This was the largest group photograph I have yet taken – 96 people.
It was a challenge and it is always exciting to be given a new challenge. The location was the beautiful 15th century Chapel at Eton College and the assignment on behalf of Eton College was to photograph Old Etonians returning for a visit.
Preparation is the key to success in taking large group photographs and having visited the Chapel the previous day I knew where to take the image. I used the 3 steps leading to the alter and by using a row of chairs in the front for people to sit on & stand behind and a row of chairs for people to stand on at the back I was able to create 6 tiered rows.
For good group photographs the people to be photographed have to be either above the photographer in tiered rows or the photographer has to be above the people with them looking up – on this occasion as they were so many I used both methods and I photographed the group standing on a stepladder.
The Chapel was dark and it was a little tricky in finding a good balance of lighting between not over exposing the front row and not underexposing the back row and yet at the same time keeping the ambient light on the walls and alter. By testing the light before they arrived I found a good balance by using 2 Elinchrom RX600 strobes fitted with Elinchrom Varistar Umbrellas.
Looking closely at the image afterwards I see that everybody is well exposed and looking into the camera smiling and the ambient light shows off the chapel surroundings. My client was happy – and so was I.