PHOTO 101

Take Great Group Photos

Tap here for some easy tips.

Getting together with coworkers, friends or family is cause for celebration—and documentation. They’re a rare opportunity to get a photo with everyone together, so make sure you get these pro tips for posing with your guests—and come away with a keeper.

Try these six techniques, which we used while shooting with the Camera+2 app on an iPhone XS Max.

1. Line 'em Up

Assuming you’re taking pics five or fewer people, there’s a super-simple way to pose for them: Just have everyone stand in a (not so straight) line against a simple, boldly coloured background—or at least an uncluttered one. Make sure they’re facing the light source (whether the sun or a floor lamp). This will cast deep, sharp shadows onto the background, especially if everyone stands a few centimetres in front of it.

Now’s your chance to re-enact the Ramones album cover.

2. Work the Crowd

Encourage physical contact; you’ll notice all the photos here have it. Whether everyone’s throwing their arms around one another or simply standing near enough that there’s no space between them, connections make your photos look warmer and the people in them more friendly.

3. Get in There!

Camera+2’s self timer grants you up to 15 seconds to jump into the shot. The app also has a feature to help avoid any awkward facial expressions: Smile mode automatically detects when everyone is smiling, then fires off several photos at exactly the right moment. To enable it, tap the plus sign next to the shutter button, then swipe right on the bottom row of icons to tap Smile.

No need to panic, you have plenty of time.

4. Play with Space

Large groups allow you more creativity. Don’t just have everyone sit stiffly in the same position. Put them behind the couch, on the couch, in front of the couch—wherever you can to make the shape more dynamic.

When you’re taking pictures of groups of three, try positioning the middle person just slightly in front of the others. As you can see below, it brings her into greater prominence and makes the entire photo feel more anchored. (You’ll never look at vintage Destiny’s Child photos the same way again.)

5. Embrace Your Outtakes

You know how you count to three before taking the first shot? Try shooting before you start counting. And continue after everyone thinks you’re done. The idea is to get your subjects to look unposed and natural. Sometimes it’s the goofy faces and candid interactions that make a photo a favourite.

6. Edit, edit, edit

For our first shot against that orange wall, we used the VSCO app’s C6 filter to bring out the warmer tones. We also increased the contrast, saturation, and exposure to make the image pop. For the other two photos, we found that Darkroom’s standard filters added contrast and saturation while keeping everyone’s skin tones natural and realistic. Remember, the goal is to make everybody look good but still like themselves.

You want your subjects to look natural, so pay attention to unguarded moments.

Do More with Your Images

For that first shot against the orange wall, we used VSCO’s C6 filter to bring out the warmer tones, then increased contrast, saturation, and exposure to make the image pop. For the other two photos, we found that Darkroom’s standard filters added contrast and saturation while keeping everyone’s skin tones natural. The point is, we messed with these photos a lot. You should do the same. Just remember the goal of editing: make everybody look good—but still like themselves.

    Camera+ 2

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    Darkroom – Photo Editor

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    VSCO: Photo & Video Editor

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