Occasionally, you will receive an assignment to make a picture of a group of
The group may be a graduating class, the commanding general's
staff, a VIP touring group, or an infantry squad. There is added difficulty
when working with a number of people at one time. You must pay attention to
every member of the group, using every precaution to show each person
clearly, and that interest is not drawn to one individual by some awkward
Group pictures are made for official records,
Group photographs are classified as either
formal or informal.
PART A - FORMAL AND INFORMAL GROUP PHOTOGRAPHY
A formal group is one in which several people, uniformly
dressed for the occasion, are posed, seated or standing, in similar poses.
Your goal is to arrange the group to obtain the best composition to fill the
frame and get as large an image size of each person as possible. You want
to avoid stringing out long narrow rows of people across the frame.
exception to this general rule is when the background or foreground is as
important as the group.
b. Research and Prepare.
When you receive an assignment to shoot a
formal group photo you should do your research. A key question you need to
ask is, "How many people are there in the group?" This information will help
you plan the location, physical arrangements, camera format, and lighting
equipment you may need.
(1) The group size is a factor that will determine what format film
you will use. Choose as large a format as practical to achieve maximum head
size for easy recognition of all subjects.
You will be able to use 35mm
format for groups up to 15 people. For groups up to three dozen, 120 film
would record a larger image for better recognition of the individuals. For
groups much bigger than that, you will obtain clearer pictures with a 4x5
(2) As a rule of thumb your first choice when choosing a lens for
formal group photos should be a short telephoto lens, provided you have the
room to use it.
However, in any case, you have should choose a lens
slightly longer than normal for the film format. This will keep distracting
distortions to a minimum. Use the shorter focal length lens when you are
limited by the physical space available.