Burst for Group Photo

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Today’s Question: For an upcoming family event I will be the designated photographer, and so I’ll need to capture of the group. This calls for the typical timer delay and hustle to join the group for the photo. Is there a way to capture a burst of photos rather than a single frame when capturing a group photo in this way?

Tim’s Quick Answer: My recommendation would be to configure your camera to capture a series of images such as you would for a time-lapse, either with a built-in feature if your camera is so equipped, or with a cable release that includes an interval timer feature.

More Detail: I actually used this time-lapse approach for a group photo at a class reunion I attended last weekend (though I won’t be disclosing how many years this reunion celebrated!).

There are a few advantages to this time-lapse approach. First, you’ll ensure you have multiple captures so you can choose the best one, hopefully with everyone smiling with their eyes open. Second, this approach provides a “hands off” approach, which can help streamline the process. I also find that in many cases when you use a wireless transmitter to trigger the captures that the appearance in the photo for the person triggering the captures can be slightly unnatural.

If your camera includes an interval capture feature, this approach is remarkably easy. You can also employ a cable release that includes an interval feature for the same purpose. I typically set the interval so that a photo is captured every five seconds, with no specific limit on the number of photos to be captured. I just stop the capture when I feel that enough photos were captured to ensure a good result.

Of course, the potential drawback is having a relatively large number of photos to go through. You can mitigate this issue by waiting until everyone is in position before starting the capture process. You might also consider increasing the interval time between captures, although I do find that setting an interval of too much time can create challenges for the group that is being asked to pose for an extended period of time.

In addition to streamlining the process of capturing multiple frames for a group photo through the use of a moderate interval between multiple captures, you can also have a bit of fun by assembling a time-lapse video of those captures. The result can often be a rather amusing look at the process of posing for photos, which the group may enjoy seeing in addition to the best still photo from the batch.