Taking Group Shots on Vacation

by | May 24, 2013 | Tips & Tricks | 2 comments

Back Porch of "the mountain house"

It’s always important to get family pictures on family vacations! So many times I’ve missed great opportunities for encapsulating the greatest of memories simply because I’ve forgotten to get a group shot. I’m still working on not forgetting, but here’s a few tips I put into practice when shooting this group shot from our latest family adventure:

  • Include a landmark without covering it up. The group isn’t exactly centered in this picture, but at least you can still see Grandfather Mountain in the background. I couldn’t raise the camera any higher to include it above our heads, so I just positioned it to the side.
  • Do what you can to keep your subjects from looking into the sun. Otherwise, everyone will be squinting. Take them into the shade if you can, and if you can’t, have them face 90 to 180 degrees away from the direction of the sun.
  • Use flash to fill in the shadows. Because most group shots are taken during the middle of the day, the sun will produce very harsh shadows on faces. In this shot, we would practically be silhouettes if it weren’t for the fill flash. Using a flash diffuser atop my speedlite EX580 II helped keep the flash itself from being too harsh.
  • You need a tripod if you want to be in the group yourself. I’m in the habit of having a tripod handy so I don’t often run into situations where I don’t have something to rest the camera on, but if you are like the majority of people who don’t lug around a tripod everywhere they go, there’s no problem in resting the camera on some solid, level surface. Just remember that such objects, when they are around, are not as secure or position-flexible as a tripod.
  • Get the group together and take the shot even when you don’t have time! We were in a hurry to get going, but we will be glad we took this shot years down the road, even if it was rushed or made us late by 5 minutes. (Have a guess why we were taking this picture last minute? At least I didn’t completely forget!)

Depending on what questions are asked, we may cover this very kind of thing in more detail at the CAPTURE North Carolina workshop in just a few weeks. It’s being held in the same area . . . so who knows, we may even be taking a group shot at this very spot!

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  1. Robert Staddon

    Excellent, James!

  2. Daniel

    My new favorite desktop background! 🙂


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