Photo Assignment: Group Shots
Illustration by

Photo Assignment: Group Shots

with Derrick Story

Video: Shooting couples outdoors

I am outdoors now. The light is going down. This is beautiful, beautiful portrait light. We are going to do just another couples shot, this time outdoors here. I want to make sure I don't get any distracting shadows projected against the wall. If I was using the flash right on the camera, there is a chance of getting that ugly outline shadow. So what I'm doing is I am getting the flash up here, and then I'm actually putting some diffusion on it. I want a very natural light. Okay, so that is our technical side. Our backdrop, fabulous. Isn't this a wonderful backdrop? And our couple, they look ready to go.

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Watch the Online Video Course Photo Assignment: Group Shots
36m 15s Beginner Apr 12, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this installment of the popular Photo Assignment series, professional photographer Derrick Story demonstrates the art of shooting timeless group shots. Derrick provides suggestions for appropriate lighting gear and shares advice for capturing subjects at their best, both indoors and out. After viewing the tutorials, join Derrick and the lynda.com community in the course's companion Flickr group—a venue for lynda.com members to submit their group shot samples for discussion and review.

Group Shots Photo Assignment Flickr Discussion Group

Topics include:
  • Modifying a camera's flash for effective lighting
  • Understanding how to use a flash bracket
  • Using a light stand for large groups
  • Positioning subjects for an effective composition
  • Capturing couples shots
  • Reviewing photos from the shoot
Subject:
Photography
Author:
Derrick Story

Shooting couples outdoors

I am outdoors now. The light is going down. This is beautiful, beautiful portrait light. We are going to do just another couples shot, this time outdoors here. I want to make sure I don't get any distracting shadows projected against the wall. If I was using the flash right on the camera, there is a chance of getting that ugly outline shadow. So what I'm doing is I am getting the flash up here, and then I'm actually putting some diffusion on it. I want a very natural light. Okay, so that is our technical side. Our backdrop, fabulous. Isn't this a wonderful backdrop? And our couple, they look ready to go.

So as you can see, the light is pretty nice. The only reason why I am going to add a little bit of fill light is, again, I want to light up those faces, a little twinkle on the eye. All right, so now let's think about position. All right, I want you just a little closer together. Good! Now really look out for things in the background here. For instance, if I had them a little bit more this way, the Stage Door type would be going into the side of his head. That's not a good thing. So we want to make sure that it is clean behind both of their heads, yet we want the background to contribute to the shot, just not distract from it. Okay, here we go.

Now I am going to have you look right into the camera, just like that. I am going to get some of that neat backdrop stuff. So I am going to shoot just a little bit wider. Good, right to the camera. I didn't have the flash go off on that. That's something we have to keep an eye out for. It's using a lot of power to do the fill light here. So if the flash doesn't go off, don't worry about it; just know that frame is probably not really going to count. Let her recharge for a second or change the batteries. So let's get one with the flash this time.

Now one thing you'll notice that when you see these shots when we go back to the studio, I actually have the couple off to the side a little bit. Remember, you don't always have to put the subjects right in the middle of the frame. Do a little dynamic composition. So work with them off to the side in the setting. Let the background carry the rest of the shot. We have something that works together very well. Let's do another one here and that's very good. That's good. Excellent! And maybe hands out of your little thing there. Good! Just put them around each other's back.

One of the nice things is when you do that that draws them closer together. If they have their hands in their pockets, they are creating space between them. Get the arms around each other and this is fine for friends, brothers, and sisters, all those sort of things. Get them tighter. So suddenly now, they are a lot closer together. Very good! I like that. That looks really good. I am really excited about this. I love this setting. Let's take a look. Outstanding! Outstanding! Again, background, we've got a home run on this one.

Position, couple looks great; I just had to help them get a little closer together. Lighting, nature is doing a lot of the work, just a little fill light to make sure that they have twinkle in the eyes. And then take some frames, because remember, you want the best shot possible. It's going to take a few frames to do that. I think we have a dynamite shot here. Do those things and you'll end up with one too.

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