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A friend of mine just asked me to make a corporate group shot of the +- 27 people working in his company.

No problem of course, but he wants the group to be adjustable. He basically wants me to remove and add an employee in the future when someone leaves or joins.

I think I can pull it off but I'm still trying to think of the best way to do this. Any tips and tricks? Examples? Google 'dynamic (or adjustable) group portrait (or shot)' only shows up loads of presets and actions...

Thanks in advantage.

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To do this, you'll need each individual to be easily extractable from their background and be able to place them in to another scene. You will want consistent, even and reproducible lighting, so you will need to shoot with only artificial light in a room with no windows (or at night). Any variations in lighting will make it very obvious that the images were not taken at the same time.

You can either do this with a consistent solid background that can be blended between people or by masking out the background completely (though this can be harder depending on people's hair styles.) The advantage of the first is that it is likely much quicker, but it doesn't allow much of a selection in backdrops. The later is more complicated, but you can use any background shot under similar lighting conditions.

Once you have the individual people, you simply have to arrange them in a way that looks decent. A much easier alternative is to do it as a series of portraits and then use a gallery that places them all next to each other in a nice way. This way, changing them out is much easier and it still looks pretty good (possibly better than a hacked together group photo.)

Also, for 27 people, it is probably easier to just take another group photo when needed than it is to setup the lighting situation and take a highly controlled photo every time they have a new employee.

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    With a group of so many people, I wonder if seeing so many perfectly evenly lit people composited together won't look artificial. That is, even in group portraits with large even lighting, there is still some deviation in the light/shadow across the whole group that makes it look natural. – Dan Wolfgang Oct 6 '14 at 14:54
  • @DanWolfgang - yeah, possibly not, though if you use really soft lighting, it might be sufficient. – AJ Henderson Oct 6 '14 at 14:55

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