In Our Opinion

How to take better group pictures

By June 14, 2016 January 23rd, 2019 No Comments

As you can imagine, we receive a lot of photos from clients for use in everything from press releases, to social media, to video screens and even print materials. And most of the time the photos we receive are not just bad, they are terrible. The most common issues, from least to most problematic, are:

• Busy backgrounds
• Bad lighting
• Fuzzy
• Too far away
• All of the above

The common denominator on all of the photos we receive is not the camera – it’s the photographer (usually someone at the organization). While a high quality camera can make a good photographer better, there are plenty of examples of quality photographs that have been taken on an iPhone or other mobile device.

In the past we have shared photography tips for non-photographers, but today I want to focus on how we can improve one type of photo – the group shot.

The group shot is probably the most common type of picture we receive – from big check and scholarship presentations, to ribbon cuttings and other special events – photos of small and large groups present unique challenges.

So what can you do to improve your group photo?

Lighting Good lighting is one of the easiest ways you can improve your photos. Not only will it brighten the photo, but  it will help reduce fuzziness and blur. When it doubt, avoid fluorescent lights and head outside!


Check the background Look for backgrounds that are simple and clean, or at least don’t have any distracting signs or decorations that take away from the photo.

A good group photo that would have been better if we didn’t have the (my) car in the background.


Get together Groups tend to string out into a long line which requires the photographer step back to fit everyone in. Stand together, and with larger groups, bunch up so the camera person can get close.

Girl Scouts

Two rows of girls ensure everyone gets in the photo (with their donations). Cropping the photo allows us reduce the clutter in the background.


Focus I can not emphasize this enough. The best photos can be rendered nearly unusable because the subjects are out of focus.

Girl Scouts

What would have been a great group photo if it was in focus!


Take more than one Take a lot of photos. After a few, check your lighting, your background, your focus and your group, make adjustments, and then take more. It’s always better to have extras as you will always have a few where someone blinked or moved.


Lighting, check. Grouping, check. Background, check. Subjects. . . this is why you take more than one.


While it would be easiest to tell you that to get a great photo, you need a great camera. But the truth is, great (or even good) photos come when you take the time to pay attention to the details.

And yes, all the photos used in this post were taken on an iPhone.