Group Portraiture is my specialty and I've been doing it for more than forty years and I have found that with adults it's is best to tell every one to focus on the lens of the camera where the audience is and relax and on the count of three I will expose the shot. I count to three very slowly and when I see everyone is ready, usually on the count of two, I take the picture. My success rate is about 90 percent. The scene you describe for your shot might be better posed if you were at the top of the steps with the group at the bottom step and below, with the grassy area for the background and the sun behind them and using full, fill flash for the exposure. If the sun is lighting the hair and shoulders, the contrast might be a little high so you may want to consider a developer like Thornton's two bath and give a little more exposure in the taking.
P.S. I always tell the group that if they can't see the whole camera, it can't see them and that seems help them find an appropriate spot without too much direction from me.
Last edited by archer; 04-18-2011 at 10:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.