Big Groups+Family Dynamics
I had one of my first big group shoots over the weekend and I learned a big lesson on helping people look their best. Unless you are dealing with professional models, most people aren’t perfectly comfortable and know how to pose in front of a camera. Selfies don’t help- No duck faces! It takes a lot of patience from my clients to put up with me micro-managing their stances, so I don’t try to. I give general directions. Especially with a big group, there are things happening that can distract. I start posing at one end, and by the time I get to the other, something has changed with the first part. This weekend it was the dog who wanted to play ball, the 1 year old who was so done with all of this, and great family chatter happening that make people smile the way I constantly try capture.
Here are a few tips for both men and women that I picked up from a few reading sources and using an artists eye.
Everyone will look more confident, thinner and curvier just by standing up straight with shoulders back and curving the lower back. Slouching has become so mainstream from people at desks and our general mental need to try to appear smaller, that it stays. This always doesn’t apply to groups, but even if you can’t see your entire body in the frame, that part that is showing will benefit from standing up with confidence. Here’s what the difference can make!
Next, to add some dimension, set one foot in front of the other and place your weight on that back foot. Make sure to still stand up straight. If possible, bend the knee towards the foot that is in the front. Last, at least one arm needs to be away from your waist for some definition. This can be on your kip, resting on something or someone. If it feels unnatural, it’s going to look unnatural. I know it’s a lot, but practice for a bit and you’ve got it!
For the men, to show masculinity, make sure the toes of your feet are pointed away from each other in a line that will never cross. Tilt your head back just a little bit towards your upper shoulder. That will open up your chest and make the shoulders seem wider.
To appear a bit more feminine, cross one leg over the other to give you curves. This will instantly slim you and give dimension. Another trick is to pointing your toes in towards each other. Shoulders down will slim your neck while tilting your head slightly down and towards the front of your shoulder will give you a slightly coy look.
I have no tips for children except to try and keep up with them and let them do what they want. Have you tried posing a 3 year old? If you really want a challenge, I suggest trying to tell them to stand still, put your foot there, turn your head, etc. Yeah, not gonna happen. Just keep up. These are actually some of my favorite people to shoot. It gives me a challenge and I never know what I am going to get out of it.
Next time you’re bored or you know you have a shoot coming up, practice or try to remember a few of these points and you will thank your self when you see the results. If you can’t remember any of this, just remember to be confident and enjoy yourself. The best photos are of people be happy. Everyone is unique and what is a photo, but capturing that unique personality, frozen to remember.
‘Til Next Time!