Group portraits

For several reasons I find shooting group portraits always a challenge. One of the reasons is the physical limitations of my studio. More in particular, the lack of height. Obviously, with a  group portrait you need some distance between the camera and the group. Before I know it, I get parts of the ceiling on the image as well. Of course, you can decide to include it on purpose. It’s a matter of composition then. And this brings me to another reason why I find group portraits difficult: the pose of the individuals that make up the group. In combination with the expression on their faces.

I recently gave the shooting of a group portrait another attempt. My three sons acted as victims, sorry…as the group. They’re all more or less of the same height, 6.25 ft., which immediately caused me to run into the “ceiling” issue of my studio. Believe it or not, but I ended up with having them no kneel. This solved one particular problem, I still had to deal with the “pose and expression” question. Since I had a group of three, I tried having A look at B, B at C, and C at A again. A way to create some invisible lines, which I thought would be nice. In reality it didn’t work out. Or I was unable to find a way to make it work. All shots had two out of three people with their faces in side-view. So, in the end, I had all three look at the camera. From a composition point of view, a rather traditional, static and dull setup. Not what I was looking for. Still, the idea of this website is to share with you my ups and downs. Here I had a group portrait in mind and wasn’t able to create what I wanted. To be continued, I guess.

_RCP9934-Edit-2LightingSetup-9934The Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam is currently running an exhibition called Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age. I decided to visit it in an attempt to find some inspiration there. Amongst other paintings, this is what I found. Not exactly the inspiration I was looking for…


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