What are good standard poses for group shots of 3 or 4 people and how can I arrange folks so that they don't just look like they're 'standing around'?
Here's a couple of suggestions:
- Classic family or work group portrait: Seat a person or a couple and have the rest stand behind and to the sides. The person or couple sitting down will typically be determined by seniority, but other criteria might create interesting dynamics too, so don't just blindly go by the numbers.
- Another classic, especially with younger subjects: Have the group jump and photograph them midair with a fast shutter speed and/or a flash to freeze the motion.
- With a more lively and dynamic group, you can also experiment with untraditional poses like for example standing one person a feet or two away from the rest of the group, then have the group look at the one person while the one person looks at the camera, vice versa, or other combinations of looking/not looking.
- Arrange the group members like a classic band photo. Place the lead person center and front, and have the other persons stand further behind and to the side. Arrange the people in individual poses.
A classic approach is to arrange people so their faces form triangles. This is aesthetically pleasing.
another Example by ".eti"
A technique which is useful when you have lots ( > 4 or so) of people is to arrange them in subgroups, such that each sub-group works on its own, and arrange the sub-groups so that they link together somehow.
Example on Flickr here by "off thedeepend".
Another example, also on Flickr. This one by "Sadie Collins"
Finally, putting the subject's heads close to each other builds interest. It makes them look connected. Here's an example where "Waechor"'s image works because the 3 girls' heads are close/touching.
Good luck. :)