Planning a group photo of everyone and all your signs, art and visuals can often get the strongest image of the demonstration for your own photos and sometimes for media as well. Here’s a few tips for thinking about the strongest possible group photo.

group of protestersMOST PEOPLE: Time it for when the most people are present, this may be in the middle of your event. If you are having a rally or program, doing a group photo does not mean you have to stop with speakers or music–a group photo makes for a very focussed audience while you are taking pictures.

LIGHT?: Where is the light coming from? If the sun is out having it in front or to the side rather than back lit (in shadow) helps. If it’s dusk or dark look for street lights or other sources of light–again ideally coming in front.

WHERE & BACKDROP?: Is there a sign for the Senators offices or a recognizable building or building entrance that will explain where you are and help tell the story? Is there some iconic landmark nearby? Where is a good place for a group of people to stand and be visible? If it’s a big groups are there steps or a low wall that people could stand on to make the whole group more visible?

VERTICAL LAYERING: Some ways to think about arranging people and art so they are all visible, fill the space and don’t block each other; tall people step back less tall people step forward; have the front row of people sitting on the ground–if it’s not wet and there are folks OK with that; have a second row of folks kneeling; if there are steps, benches, walls that people can stand on and be visible behind those standing on the ground. You can ask if everyone can see the photographer clearly–to check and may sure their faces will be included in the photo.

group of protesters

Landowner, farmers, Bold Iowa and community folks in Central, Iowa take a group photo after disrupting bulldozers working on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Oct, 2016

group of protesters

Missisipi Stand group photo before marching against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Oct, 2016, Keokuk, IA

ART & VISUALS: Is there a strong readable key banner/s or sign/s that has your core message that you can put in the center of the group photo? This is the time to arrange your strongest art and visuals to be seen, to make your group bigg and your message clear and beautiful. Can you have people with signs hold them so they don’t block other faces–hold high or low? One way to display additional banners in a group photo is to lay them flat on the ground in front of the group and include in the photo frame.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Try to arrange for at least one reliable person who can take good photos and immediately get them to your group. If you know media photographers or videographers coming you could let them know there will be a group photo at a certain time/location.

GET THE PHOTOS OUT: Try to post them ASAP on your social media, website with a caption or report and encourage people to share. Tell people in the group photo where they can see/find the photo and encourage them to share it. A few of your strongest photos that tell the story of your demonstration/event with a strong clear caption or report will often get shared more than posting lots of photos.

Email your 3-5 best photos to so we can share them!