I love portrait photography for its ability to tell a rich story about a person. Location, lighting, dress, pose and expression combine to tell that story and I’m always telling my students that if they’re not aligned, the message can be confused. Worse yet, if they’re done badly, the image won’t sustain the interest it needs, or as I like to say, grab the world by the eyeballs. Group photography ratchets the challenge up several notches.
Last week the gang from Mediaworks Otago were finalists for sales team of the year in the NZ Radio Awards and asked me to come up with an image to celebrate. Their downstairs foyer was a convenient spot to muster everyone, so I showed up early to set my lights and brought my posing stool and boxes.
I had a couple of ideas in mind. The first was the slightly formal and rather posed look below. Dignified professionals with some very straight backs. A useful look to have in the pocket, especially if you’re a law firm, but not really the story I thought the sales team wanted to tell.
That story was of a team that really loves their work and working with each other. That called for a much more relaxed, intimate arrangement, which everyone was ready for after warming up with the formal pose. You know you’re onto a good thing when the group giggles as you ask them to start playing Twister. The smiles came naturally, so all I had to do was click the shutter. Result: Group photography.