4O9C0329-2Taking 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!