Tips + Techniques

Pye Jirsa’s Tips to Taking Knockout Group Portraits at Weddings [Rf Video of the Week]

August 19, 2016

By RF Staff

Group portraits are the most shared wedding photos on social media—at least in the experience of Pye Jirsa, who's one half of the California-based photo team Lin & Jirsa, and co-founder of "And it makes sense," he says. "You have tons of people in the image, who, if you capture a shot where they love the way they look and they think it's a cool image, every single one of them is going to share it, and that's exactly what happens."

With this knowledge, Jirsa took some time to put share his tips to taking group portraits that will wow clients and ensure some serious social sharing. Here are a few that stood out to us:

1. Choose a lighting strategy that will complement the natural light that's already there, not counteract it. Jirsa shows us one group portrait in which the subjects were placed beside a wall of windows, with ambient light hitting one side of their faces while the other side was cast in shadow. Rather than blast the couple from the shadow side, he placed his flash next to the windows, aiming it toward the people furthest away from the windows. "This keeps the existing shadow," he notes, "and creates dimension in the faces."

2. Pose your group by layering and overlapping people together. "It's going to tie them together and create a sense of closeness between each person," Jirsa explains, "and it'll also guide the viewer through this lovely frame that you have set up."

3. For large groups, light separately and composite together. Set your camera on a tripod and, with an assistant, light them individually, and then stitch and mask together in post-production. (Columbus, Ohio-based wedding duo Seth & Beth gave us a great rundown on this in our How-To Issue earlier this year.)

Got some tips of your own? Comment below! And check out the rest of Jirsa's insight in the video here:

Check out more Videos of the Week, and email Libby Peterson with submissions.

Related Links

Picture Perfect Posing's Roberto Valenzuela on Group Dynamics

How to Help Your Clients Prioritize Wedding Photography On Their Big Day

The Art of Posing: Body Language Basics