Getting group photos perfect every time

1-Cover sample

Getting group photos perfect every time

 The digital imaging software makes creating the perfect group photo easy. I will walk you through it.

 In the film days really skilled photographers could get everyone in a group looking just right. For most though, it was a compromise. Which image had the least amount of bad expressions with the main person looking good.

 Now it is so simple to achieve. Gotta love Adobe Photoshop.

 It starts with a good tripod.

5-final layers

 Set up your group as you normally would. Place your tripod where you usually would stand. Take a number of shots. Coax their best expressions to peak at the same time. If you spot a person having a challenge work with them a bit more.

 The critical first step is to try not to change anyone’s body positions with each posing setup. It will make the next steps much easier.

 Find your best photograph where the most faces and expressions look good.

 From that image, determine the faces that don’t work, find the group images where they do. Stack them in layers above the main image. When you drag them over hold the shift key down. Then release the mouse or pen. This is for working in Adobe Photoshop.

4-All fixed

 This approach places the new layer image in the center of the image, giving you perfect registration. That will make the rest easy.

 In Photoshop, turn off all the layers but the base good one and the one above it. Set the brush colors to default (press the d key). Hold the alt key down and click on the mask icon. The mask will load up black, revealing only the base layer.

 Select the brush tool using white paint, paint on the mask over the faces that need replacing. As you paint you will see the good face emerge. Make sure that all the edges of the new areas are in alignment with the base image.

3-1st layer work

 Repeat with each layer holding a replacement part.

 Once you have the heads/parts all replaced, you need to create a master layer with all the changes. Press alt, shift, CDN then the e key. This creates a layer that combines all of the layers active below it. You can make a duplicate and flatten the image. We like to keep the layered file so we can make changes if we need to.

 Besides creating the perfect family portrait there is another advantage. You can replace the viewing of the family groups with the unveiling of the one good combined image. Your time can be spent presenting the couple and individual shots.

2-Base layers

 Now, as a photographer, you should still try to get perfect group shots. Your goal would be to get so good you don’t need to use this technique. Until then, this will work fine.

 1-Cover sample

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