This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
For instance, one of the subjects may be seated in a chair facing the center of the picture, while the other may occupy a position on the corner of the table, or arm of the settee, placed near the chair. See the group of two in Illustration No. 65. The arms and hands should be posed in exactly the same manner as if an individual portrait were being made, while the light must be so controlled as to give the right amount of roundness, showing the characteristics of each individual.
624. The location of the subject as regards right and left side of the picture will depend entirely upon the general contour of the face. Usually a person photographing best in Rembrandt effect should be located on the side nearest the source of light, while a person whose face reproduces better with Plain Lighting should be on the side most distant from the light. Much depends, of course, upon the general circumstances surrounding each sitting. By referring to the accompanying illustration, No. 65, it will be seen that the lady has been posed in a Plain Lighting and the man with Broad Lighting.
525. There are different methods of securing various effects, the form illustrated being simply one of the many ways in which it is possible to secure pleasing results.
526. When the subjects are of different heights, as is generally the case, it may be taken as a general rule that the one possessing greatest height should be seated, while the shorter person, by standing, will usually be at the proper height to produce a pleasing effect. Under no circumstances should either subject face outward; each should lean slightly toward the center; yet by this is not meant that they should face squarely toward each other and gaze in their respective directions. The subjects should not face outward, because this will immediately destroy the unity of the composition. This is an important point, being applicable to all forms of grouping, whether there are two or a dozen figures to be photographed.
Group Of Three. The easiest group to arrange is the one containing three figures. To carry out the pyramidal form of composition, two figures - forming one group - may be slightly separated, and the third subject introduced between and back of them. Another way of constructing this group is to seat two of the subjects, introducing the third figure between them, as shown in the illustration No. 65. The subjects seated should not be in chairs of the same height, nor of the same construction, as one should strive for variety, and break up any tendency toward a set formation. The arms and hands should be held in such a manner as to break parallel lines, and the standing figure should not have both arms hanging down at the side, nor at the same angle. One hand may be placed on the back of the chair, the other held at the side, or back of the individual. The position of the first and second figures, relative to the light, is the same as in the group of two, while the third figure should face almost directly forward, the body being turned a little to one side or the other. The exact position of the face is governed entirely by the lighting effect best adapted to that particular subject.
Illustration No. 65. Group Construction-Two, Three and Four Figures.
See Paragraph No. 523.
Illustration No. 66. Group Construction Five and Six Figures.
See Paragraph No. 530.