Capture an Unforgettable Group Photo

Aug 01, 2012

Group photos get taken at some of the most exciting times in life: major family events, sports championships, school graduations. So why are they often some of the most boring pictures found in a photo album? A few easy tips and the right camera can help take your group photos from unremarkable to unforgettable.

A group photo shouldn’t look like a police lineup. It can (and should!) show the personality of the group: the closeness of a family, the camaraderie of a sports team, or the chemistry among a rock band. Choose a camera that helps you get the perfect shot in any conditions. Samsung NX cameras, for example, combine the lightweight body of a compact with many features of a full-size SLR, including interchangeable lenses.

Keep Focus

Group photos can be difficult for an amateur photographer, simply because there are so many points of focus—that is, faces—to capture. Use the NX’s Face Detection mode to perfectly focus and expose up to 10 faces in a single photo.

Remember to Have Fun

You’ll get better results every time if you can make a group of people smile than if you have to tell them to smile. Make some fun props available to help people loosen up: funny hats, feather boas, mustaches-on-a-stick. And promise the children that if they behave themselves for the family photo, you’ll take a few "silly" shots afterward where they can pull funny faces or jump in the air. You never know—one of those shots may turn out to be the keeper!

Get In on the Action

Sometimes—especially in family photos—the photographer also belongs in the picture. Certain NX models (like the NX200) have a programmable self-timer that can be set to fire the shutter after any interval between 2 and 30 seconds, allowing for greater flexibility than cameras with only a few preset choices. Decide beforehand where you belong in the lineup so you’re not rushing to squeeze into the arrangement.

Set the Scene

Select from different Scene modes to choose the one that best matches your setting. For instance, choose Beach to mitigate the effects of bright sunlight reflecting off sand, which might otherwise cause underexposure. Also consider adding a polarizing filter to increase colour saturation and to remove reflections from shiny surfaces such as water.

Light It Up

If you have a choice, take your photo in the morning or late afternoon when sunlight is softer and less direct. If you do have to shoot during midday, try a few shots with the flash turned on, even if you’re outside, as it can help tone down harsh shadows and increase colour saturation.

Finish Smart

Use Smart Filters to add creative effects after the shoot. Turn your photo into a sketch, add moody lighting, or give it a goofy fisheye effect.

Group Photo Wrangling

Trying to capture a group of squirmy children? Use your camera’s Burst Mode to capture up to 30 photos per second—odds are that at least one of the photos will capture the entire crew at their best.

Creative Arrangements

When posing your subjects, don’t just line them up. Arrange them at different levels and heights. Use a tree or stone wall if outdoors, or the back of a sofa or the stairs if at home. Even something as simple as different heights of seating can help. Use a mix of low chairs, bar stools, and standing.

Rise Above

If there’s a safe spot to elevate yourself (a stepladder, a jungle gym, the back of a truck), a vantage point looking down on your photo subjects can be an interesting angle, especially for big groups—more faces, fewer bodies. As a bonus, having your subjects looking up will minimise any double chins in the group.

Catch the Outtakes

Take candid photos and even shoot HD movies with the NX’s video feature while the group is gathering, arranging, and then breaking up. Children especially can be at their most charming when they think the camera isn’t looking.

Don’t miss capturing a once-in-a-lifetime group photo because of a lack of ideas or camera features. With a little inspiration and the right equipment, it’s easy to make a memory that no one in the group will ever forget.