People often wonder how I manage to get nice photos of my large family.
I saw an interesting article over on Velocity, Science in Motion containing a calculation to figure out how many photos you’ll have to take of a large group to make sure you’ll get at least one blink-free photo.
came up with a rule of thumb for calculating the number of photos to take for groups of less than 20: divide the number of people by three if there’s good light and two if the light’s bad.”
This is an interesting theory. I totally agree with the general premise–you’ll have to take a bunch of pictures to get a good group shot. However, this equation does not take little children into consideration. Any mom who’s tried to take a good Christmas picture of a handful of kids knows that blinking is the least of her worries.
No, little kids have a much larger repertoire. There’s turning away, face covering, sibling-whacking, the dreaded nose-picking, pained grimacing, and of course outright howling, among other things.
Using Velocity’s calculation, 3 or 4 photos should be enough to get a decent shot of my crew. I laugh hysterically at that idea.
To get this gem of a family photo in 2005, my sister took 27 pictures. Yeah. I took around three dozen to get this Christmas picture of our children for our 2006 Christmas picture.
Based on those photo shoots and many others, I would like to propose a different photo-shoot rule for large families. To maximize your chances of a group shot, double the number of people in your group and then add 6 extra shots *per child* under the age of 8.
So, eight kids with two under the age of 8? Double the total number to get 16, then add 12 more shots to compensate for the youngest ones in your group. 28 shots oughta get you something.
Got 4 kids under the age of 6? (insert maniacal laughter) Three dozen shots might get you something good. Maybe.
Even though I have a digital camera and could theoretically stop and check each picture, I don’t waste my precious minutes. In the time it takes to look at what I’ve got, I’ll have kids wandering off and picking fights and getting grumpier by the second. It is far better to just snap like a maniac till the little ones start losing it. Then move everyone to a new location and repeat.
The first picture on this post was taken in the second ‘setting’ of that photo shoot. The picture of the kids in the tree was the third location in that shoot. Varying your location increases your chance that you’ll get good lighting somewhere, and it also keeps it a little more interesting for the kids.