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Recently I volunteered to photograph 3 big bands with over 20 students in each for The Big Band Bash event at my son’s high school. 

 

Photographing groups can be challenging. The key is to arrange everyone in an environment without making them look static and stiff like a typical school photo.

 

In large groups it’s usually best to give your subjects something to do. Holding instruments and hanging out around band equipment really helps in providing more of a story.

 

photographing large groups

 

The groups were shot in band practice rooms and on a stage that were all cavernous and dimly lit. 

 

Since I only had minimal flash equipment with me, it was important to utilize what ever little light there was in the room as fill. To get over 20 people in deep focus a small aperture of about f16 was needed. The combination of small aperture and dim light made my exposure about 1/8 of a second at ISO 400. Setting up the composition with the camera on a tripod was necessary. 

 

photographing groups

 

Fortunately the ambient light would not affect faces, only the background. It also provided a touch of hair and shoulder light. The strobe heads were bounced off walls behind me to create a large source to evenly light all band members. 

 

Once everyone was in place the direction was to hold very still in his or her coolest band pose. When photographing large groups like this it is important to take a few more frames than you normally would to cover yourself. Just one person can throw off the entire picture with a bad expression or closed eyes. 

 

group photography

 

And with optional images you will also have the ability to replace heads later on in Photoshop, just in case. But that’s another story!

 



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Fred Harvey

09-03-2011

Taking pictures of groups has always been disapointing .I think this article will help me.

June Wingert

09-03-2011

Excellent article, I remember all my family shots and everyone stood around like a stick, I like the relaxed pose of all the students, it looks natural.

EB

09-03-2011

Good picgures and tech. Have you ever tried to use the panorama feature in most cameras.

TG

20-03-2011

The panorama feature in most digital cameras is excellent these days. The technology is advanced and works well. Give it a try if you haven't yet.
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