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Photo Tip Thursday: A Guide to Group Photos

I’m back again…albeit after quite some time, but don’t you worry, Photo Tip Thursday hasn’t gone away. For this week’s tip, I’m covering how you can use your fancy D-SLR camera to get some great group shots {whether it be with your significant other, family or friends} which I’m sure you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so with the holidays right around the corner.

The major discerning factor with group shots is pretty obvious. There’s going to be multiple people in your image and you want all of them to be in focus, while still maintaining a fairly blurry background. To do this, you’ll need to stop down your aperture more than you normally would when taking outfit pictures.

If it’s just you and your significant other, I’d recommend using an aperture of anywhere between f/2.8-3.2. This will give you a depth of field that’s large enough for the two of you, while still making sure that background has a nice, dreamy blur like you want. I wouldn’t recommend using apertures any larger than this as the depths of field are so small, it’d be hard enough to get one person in focus. let alone two. Make sure you and your significant other are on the same focal plane and try and focus on the eyes and everything/everyone should turn out in focus.

Lastly, if members in your shot are slightly staggered and not on the same focal plane, focus on the person closest to you. The reason for doing so has to do with how the depth of field is distributed in front of and behind the point of focus. The depth of field simply means the area in front of and behind the point that you’ve focused on that’s in focus and sharp. You see, typically, around one-third of the depth of field lies in front of the point of focus, while two-thirds lies behind the point of focus. This means that if you were using an aperture that had a depth of field of 6 feet, everything 2 feet or less in front of the point of focus would be sharp, while everything 4 feet or less behind the point of focus would be sharp. Were you to focus on the people in the back, the subjects in the front might not be in focus.When taking pictures of groups larger than two, you’ll need to apply similar principles as well. Try and keep everyone in a straight line and on the same focal plane if you can. There’s a pretty heinous and outdated rule of thumb that says that your aperture number should match the number of people in the frame {for example, if you’re taking a picture of eleven people, your aperture should be set to f/11}. This is a bunch of crap. Don’t listen to that rule. When taking pictures of large groups, you’ll have to stop down your lens a bit more, but only to around f/4-5.6.

Thanks for reading!This might take some experimentation and practice, but by using these techniques, you’ll be able to get some great group shots for the holidays. I hope these tips help!

  1. Thanks for the tips! I just got a DSLR camera (Canon T5) when black friday and can't wait to try it out during all the holiday get togethers

  2. Great tips!

    Holidays outfits guide on
    lb-lc fashion blog

  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tip. As always very helpful 🙂

  4. I literally just went through every one of these and became overwhelmed. I "know" what I'm doing, kinda. Ugh, I need more shelf space in my brain so I can remember all these good tips! You guys rock.

  5. Photo tip Thursdays are back, yay! I love your tips. I'm not an outfit blogger/photographer or anything, but I love your posts. Your posts are always very well written and helpful. This one was spot on! Thanks!

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