Group shots can be tricky things to get right. Left to their own devices, folks will always arrange themselves as if they were posing for a school sports photo. In fact, so strong is the desire to stand shoulder-to-shoulder that, after individually positioning every person in a group, I have turned round to find them standing in a straight line again.
Breaking up a line of people by having them sit or stand and turn in different directions is one way of making things more interesting, but I think the real secret to a good group shot is getting the people to interact with their surroundings. That’s what I did with this photo of the cast of the Pavilion Theatre summer show, which I shot for The Times on Cromer Pier in Norfolk.
The architecture of this traditional victorian pier is full of straight lines and frames that just beg to be used in a group shot. These wooden wind shelters are about half the way down particularly caught my eye: I wanted to put the show’s director Di Cooke in the middle and have various cast members at the edges, talking as if they were unaware of the camera.
The result looked good, so I swapped out Di for some other members of the cast and shot the main group photo that The Times eventually used in their review of the show. The Pier was good for a few more portraits of individual cast members and small groups too and the cloudy-bright conditions made for perfect lighting – just a little blip of fill flash brightened up the faces.