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Taking a portrait of a small business group under time constraints

From: Family and Group Portraiture

Video: Taking a portrait of a small business group under time constraints

Lots of times when you're doing group shots, you are running against the clock. It might be at a wedding where the bride is anxious to get to the reception or at a conference where the speakers only have five minutes between the lectures. In these cases, it's really important for you to pre-visualize the shoot before they even arrive on the scene. Today, I found a location, I set up my lights and I thought about the poses that I wanted people to do. I have three people coming in from the Rotary today, and I know that they don't have very much time at all.

Taking a portrait of a small business group under time constraints

Lots of times when you're doing group shots, you are running against the clock. It might be at a wedding where the bride is anxious to get to the reception or at a conference where the speakers only have five minutes between the lectures. In these cases, it's really important for you to pre-visualize the shoot before they even arrive on the scene. Today, I found a location, I set up my lights and I thought about the poses that I wanted people to do. I have three people coming in from the Rotary today, and I know that they don't have very much time at all.

So anything I can do to get ready for them and to be efficient with their time, it's going to be nicer for them and a better recommendation for me. Stephanie: Hi Natalie! I am Stephanie. Natalie Fobes: Stephanie, nice to you! Well, I know you have a very limited time. So let's get right to it. We found a great place in the lobby. Come on in. So if there was someone that should be more prominent in the photograph, which of you should be that person? Stephanie: Well, Art is going to be our future president, so let's place Art in front.

Natalie Fobes: Okay! Beth: He is President elect. Natalie Fobes: Okay, very good, very good. So Art come on over here. I'm going to have you standing front and center. Go ahead and maybe cross your arms like that. Do you mind if I fuss with your jacket a little bit? Art: Sure, go ahead. Natalie Fobes: Okay. When you're meeting someone for the first time, it's really important to figure out who is the boss, and in this case, I wanted to try to subtly ask that and I finally had to ask them straight out, who's the boss? The reason this is so important is because when you're posing a group, the people in the middle and in the foreground are always the most important people in that group.

Once you pose them, then you add the different people around that and create subgroups. And you two, all right, go ahead and bend forward just a little bit, okay. And really kind of straighten your shoulders out just a bit. Okay, Stephanie, twist a little bit this way and lunge. Very good! You guys look great. Okay, so I'll be taking quite a few photographs so don't worry about blinking or anything like that. Now I can see that I'm getting a little reflection and go ahead and lower your chin a little and push your glasses up.

Very good! Okay, now really kind of straighten out a little, relax a little bit. There you go! Nice! When shooting a business portrait, you want to make sure that the message is the same for all of the elements of the photograph. The lighting, the location, the poses; they all have to support the message that you want in that photograph. In a family portrait, I love having the arms around each other. I mean you really need that to show the love and respect and fun that a family has together.

But in the business portrait, I would never have arms wrapped around each other unless they are really, really close. That just isn't the right message for a business portrait. And this time, I think I will just have you with your hands at your side, maybe here -- and yeah. All right, we will try that. Stephanie: Do you want us smiling? Natalie Fobes: This one -- we are a little bit serious on this one. That's a good question though. Let's try it a little serious and go ahead and tuck back just a little. There you go! And now Beth go ahead bend at the waist, out this way, so I won't lose you in the light, and Stephanie, go ahead and lower your chin a little bit, tilt your head this way, even more with the chin.

There you go, and twist your body a little bit more back that way. Okay, all right, here we go. One, two, three! You can get away with having more contrast in your lighting for these business portraits, because the message of the photograph is a little bit more serious. Natalie Fobes: And there you go, and let's have a smile on this one. One, two, three! Now, Art, go ahead and cross your arms again. Perfect! That's it, there we are.

That's exactly right. When you're in a tense situation like trying to beat the clock, there is no way that you should let anyone see you sweat. You really need to take control of that situation and no matter how it's going, you will always want them to think that it's going fantastic. So usually when I take that first shot, I will say something like, oh man, this is going to look great, and I do it just kind of subconsciously after all these years. But it really helps to take the edge off of the situation and to let them relax a bit, because if you're relaxed, you make a better picture.

Natalie Fobes: Very good and real close together, you guys work together, so I know you are friends. And this time, I am going to have you leaning this way and looking that way. Beth: Looking over in the corner? Natalie Fobes: Over -- about straight, I think, and get it real close in there, Stephanie, even a little closer, okay. You can be up higher, but there you go. What I'm doing is I am getting the profiles of you, and turn your noses just even more that way. Stephanie, I am going to mess with your hair.

Okay, here we go, and this one will start out serious and then we'll be a little bit more happy. One, two, three! Okay and now let's have some smiles. Now when you're shooting something quick like this, you have to make some decisions, and I chose not to have my camera on a tripod. I wanted the flexibility of to be able to walk around them if I wanted to, and to move around and move them around, without worrying about the tripod hitting someone in the legs.

The other thing I did was I chose my 24-105 zoom lens. I knew that I was going to be able to get a good coverage, both wide and a nice portrait telephoto, by using that lens. I didn't want to take the time to change out lenses. I wanted to be able to bring them in, pose them, shoot them, and get a variety of focal lengths at the time that I was doing it. Now this time I think I'm going to have -- Stephanie why don't you sit down here and sit on one hip.

Even though I only had five minutes, I wanted to give them an extra pose. So it's always better to give more than they expect. So in this case, I did the pose that I really wanted first. I realized they had a little bit extra time and so I experimented a little bit more and I think that it turned out just as solid as the first pose, if not even more exciting to them when I shown them the photograph later. So we have some nice line, and Steph -- Beth, I am sorry.

Go ahead and lean back and kind of put your bum right there on -- and then really kind of arch your back. Now that you're all in position, Art come in a little bit and Stephanie this way. Good! I have a nice triangle going with your faces. So this is really nice. Great! You guys are awesome. Okay, it's hard after smiling.

I don't like serious, let's do a little smile. And Stephanie, turn this way, very good. And this will be the last one. Great! Well, thank you so much. Thanks for coming in. It's a pleasure to meet you and best of luck with your project. Art: Thank you. Natalie Fobes: You're welcome. This was a very successful shoot despite having so little time to actually take the portrait. The reason it worked was because I got in early, I found a location and I set up my lights.

I thought through those poses, so by the time they came in, I was ready to go. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

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Family and Group Portraiture

17 video lessons · 15817 viewers

Natalie Fobes
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