How To Get The Happiest Smiles When Shooting Big Groups


Shooting amazing group photos isn’t a cakewalk. Add smiles to the equation, and it gets more challenging. How do you inspire people in a group to smile just before you nail the shot? Say cheese; that doesn’t really work as you’ll only get cheesy smiles, not real and happy faces. As you learn the ropes, most people concentrate on the technical parts like what aperture to use, props, and other considerations. Such knowledge can help you pick the right tools for the job, but you need more than that to elicit the best emotions. Social skills are a bonus, as you won’t have a hard time striking conversations, learning more about your subjects, and driving them towards happy moments. If you are struggling to get the happiest smiles when shooting big groups, here are some tricks that work like a charm.

Cheesy jokes

Clever jokes can light up the group’s mood. The best part with cheesy jokes is that you don’t have to overthink it, but be careful not to offend anyone. Take a shot, make a funny comment and be ready to take another as the group reacts to your input. For example, say you didn’t capture someone at the front row, which is obviously not likely, and as the giggles start, take another shot. Cheesy jokes work, and all you need is to understand the group dynamics to pick lines that’ll burst them in laughter. From there, you won’t have a hard time driving them to produce genuine smiles for the camera.

Fun activities

Family portrait poses can be challenging, especially with a mix of all ages. Picking fun activities that are all-inclusive can be hard since what kids find entertaining for the shoot isn’t necessarily ideal for adults. Among the proven ways is to steer towards mixed reactions. Tell them to look at each other, especially if there are more than 3 people. No one knows who to look at, and as the confusion challenges them, funny faces and laughter follows. Be ready to capture the moments with as many shots as you need.

Awkward silence

People are used to compliments and directions during a photoshoot. Do the opposite, and you’ll catch them off guard. Have the group set, take a few shots, with the usual comments routine. Go mute for a moment, and observe the reaction. The awkwardness will trigger a reaction, usually giggles. Another way is to ask members of the group to stare at each other without smiling or look into each other’s eyes without blinking. Such awkward moments bring out happy moments, making it easier to get genuine smiles for the camera.

Fake smile and silly faces

Ask the group to give you fake smiles. The first shots will highlight the fake smiles, but soon after, they’ll be all smiles as the absurdness of the situation sinks in. If there are children in the group, silly faces work too. They’ll be laughing at each other’s expressions, allowing you to capture happy moments.

As you learn photography ropes, you’ll realize that getting a mile even from the unhappiest individual in the group is possible. Remember to lead by example by giving off your best smile. Smiles are contagious, and with a few tricks, you’ll manage to get the happiest smiles when shooting big groups.