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Group Posing: Basic Tips

I’ll be honest. Posing group photos isn’t really my forte, but I can give you a few pointers!

Before I did fashion photography, I shot regular portraits for couples, companies, clubs, and more. This would range from engagement photos to club meetings. Throughout this time, I managed to pick up on a few group photo tricks that I think some of you might find helpful.

There are two approaches that I normally take when posing people: couples and friends. Each one has its pros and cons, so make sure to figure out which one you want to go with before you get in front of the camera!

Kal Frenzel and Becky Maset. Photo by @upagainstthewallphotos on IG

The Couple’s Approach

The tips in this section will generally be ripped from engagement and wedding photography; however applied correctly they can also apply for artistic/imaginitive fashion photography as well.

It may sound harsh, but the general rule for brides is that you always capture the attention of the bride in a bride x groom situation. In general, wedding photos and engagement photos are usually done for the bride. This means that the bride should be the center of attention in a shot, with all elements in the shot leading to her. Usually this translates to the bride looking at the camera, and the groom is looking lovingly at her.

Let’s apply this to fashion photography. If an ouji and a lolita are posing together, the poses can get pretty dynamic. You can, of course, go with the standard arm-in-arm or hand-on-arm hallway pose, but if you’re more comfortable and want the photos to be a bit more special (say, during a professional shoot), you can take the couples approach.

Kal Frenzel and Bree Love

The dark side? Aristocrat and gothic ouji posing can be a little creepy if it’s taken out of context—hands under the chin, fingers on the neck, vampiric elements, etc—but it can really add to an image. Note in the image directly above this paragraph that, on the right, my face is almost completely out of frame and the image focuses on Bree. Yet I, somehow, still maintain control of the image, which raises some questions about my and Bree’s relationship in the photo. Storytelling in this way is good because it adds a lot of visual interest and gets the audience thinking. It is much easier to tell a story with two people than it is with only one.

On the lighter side, you can look to wedding photos for inspiration.

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These wedding photos are just inspirations, obviously! Most wedding poses will look odd for J-fashion, but they can be a good starting point if you’re stuck.

If you and your S/O are the ones dressing up, this definitely makes posing like this 100x easier. It can also make some people highly uncomfortable, so don’t be afraid to say no if you feel weird about the person you’re posing with.

Baby, the Stars Shine Bright: unknown and Grace De Block | Puvithel: unknown and unknown | Ota-Q: Chey Skye and Eevee Cauliflower

“We’re just friends!”

Ok, so you’re not down for a couple’s approach yet. There are other ways you can get a dynamic pose other than looking to mushy relationships for inspiration.

Interact

This is probably one of the most important things you can do with your partner. Just like group modeling onstage, when you have a partner in a photo, you can interact with them, whether you mirror their pose, fight over that Usa-chan rucksack, or pretend to be partners in crime. Let your imagination run wild—just make sure you communicate with your partner to make that cool pose work!

Be Courteous

If you’re posing in a group, it’s likely not a competition. Sure you want to look good, but you really don’t want to outshine everyone else necessarily—and if you do, I question if your motives are healthy. Make sure you’re being courteous of those behind, beside, and in front of you to make sure that everyone can be seen and no one is covered up. This is especially important in photos of large groups. Sure, you can have fun and be confident, but don’t be THAT person.

 

That’s all for this one! The Posing series is quickly coming to an end, and there’s only one post left. If you have an last-minute ideas for the series, shoot me a DM on Instagram at @kaldec_

lightningsavage
Kal from Lightningsavage Photography specializes in creative portrait photography for J-Fashion enthusiasts and more. He has served as the J-Fashion event photographer for Oni-Con 2016–2018, as well as fashion shows, meetups, and personal shoots. He is also a co-owner of Kuroshiro Kawaii. You can follow him on Instagram at @lightningsavage_photography and @kaldec_

He is currently into visual kei and EGA fashions.