Taking group picture is usually the nightmare of photographer. Taking picture is not my job, just a hobby. Just a hobby is really true. I don’t earn money from photography. I am passionate about photography. When your passion is to take picture, well, you have to do so. What about doing a group shot? This will happen to you, like it happened to me.
One week in advance, I knew that I had to take a group picture. I would see the venue the day before, this was an important shot; my company celebrated 20 years since its foundation. We wanted to have everybody in the picture and looking good!
More than 100 employees were attending this internal meeting. I have to be honest with you. This was my first experience and I was scared to death. I survived, evidently since I am reporting on it.
Group Picture, what did I learned?
What I did right:
- I found a spot with windows on three sides. Light was gorgeous even though we were in a Hotel;
- I put a solid table against the window on which I put my tripod in advance, increase the ISO to freeze the action. By putting my tripod higher than the crowd, I was able to see most people faces in the distance;
- I set the camera to take 7 pictures using bracketing at: -1, -2/3, -1/3, 0, +1/3, +2/3, +1;
- I set the camera to start after a 10 seconds delay with a remote trigger;
- I set the camera for mirror lock-up;
- I put a piece of duct-tape on the ground where the first row would come to stand;
- I put hotels tables on the side in the required angles for the crowd to be in the picture (sic);
- I had 5 minutes with the crowd before they came flooding the areas for the picture. I explained what I expected from them;
- I ensure that the executive team where on the first row.
Well, I thought of everything right? No, I failed in some areas!
What I did wrong:
- The duct tape idea was a good one. I should have put duct tape on each side also. When I came back with the crowd, the hotel staff had moved the table away and now I can’t direct the people on the side to be in the picture. A few persons outside the frame which is unforgivable. It would have been so easy to put duct tape on the side also;
- I felt the rush. When more than 100 persons are waiting for you to do your job, the stress is big. I did not expect to feel that bad at that moment with people outside the frame. So I rush myself, taking a picture that was not ideal;
- All in all, this is not a complete failure. However, should I do this again, I would be more careful about ways to contain the crowd and make sure everybody is in the picture. BTW, I had my Canon 17-40mm F4L Lens with me. Should I had replaced the 24-105mm by the 17-40mm, nobody would have been outside the frame… Learning from mistake makes for lasting memories.
Taking a group shot will still be a stressful experience to me in the future. However, there is a few mistakes I made that I will not make again.
When taking a group shot, make sure you control as many variables as possible. I did some things right, learn from these. I made mistakes, learn from these too!