After photographing another family, I'll admit that shooting groups is a lot harder than most of you would believe. Remember those annoying photographers who would practically shout at you to move your head this way or that, or to "Put your arm down, move it a bit to the right, no, that's too far - go back, now tilt your head to the right..."
Well, it turns out that they were the GOOD photographers.
And I thought they were just the ANNOYING photographers.
Shots like the one here are actually easier to take because you don't have to herd several people at the same time. All eyes on the camera, all hair in place, all arms and hands properly situated. It's like juggling 40 balls in the air because while you're choosing placement, positioning and verbally trying to soothe the client, you're also trying to set aperture, shutter speed, then focus and SHOOT! SHOOT! SHOOT! before anyone budges. And believe me, with more than one or two people, the possibility of movement goes up exponentially.
So how can you help your photographer?
No Frozen Faces!
I had one professional shooter tell me, "Don't tell your kids to smile." Chances are that they'll be trying so hard for you that their smiles may be forced. Let their facial expressions roam free - most of the time it's the candids that are the best shots.
Don't Worry About How Long the Shoot Takes
Don't feel bad about how long the shoot is taking. Your photog will be more concerned that you're getting enough shots of each position. Because everyone blinks and moves, you're going to want a lot of choices, so let them click as much as possible.
Ideas Are Actually Good!
My friends had ideas on where to shoot, and what kinds of poses they would love to see. It was very helpful. Once we got general location and positioning down, I took over by telling each individual what I wanted them to do. Move this way, shoulders that way, head over here. Together we created a little photographic symphony of awesomeness.
Bring Non-Edible Distractions
This is actually an "Oh wow, I didn't think of that before," tip: The less crumbs and gooey things to pick off clothes and slide down chins, the better. We thought lolly-pops would be great ways to get the children's attentions, but it turns out they ran off with them and the lolly drooled a bit down their faces. The flip side is that we got good candids, but not so many family shots.