The company I work for has a yearly photo (about 60 people this year) and i've got the honor of setting this up. I did this last year as well, but I want a higher quality result and will spend more time arranging the scene+people this year.
The last photo was taken on a tripod at eye level (over 6 feet) with a 5D2 and Zeiss 21mm Distagon @ 5.6. Two wirelessly-triggered flashes were used (580II + 430II) cross-firing across the scene through umbrellas. To further complicate things, the group of people is standing with their backs to a large set of open windows overlooking a city square. (actually here's a small version of the photo instead)
I know that this year, i want to elevate the camera (5D3, maybe on a ladder) and perhaps move it off-center. This will help make everyone more visible, and hopefully be more compositionally pleasing.
I also know that the Ziess 21mm, although world-class, isn't the best choice for this situation (horizontal distortion towards the edges).
Would the 17/24mm TS-E be a good choice for a group portrait? I'm mostly interested in minimizing distortion/bulging limbs and faces, and keeping things wide enough to capture the whole group. Sharpness is important as well, since a fair amount of the image will be cropped.
My other choice would be the 24mm f/1.4L, but i'm open to any suggestions.
So yes...any ideas on lenses?