Plane of focus.

I have struggled with this aspect lately, but I just need to train myself to compensate when I don’t have enough depth of field in my custom camera settings. When trying to maximize background blur in tight situations, often a problem arises when you are photographing a group of people. With a large aperture and being close to the subject due to limited room, your depth of field suffers greatly.

If the group of peoples’ faces are not on the same plane of focus, often you will have one individual’s face in focus, but everyone either in front or behind them by even a few inches will be blurry. So in situations like that you need to either make your aperture smaller, or try and get more room between you and them to increase focal point distance. Sometimes simple is best when you prefer staying in aperture priority mode on your camera, so just ask them to line up straight or decrease your aperture size for that shot. Have the outlying people angle their shoulders, but keep their faces at the same level as everyone else.

Wide angle with low perspective.

Another option would be to use an extreme wide angle lens from a close distance to your subjects. This way you still get everyone in the frame and benefit from what a wide angle lens offers such as making a large group portrait style image (shoulders and up). In the reverse, you can use that wide angle lens from a distance to get everyone completely in the frame. Try crouching, getting as close as you can without clipping their legs too much, and then move a bit off-center from the group. Have them pose and look toward you. It makes for a fun shot if you can pull it off and their posing is good. Often, wide near the ground shots like this feel epic as the subjects are elongated with a sense of large scale.