There’s always one, isn’t there? The one who can’t stand still, who is just bursting with energy and fun – that’s the one that makes an image stand out. I’ve got lots of photos of four girls standing in a row in the sea, but it’s the one who broke away that makes this image so much more captivating! There’s movement, there’s a break in the normal line, there’s a sense of fun – all of these make for an engaging image. Holiday and day trip photos can end up as the same boring poses in different places. It’s worth thinking about how you can capture or create an exception to the boring pose.
One helpful tactic is to keep on shooting even after the posers think you’ve stopped. The moment you stop shooting everyone will relax just a bit (we are all just a little bit self conscious when we think we’re being photographed). Sometimes it’s as simple as saying ‘Thanks!’ and then clicking again.Â Don’t forget when you do this to leave a little bit more space around your composition to allow for that movement. You don’t want to catch only half the action!
If you don’t have that sort of spontaneity in your group then ask someone, or everyone to jump or wave, or even to disperse in different directions. Again, plan for where in the frame that movement will fill. Waving arms needs more space above the figures – both for the arms and for the usual negative space. If the group are dispersing, zoom out a little to get a sense of space as well as movement.
Don’t forget that you will still need to work on the rule of thirds and other compositional techniques for the background as well as the subject. Keep the horizon on the bottom third for a sense of space and allow the figures to break the horizon for added drama.