You know when you do a group shot – you want it to be dull and straight, with everyone standing straight up military style, and aiming and looking straight at the camera, handsa their side military style?
Oh now, wait. That’s what you don’t want!
What you want instead is a lively arrangement.
Superstar photographers like Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz were or are great at this. So were painters like Velasquez (Las Meninas) and Rembrandt (the Night Watch). If you want to learn composition, go study the old masters and visit a museum!
My suggestion, which I have mentioned before:
- Do a combination of sit, stand and lean.
- Involve chairs
- Create little groups
- See how people behave, and what their natural positioning is: use that
- Use a joiner between the little groups
- Turn people 45 degrees to the right and left,so they face each other, or look away from each other (back to back) – this too is lively.
So even for a quick group snap pofthe photo club I taught the other day at the Royal Botanical Gardens, I did much of the same:
Even when it is not a museum shot, but just a shot of some very nice people who are as passionate about photography as I am, it’s fun to do a little better than just “line up in two rows and smile”.