax for a sec, guys, relax back. We'll do the full length first. Alright, so important to note here as well guys aperture sort of leads the way when I'm shooting a group because I can't shoot it too shallow a depth of field, I'm going to shoot this at 5.6, okay? That's going to get me enough on a 24 to 70 ml, it's going to get me enough depth to play with this. Now what that means though if I've got low light, ISO, it's got to go up, doesn't it? Now if I expose this properly, it won't be an issue, trust me, these cameras are quite good, and we should be able to get still quite a nice exposure out of it. So I'm going to do that, we're going to still use the bride's dress here as my exposure point. And we're good, alright. So 3/20th of a second, 5/6th, 2000 ISO, here we go. Let's switch this back, ah, that looks lovely guys, look at you, makeshift bridal party of the year. 30-40 canvas on the wall, I can see it. Yeah. Amazing. Gorgeous guys, we're just going to open up a fraction. It's going to come up two-thirds of a stop. And guys, just your heads in a little bit closer together. Ah, lovely. You know what? You all need a warmth about you as well. So let's do a change, oh. Gorgeous, so we've got our full length moment, yeah? So covered ourselves there, now I want it tighter. So you guys lean in together, that's it, heads close, bring it in, bring it in, Mark, don't be scared. Yeah, there we go, gorgeous guys, hold it there for me. Beautiful, and while we're there guys, what we're gonna do, we're gonna give the bride a bit of love, so you can look, laugh, hug. Chris, you can kiss because you love her the most. Oh yeah, nice, gorgeous, beautiful. So we come in now a little bit tighter and we've also introduced a bit of energy into that shot as well because giving them that line, giving them the permission to love each other, and if I said love him, you love her, or whatever it means, it's going to mean something totally different to you than to any other person, yeah? What I don't want to do is say to you guys, okay, guys, everyone talk to each other. Awkward, because the first thing that bridal party says, "What do you want us to talk about?" Makes sense right? What do you want us to talk about? And 9 times out of 10 you'll here, oh, this is stupid, what am I doing this for? But the minute you tell them to direct their love to one particular person, whether it's the bride or the groom, things change dramatically because then it's about love and it's about you guys being in the moment and being in the shot, and you're sharing an emotion with the bride or the groom as opposed to something that's just fake or constructed. If it feels fake or constructed, it's going to record like that, okay? And this is exactly the problem with photographers posing and then it doesn't look real. There's something missing, there's something static, the reality is gone. The reality is gone because we haven't really connected with our subject first and foremost to get that expression happening. So communication is the key here. Absolutely. Next thing I'm gonna do with the bridal party here is actually we're going to pull the bride and groom out of the shot and come sort of about half way up to me guys. You guys kind of relax in the background there a little bit. Oh, look at that light, hello light. That light is (muffled). Isn't it? Wow. It's light we don't really need. We didn't really need that, no. Do you want to fix that for me? Yes, I just wanted to grab a black reflector, it's amazing. So what I'm going to do here is play with depth a little bit and still have bridal party involved in the image, but not to the point of where they're all sort of super in focus. We're going to focus on the bride and groom and having you guys in the background, you guys are going to act as our background basically. You guys are going to be our background, and we're just going to play between the focal lengths here. So yeah, we'll just, thank you. That's alright, this is what I do. This is, you know. Beautiful, so you guys come in nice and close together, eyes to me, yeah, it looks gorgeous there. And guys, together, actually can you just shift this way a touch. So shift out this way, all of you, just so I've got a nice sort of group happening around that area say from this point back to this way. So about half through that credenza to about half way there, and you guys are all relaxed and chilling out, you're out of focus, who really cares? Yeah, that's right. And you guys still look happily married, so how about that. Alright, so we can bring down ISO now, we got a little bit more light on you guys there. And I'm going to bring down my aperture as well. I'm going to go to about some F3.5. Now together, leaning in. And close the gap, beautiful, hold it there. That's gorgeous, so guys, probably don't look at me. It just looks a bit awkward. Yeah, give each other love. Yeah, that's it. Oh, let's fix the exposure there. Yeah, (muffled). Beautiful. And now you guys just turn lips in towards each other. So just sort of having a little bit of a moment there, and really softly, I just want you to play with each other there. Oh behave. Nice. And just Chris, just try to keep your nose behind hers, not that you have a bad nose Chris, but hers is better. Just saying. Lovely, lovely. So what we can start to do now is we can start to play with these depth and still having connection to the bridal party, but really focusing here on all this energy, which is a really beautiful thing. Because of this. Hey, who knew? Lighting with black, hey? Lighting with black, incredible. Guys, thank you so much to our bridal party, well done. Woo! Did that all make sense about, yeah, leaning in, getting people close. The key to like the emotion within group shots is how people connect, and how close they are. There's nothing worse than looking at two people being photographed and their heads being this far apart because this tells you nothing, yeah? It absolutely tells us nothing. This tells us so much more. It does. Especially about the two of us. Way too much going on. (laughter) So, we just want to be weary of that, bringing those heads really, really close, making that connection.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Posing Guide Book Chapter

Ratings and Reviews

Jerry Willis

Ryan & Rocco, in my very humble opinion, are THE best wedding photography instructors in the entire industry! I've been watching their work for years now, which just so happens to win a most grand-scaled competitions, and they somehow continue to keep getting better! I first drilled Ryan at WPPI inquiring about what made his workshop different from all the others. His response, me paraphrasing, "If you're looking for tools to learn, come to my workshop. If you're looking for inspiration and smoke blowing, don't come." That's exactly what I needed to hear. Straight tools, no fluff. THE BEST photography workshop I've EVER taken, by far. You want the best photography education, learn from the best. This CreativeLive workshop is the PERFECT complimentary refresher and companion to what I learned! Thank you so much for having them! It's not the same as the workshop, which it shouldn't be, but they ARE reinforcing many things that have slipped my memory! I'm for sure buying this! :-)

Neeraj Arora

WOW!!! I have started a few CL courses but not finished as I got distracted by "life" and it took me a while to get back and finish them. But these guys!! They were simply superb. I finished this course really fast. Amazing artists, they explain things so well, Ryan is such a charmer and engaging teacher, Rocco is a fountain of knowledge. I am an enthusiastic photographer with aspirations to start my own business soon. I learn't so much from this class that will help improve my photography even if I don't become a professional wedding photographer. Great job guys, keep it up. I will need to come back to the lessons and I very much appreciate the key note pdf. All CL courses should include the slides like they did here. Thanks CL.


I am a newborn photographer by trade, but I really want to venture out and photograph more weddings so I decided to purchase a wedding class on creative live. Of course when I typed in wedding, quite a few classes came up. But when I saw the image and title "capture the story" I was definitely intrigued. I've always been touched by the photographs that have emotion and that's what I'm passionate to photograph! Always a little nervous when you purchase a class because you don't want to feel like it was a waste of money, but this knocked it out of the park for me! Thank you to Ryan and Rocco for explaining so much, showing the pull backs, and moving your subject and explaining why! This has opened my eyes so much to how beautiful photographing a wedding can be and not so terrifying as I've been making it out to be. I'm really so thankful to hopefully being a great wedding photographer and making more income for my family, while having fun creating something beautiful

Student Work