Probably 90% of my portrait work is taking pictures of individuals. Group shots are a different animal all together. Photographing 2 people easily makes for an odd composition, especially if the subjects aren’t close to each other. Photographing 3 people I find a lot easier. It’s an easier group to pose interestingly. A group with more than 3 people in it, becomes a logistical and technical challenge.
Not everybody is always available at the same time. In the group shot above, we had to photograph the 19 women individually for the Women in Business editorial for 914INC magazine over a period of 3 days. When the subject’s schedules overlapped we also took smaller group shots. In the end 11 images were composited in Photoshop to create the opening spread.
The larger the group the more difficult it becomes to light the scene evenly and at the same time interestingly.
There also aren’t many studio spaces that can accommodate larger groups, and getting everybody to that location at the same time can become a logistical nightmare.
Sometimes we have to do group shots on location in a studio like setting. Manageable backdrops can only accommodate photographs with 4-5 subjects in it. After that things might get too close for comfort. The 8 executives below were shot in two groups of 4 and composited in Photoshop.
The bigger the group the more difficult it becomes to direct. Sometimes weeks of planning go into it. For the image below with the over 100 service members and their caregivers, we had to build risers, and bus them to the location. On the day of the shoot we only had 30 minutes to set up the lighting. For getting everybody onto the risers and take the photograph, we had only 5 minutes. After 20 frames it was over. It can be done, if it has to be done.
I like to be challenged. ;-)