You know, I’m not really a math kind of girl. Or a geometry, or even trigonometry kind of girl. I shy from numbers, I see and think in pictures. I think this is why photography as a profession is a good fit for me. However, I managed to do really well in all those classes back in college, and at one time I even entertained the notion of becoming a physicist or astronomer. I kind of loved my trigonometry class. It felt like magic to me, that you could figure things out based on triangles. Things like the mass of giant planets can be figured out based on triangles. I will not try to explain this, you have to just trust me, or go take a class or two and see for yourself! What I will explain though, is how triangles can help you make better pictures in your group, family and fashion photography. Especially when you have a goodly number of people in the picture and you can’t figure out for the life of you how to make them look, well, not awkward.
Here is a picture of a number of beautiful models all wearing designs by Grateful Threads Organics. I spent about 5 minutes posing the group before I made this picture. The important thing for this pose was that you could see all of the dresses, and the pose needed to look natural. I started with the focus of the image being placed on the center of the group. In this case, the girl in the lavender. I had the sitting models gently angle their leg away from the camera in a triangle shape. Then I had the girls move into natural triangle groups.
I hate to deface a good picture, but here you can see the many triangles that make up the pose.
This group pose was made when I photographed the first Color Me Goodwill Fashion Show. I had an hour to shoot 60 models, front and back and 5 group poses for each designer who had their own color. This was the pink group with designs by Tami Lu Barry of Luology. Again, I had a center focus (the nice man in the middle), and grew my triangles out from him.
In this case, I was a family photographer for a mother-to-be. When you are working with children, it pays to be fast. I made triangles first, then told everyone to squeeze in tight because they are family, after all, and we want them to have the memory of being a close knit group. Again, the center focus is on the primary subject, the mother-to-be. Always start with your primary focus, and grow your triangles from there.
Sometimes you have less than five minutes to get the group shot. Think one giant triangle and tell them all they need to see the camera if the camera is going to see them. It helps if there are stairs or some way to get people on different levels. That forces a natural angle to triangulate from. When you are working with large groups, you will inevitably have hiders.
Even when working with groups of two, you can make triangles. How many triangles do you see in the next two pictures?Let me make triangles of your group.