Tips for Taking Group Photos “Open On Three” (photo fail)

Everyone knows that it is REALLY hard to take good group photos. Some of the most common errors that can occur when taking group shots are people closing their eyes right as you are snapping the picture and people looking in different directions. This is so frustrating for both the photographer and the participants because it means posing longer to perfect the shot.  I heard a great tip from a photographer friend that he uses when managing large groups of people. (This can also work with two or more children).  TIP: Have everyone close their eyes and then open them at the same time to take the picture! Great tip right? (This is one of those slap your forehead moments where you say out loud “Why didnt I think of that?” Of course this would work.)

This is a photo from my actual wedding when people were using their own cameras to try and get some good group shots. #FAIL

(Can’t You People Just Look Forward and say CHEESE!?!?!)

#photofail #photography #group open your eyes on three

I will go take some pictures to demonstrate this great tip. . . . .



“Let me just – ”

So, here is what I found out about this tip.

It is not “just that easy” to utilize the open your eyes all at once strategy. There is still some training and explaining that needs to be done to get it right.

First of all, make sure that your photog subjects are all on the same page with the whole “Open on 3” thing.  Be clear about whether you expect them to Open On “THREE” or open on 1,2,3 “OPEN“.

Big difference.

GROUP PHOTO SHOOT TAKE  #fail #tips #photography #blog #tricks #photofail #open #eyes

Next, make sure that when your group does open their eyes all at the same time they know for certain where to look. Have everyone focus on the same fixed point before closing their eyes. On “Three” they open their eyes and immediately find the fixed point. Give yourself as the photographer a second before taking the picture. So, this means that they will be “on three” And you will be on 1,2,3, “Open”. (Got IT?)

GROUP PHOTO SHOOT TAKE  2 #photofail #photography #fail #blog #pic #tips

And you want them to try to look as natural as possible so give them time to just focus their eyes. And if for PETE’S SAKE you find that some people do not have the skills to Open their Eyes like a normal person to take a picture, exercise a LOT of patience and just take your shots until you can find one that works.

#photofail #tips #photography @dapperhouse #fail #pics 4 #photofail #tips #photography @dapperhouse #fail #pics 5

#photofail #tips #photography @dapperhouse #fail #pics 1

#photofail #tips #photography @dapperhouse #fail #pics 2

And . . .

If all else fails you can just edit them out.

#photofail #tips #photography @dapperhouse #fail #pics 3



theprettypickle #photography #lightbox #tips #DIY



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45 thoughts on “Tips for Taking Group Photos “Open On Three” (photo fail)

  1. I had a photographer friend give me this tip a few years ago, and it never seems to work for me either, lol. No matter how precise I am with my direction, there is always SOMEONE who doesn’t get it.

  2. Thanks for adding my post, Jen! Your out takes are hilarious. I need to pass along some of these tips to my husband…poor guy makes the same sucked in face for every photo he is in…lol.

  3. haha, I like the way you post, with those funny faces you made… makes reading your blog much more enjoyable because it brings a little smile. I like to take candid shots, but this is great for group photos. cheeeese!

  4. Great tip! I’ll have to remember this for Christmas family pix. Personally, I have to remember not to open my eyes too wide – a former boss of mine told me I had “Blair Witch” scary eyes in pictures!

  5. Funny yet an interesting way to evaluate what we all experience with almost no solution to get a perfect group photo.

  6. I wanted to get my family together for a family photo. I told everyone to dress up and after about 25 I stated to lose my mind lol
    To be fair it was mostly my 3 and 6 year old messing up the photo, but my dad kept talking and looking around the room. And I think my brother has blinking issues hehe

    By the end of the night we took at least 40 photos and only 2 were usable!! Next time we do this I”m going to use your tips 🙂

    • I know! When my kids were little and I would take them to get their photos taken I would wonder how those people so that all day every day for a living. Talk about going postal? THAT is a stressful job 🙂

  7. LOl Hilarious… I always enjoy visiting your blog. Its so refreshing!! Great tips, I absolutly love the #photofails Thank you so much for the laughter and also for sharing.

  8. I hear ya! Trying to take a pic of my three kids together is such a chore. My bff who is a photographer finds she takes the best pics when she captures them naturally!

  9. Bwahahahaha…I love your pictures for this! We just had this whole fiasco for Thanksgiving family pictures, however our problem wasn’t so much the eyes, it was getting teenagers who wanted to be somewhere else to smile like they actually were happy to be with family. We’re not that bad…really, we’re not, LOL. I’ll see if some of these tips work for next year 🙂

    • Mary! We need to have wine and commiserate. I took pictures of my 3 reluctant children on Thanksgiving and my teen son decided that they were all bad and threw a HUGE fit about me not using ANY Of them. When he found out that I sent them to his grandmas via facebook he Flipped Out!!

  10. Too funny! In almost every family photo we have for over 40 years, my mother closes her eyes. She can not help it. She can’t avoid it. No matter what we do, her eyes will be closed, LOL. I will have to give this a try.

  11. I enjoy looking at this picture and i can relate. on three is quiet long for husband when we take photo as it probably expired the smile. it’s a good tip

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