Is it harder to Photograph Large Families?

There are various instances where things become less likely as that thing increases in number: The more hay there is in a haystack, the less likely you are to find the needle. If there’s a huge amount of hay, you’re probably very unlikely to find the needle, there’s also probably something wrong with you if you’re playing with needles around huge amounts of hay. What are you doing there? Surely you have something better to do.

Anyway, there is a belief that this negative correlation between a good result and numbers applies to group photography.

Those disbelievers in group photography, who cannot be named in this blog for legal reasons, preach a theory that large numbers of people can deteriorate the quality of a photograph. Are they correct? Let’s see.

Too Busy

Too many things within a shot can clutter and distract from the thing you’re trying to focus on. Presumably, if you’re photographing a large group of people, the thing you want to focus on is the people, but can there be so many that they begin to distract from each other- a can’t-see-the-forest type thing- and if so, what point does that happen?

There may be an answer to that later question, but we’re not prepared to answer it. Once you start getting above 10 perhaps, or if you’re really far away and there’s lots of stuff in the background that also looks like people posing for a picture.

The point is that, for most large families, you’re not going to have to think about numbers much bigger than 10-15, so the important thing is to make sure there’s nothing else competing with them. Remove the previously-mentioned backdrop distractions or move to a different setting, then you should have jumped that hurdle.

Read more about bad photography techniques

Go “Active” or stay plain?

So we’ve accepted that numbers alone can’t be a problem, but then we look at directing the people in the photos. Contemporary studio photographers such as often showcase their active & lively photograph sessions where families will be running, rolling, dancing or whatever other activity you could conjure- they’ve probably done it- but does the effectiveness of that diminish with large groups? If you’ve ever been to see them, you’ll see that they manage to do exactly that kind of thing with groups or 10 or more, and they still look pretty flippin’ good.


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