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Big Sorority Photoshoot, tips needed.

rock3ralex

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Okay, I'm more of a sports and lanscape photographer. I can get some pretty nice 2-3 shots of people but the Chi Omega sorority wants me to photograph all of them. What would be a few tips that the experience photographers can lend me for photographing large groups?
 
We talking portraits?, small groups of 2-4?, pillow fight?, typical group pic?, pillow fight?
 
They either do portrait one by one for this year new members OR they do some kind of a group picture. 2 totally different things. Which is it? When I was in the fraternity we did themed photo every year (wild west, grease, miners, etc..)
 
If it's a group shot, you must get their attention first. Direct the taller ones in the back, shorter ones in the front. If you have another row, have the front row sit, 2nd row kneel, and the back row stand. You also want to stager them so that everyone can see the lens of the camera.
If it's individual portraits, scope out a nice background ahead of time, get a friend to help, and start shooting them to get a good exposure.
If a pillow fight, just have fun.
Hope this helps you out.
 
If it's a pillow fight... switch to video mode and invite your friends!
 
How many people are we talking about here? If it's less than say, 20 people...then I'd find a nice staircase and pose them into three or four rows. Think about it as an arrangement of faces. Obviously you want everyone to be visible, but for a better portrait, it will help to have the faces evenly spaced and not stacked. You may need to arrange them and stand back a few times, but taking your time here can really pay off.

If there are more like 40 people or more...you can still do it with a staircase, but for an easier & less formal photo, you can get above them, maybe a window or balcony and shoot down onto them. This way, they are all looking up at you, so all the faces should be visible.

It would be easiest to shoot outdoors, as it takes a lot of light for a big group. An overcast day would be best, because you want to avoid harsh sunlight. If you can find a shady location, that would also be better than out in the sun.
 
Thanks guys. It around 70 girls. It's going to be outdoor in the rose garden of our school. There is a giant gazeebo that I'm going to try and use. Should I use my 50mm prime of 70-200mm? I see people using both of these. Also, around what aperature in AV mode? F2.8 or so?
 
It must be one heck of a big gazebo if you're going to shoot 70 people there.

And if you're going to shoot 70 people with a 70-200mm lens, you will have to stand a fair ways back...you might need a megaphone to give directions. Even 50mm (on your camera) will require you to shoot from pretty far away.

It will be important that you have a deep enough DOF to get everyone in focus. So normally, you would want to use a smaller aperture than F2.8....something like F5.6 or F8...but if you are going to be far away, that will give you more DOF. I'd stop down anyway, just to be safe.
 
I've photohgraphed literally hundreds of sorority and fraternity groups. Did it for years before going into weddings. I know exactly what thery're asking for, so here's some tips.

1. Find a big shaded area, or at least someplace with low contrast light. Usually in front of behind the sorority house, depending on the sun's location.
2. 35mm, ideally at f/8. Crank up ISO if necessary, but don't use a long lens or the back row will be all blurry.
3. Bring a setp ladder. It's nice to get 2-3 steps higher than the first row of ladies so you're shooting down a little bit. You'll see the back rows better this way.
4. Tripod.
5. Set camera to auto-bracket
6. Sorority ladies are EXPERTS at posing Seriously. I'm not knocking them at all, but they pose for group photos literally all the time. You will be amazed when they set themselves up nearly perfectly, and all you need to do is make minor adjustments. Typically, they pose themselves new members kneeling in front and older member in back.
7. They will want to do a fun pic at the end. Yell out "fun shot," and they will think you do this everyday.

Most importantly...stand far enough back to leave 10% of the viewsfinder empty on both sides of the group. This way you can crop to 8x10s without cutting anyone off the side.

One of the companies that does a lot of these is GreekYearbook.com
 
ya I agree that even 50mm will even be a little big. i have an 18-55mm but is the stock one from my 450D and well pretty much sucks.
 
I've photohgraphed literally hundreds of sorority and fraternity groups. Did it for years before going into weddings. I know exactly what thery're asking for, so here's some tips.

1. Find a big shaded area, or at least someplace with low contrast light. Usually in front of behind the sorority house, depending on the sun's location.
2. 35mm, ideally at f/8. Crank up ISO if necessary, but don't use a long lens or the back row will be all blurry.
3. Bring a setp ladder. It's nice to get 2-3 steps higher than the first row of ladies so you're shooting down a little bit. You'll see the back rows better this way.
4. Tripod.
5. Set camera to auto-bracket
6. Sorority ladies are EXPERTS at posing Seriously. I'm not knocking them at all, but they pose for group photos literally all the time. You will be amazed when they set themselves up nearly perfectly, and all you need to do is make minor adjustments. Typically, they pose themselves new members kneeling in front and older member in back.
7. They will want to do a fun pic at the end. Yell out "fun shot," and they will think you do this everyday.

Most importantly...stand far enough back to leave 10% of the viewfinder empty on both sides of the group. This way you can crop to 8x10s without cutting anyone off the side.

One of the companies that does a lot of these is GreekYearbook.com

you just made my day thank you. A few of those were evident to me but not all. I'll post the pictures when I'm doine.

Thank you all
 
Most importantly...stand far enough back to leave 10% of the viewsfinder empty on both sides of the group. This way you can crop to 8x10s without cutting anyone off the side.
Great tip!
 

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