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Photography Question 
Stella Crase

How to Photograph Large Groups?

I get too much grass and too much sky in my large group shots. What lens should I use with my digital SLR camera, or what is the best way to photograph large groups?

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8/21/2007 11:50:33 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  If the group is stung out in a single line filling your frame, re-arrange them into 2 or more rows. Otherwise, just get closer.

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8/21/2007 12:57:56 PM

Francesco A. DAmico
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/5/2005
  A trick I learned from Scott Kelby's "The Book for Digital Photographers," is to have everyone in the group close their eyes and when you count to three, they open them and smile. This way, nobody ruins your perfect shot by blinking.

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8/28/2007 11:14:52 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  In addition to Jon's good advice of re-arranging into more rows, you can also try climbing up on a ladder to shoot the group. This will allow you to see more rows without having people in front block the people behind them.

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8/28/2007 2:25:02 PM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  I concur with the good advice of Jon and Chris. Something that stuck firmly in my mind at a large gathering of the Rocky Mountain Professional Photographers Association meeting several decades ago, was the arrangement of the group in several rows, enough to fill the frame. Within that arrangement, each smaller grouping created a triangular composition, so that repetitive triangles created composition in the large group of 60 or more people.

Next, the photographer capturing the image shot several images from a second floor balcony using a zoom to fill the frame with people, and not extraneous background.

If you use a ladder, be certain that someone else is with you for safety reasons. Actually, anything that can give you some height over the group will work, even an artificial heap or mound of earth and a zoom lens to help you fill the frame.

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8/29/2007 7:48:16 AM

Bruce A. Dart   Hi Stella,
Keeping the group arrangement to a proportion for your finished print, i.e. a more "square" rectangle than panoramic, as well as the height advantage both help. Keep in mind also that it is certainly OK to crop or mat the final print into a size that represents what you are trying to have in the finished print. Don't always worry about "standard" sizes when you can't solve the problem any other way.

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9/2/2007 5:27:05 AM

John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Stella,
I often stand on top of my car to shoot large groups. Not great for the car, but very good for the group!
Thanks, John Siskin

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9/2/2007 2:59:27 PM

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