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.
Grouping Heads. There are as many different methods of grouping heads as of grouping full-length figures. The pyramidal or the oval form of construction may be resorted to. In Illustration No. 69 is shown a group of two heads, which is out of the regular set form of posing. It not only gives an excellent likeness of the subjects, but the composition and general effect are very pleasing. In the accompanying Illustration No. 70, a compromise has been effected, the group of heads secured being very much out of the ordinary. One should aim to obtain effects that do not have a set appearance. An easy, natural pose of each individual subject should be tried for. In a class, or similar group, the president should occupy a central position, with the remaining members grouped on either side. Usually, the principal subject together with three or four others may be seated; two or three more can be introduced back of these, while the remaining members may fill gaps in the front by being seated on stools, or on the floor.
548. It is an easy matter to have rows of heads, or even a pyramidal form of construction, appear like a pile of cannon balls. The aim should be to break up this form of construction. The subjects at both sides of the center should lean toward the center, especially if the faces are not turned toward it. Each subject should be given something to look at, and their attention fixed so there will be no danger of movement. Where all of the subjects are dressed in light - or dark - clothes, no attention need be paid to the arranging of light and dark masses; but, where the garments vary in color it is necessary to give special attention to this feature. Avoid spotted effects. Do not have a dark subject separate light ones. There must not be too much uniformity, however, to the arrangement of light and dark masses. Do not have the same amount of color on one side that appears on the other. Strive for a slight variation, as it is absolutely necessary if proper balance is to be secured.