Ep 260: The beginner’s guide to gear and lighting for groups with daylight or flash Part 2

Photographing groups can be tricky. And the strategies that will give you the best shot are actually counterintuitive. Most photographers do the opposite of what they should do. In this informative episode, Gina and Valerie discuss what you need to know when you shoot groups – the advice might surprise you!

Gina and Valerie hope you enjoy the podcast.

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Show Notes

Listener question

Mandy asks:
Hello all, I’m one of those creepy stalker people that listen to every podcast and follow the group, but I’m not brave enough to post anything, so here goes…Until now I have primarily worked with natural light. I want to challenge myself to branch into the world of flash. I shoot with a Fuji X-T3 and I’m trying to figure out the best way to start. I am thinking a godox speedlight is a good first step? Does anyone have any advice or recommendations for which godox model I should get?

Check out our answer to Mandy’s question in this week’s episode.


Basic tips

  • Look for open shade
  • Avoid dappled light
  • Backlit can be nice if you have fill flash



  • Large modifiers like umbrellas, large octa boxes and softboxes work best
  • Umbrella is like a hose on fine spray
  • Hard light is like a hose on the narrowest setting
  • Avoid hard lighting as it casts shadows
  • Flat even lighting is the safest option
  • The closer your subject is to the light source the faster the light drops away
  • If you want to create a high contrast portrait such as split lighting move the light closer
  • If you want a portrait with flatter more ever lighting move the light away from your model


To evenly light groups, set your lights back slightly.

  • The closer the light is to your model, the softer the light
  • Softness has nothing to do with falloff
  • It’s confusing, the best way to understand this is to see it in action.
  • Buy a cheap torch and bust out your lego and try the experiment for yourself
Above: Aerial view of group shot shows the person closest to the light is brightly lit, but then the power of the light falls off rapidly leaving the rest of the boys in the dark.
Above: Rapid fall off when light too close to the group
Above: Backing the lights up so the boys are positioned in the part of the light where there is less contrast or fall off. Final image below.
Above: An evenly lit group shot.


  • Use a tripod and lock-off exposure so you can comp heads in if you need to.
  • Avoid wide-angle lenses because these distort group shots making people at the front of the group appear huge and people
  • at the back look like pinheads.

Focal length

  • Wide-angle lens distorts the shape of the human body
  • In a group shot people closer to the lens will appear larger than people further away from the lens
  • A long lens compresses the background and makes items that further away appear closer to the camera
  • In a group shot if you have people further away from the camera using a long lens can give a more balanced look to your image.
  • The ideal focal length is between 50mm and 100mm

Gold members
Check out June and August “Ask Me Anything” recordings for more tips on this

Aussie Slang word of the week

Pash: To give a passionate kiss. So you would say “Did you pash him?” “Did you get a pash rash?”


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About Gina

About Gina

Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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