How to take group photos outdoors


Ah, the great outdoors! Soccer in the park, a garden party, or a day at the beach can be great opportunities to take frame-worthy photos of family and friends. Professional photographer Nigel Barker shares great tips for shooting outdoor group photos.

How to take group photos outdoors

Professional photographer Nigel Barker’s great tips for shooting outdoor group photos.

  • Utilize your camera’s various setting options. Play around with them to see what works best.
  • Always consider the background of your group shots to make sure they have appropriate context. An uncluttered backround is ideal.
  • Use your camera’s panoramic setting for extra wide shots.
  • Try zooming in rather than stepping in or get everyone to literally put his or her heads together.
  • Get everyone to jump and take multiple shots so you can get the perfect one.
  • The best lighting tends to be in the early morning or late afternoon. Taking pictures in the shade is also better than in areas of direct sunlight. When shade is not available, use the “fill” flash to reduce severe shadows.
  • Shoot without the flash to keep the mood in low light situations.



Transcript NIGEL BARKER: Hi, I'm Nigel Barker. Today I'm going to show you how to get great group shots outdoors.

Group photos happen everywhere, from weddings to parties to sporting events and vacations.

Group photos make excellent gifts.

There are certain things you can do to get a shot that will be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Some cameras, like this one, have unique features that help you create professional-looking photos.

You'll also want to choose a background that makes sense.

Do you just want to remember the location or the fact that you were there all together?

You won't want a picture like this.

{Tip: Choose an uncluttered background} But if you do want to include a background, the place where you have your group stand is important because it can give the photo context.

A vacation shot of a group of friends in front of the Grand Canyon or on the beach means more than a shot of them in front of a brick wall.

Some cameras have a feature that lets you capture a wide, panoramic photo automatically. {Tip: Take panoramic shots}

These cameras take really wide shots with a simple sweeping motion.

It really lets you get a dramatic sense of the location you're shooting.

For simple backgrounds, though, get in close, but zoom in; don't step in. {Tip: Get in close}

You don't want to distort the faces.

The closer you zoom the more detail you'll have in their faces, something that makes a really great shot.

Get everyone to put their heads together, literally, to help create interesting angles.

Create candid moments by getting the whole group to jump.

{Tip: Take multiple shots} Capture that moment with a rapid succession of shots

It really helps guarantee you'll just get the perfect one.

{Tip: Think about light} Now, lighting.

The best times of day are early morning or late afternoon, but we rarely have that option.

So find a spot in the shade where everyone can enjoy nice, even lighting.

Failing that, use the fill flash on your camera to eliminate those unwanted shadows.

However, if you're shooting outdoors in low light and you want to keep the mood, just turn the flash off.

{Tip: Shoot without flash}

With some cameras, it's easy to get great photos in low light even without a flash.

Getting great photos can be a bit of a challenge, but these tips will help improve your chances.

Group hug, everyone?

This is Nigel Barker with Sony for Howdini.

For more great tips visit
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  • Nigel Barker

    Nigel Barker Professional Photographer Nigel Barker has been taking the world of fashion by storm for the past twenty years. After stints in Milan, Paris and London, Barker opened his New York studio in 1996 and has never looked back. more about this expert »

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