How to take large bridal party pictures
Taking large group photographs is not easy. Nay, doing it well is very difficult. It’s not something you master overnight. In fact, I volunteer to say it’s one of the things I still struggle with. It’s difficult. First of all you are trying to direct up to 15 people! That’s not easy. Secondly, if you are someone who just likes to shoot candid photography, posing a large group might put you well outside of your comfort zone. Believe me, it gets easier as your confidence grows. You just have to stay with it and keep trying things.
First, let’s look at what doesn’t work. Why some pictures look boring and typical. In the image below (not my photo) we see the bridal party standing in a straight line. I’ve illustrated the photo to exhibit one of the reasons the photo is inherently boring. Because all of the heads are in one line, the image can be assessed quickly. Your eyes have no reason to scan the image. You can take the photo in at a quick glance. There is not a lot of visual interest. The background is simple and unrecognizable, we immediately know there is nothing there. The foreground is non existent. So, we have all the content in the middle ground on a flat plane. Worse still, all the eyes are on the same line. So as we scan the image we are only moving from side to side. There’s no need to move up and down.
In the image above, I’ve illustrated the idea that getting the eyes off a single line adds interest. Also, coupling some of the heads makes the image more visually interesting. I suppose taking bridal party pictures is not hard, but I think taking group photos that look interesting is difficult. Again, I’m not claiming that we take the best bridal party pictures, but we have gotten better. It is hard and it does take practice. So, a couple things to think about when shooting the group shots:
- Assuming you are following the ideas put forth in this article, it’s important to shoot around f/5.0 to keep a larger depth of field so people at all distances from the camera are in focus.
- Get the eyes off of a single horizontal line.
- Think about the foreground.
- Think about the background. I’d like to add, that sometimes a calm background is preferable if the alternative is a background full of cars or other people. You have to control the background as a professional photographer.