Wedding photography has evolved so much over the years, moving away from a series of formal, posed images, towards a much more relaxed, creative, story-telling approach (and rightly so; we love to capture moments as they naturally unfold, creating beautiful, relaxed images which tell the true story of your day).
However, group shots are still a really important part of any wedding. After all, how often do you get everyone you love, in the same place, looking fabulous, with a professional photographer to hand? These are the photographs that your Mum wants on her mantelpiece and, years later, these will become some of the most important memories of your day.
We know that nobody wants their wedding day monopolised by a series of formal shots, though, and over the past 10 years, we’ve become experts in working in the most relaxed, yet efficient manner to ensure that group shots are beautiful (and fun), without interrupting the flow of your day.
It takes a lot of experience to create the perfect group shot- they definitely don’t happen by themselves! There are several key methods that we use to achieve group shots in which everyone is smiling and engaged, in a lovely location, and to ensure that we complete all of a couple’s required group shots within 30 minutes.
Firstly, we recommend that our couples choose 6-10 set-ups in advance, to avoid any delays on the day. We provide a Group Shot Planning Form, so that couples can make a note of exactly who they would like in each photograph, and we offer as much or as little guidance as needed in creating these groups. Here’s a typical example (obviously it’s not a definitive list, as everyone’s family is so different):
Bride & Groom with Bride’s parents – Bride & Groom with Bride’s immediate family – Bride & Groom with Groom’s parents – Bride & Groom with Groom’s immediate family – Bride & Groom with both families – Bride & Groom with everyone – Bride with bridesmaids – Groom with groomsmen – Bride & Groom with wedding party
We put the shots in to the order which will allow us to shoot them in the most efficient way.
Secondly, we ask couples to nominate 2 helpers on the day. We ask them to choose someone from the bride’s side of the family, and someone from the groom’s (often it’s the ushers), who will know everybody that they have chosen to include in the group shots. They can help us to locate everyone when it’s time, which creates minimum fuss and disruption. We are DEFINITELY not “shouty” wedding photographers; we want your guests to enjoy every moment of the day too, so we keep the process of gathering them together, as well as taking the photographs, quick, friendly and fun.
Thirdly, we always recommend getting the group shots done early in the day; usually at the start of the drinks reception, or straight after the confetti. Once your guests have started drinking in earnest, and wandering around your beautiful wedding venue, it’s a lot more difficult to get group shots done! We only need 30 minutes, so everyone will still have lots of time to mingle and relax…
Finally, we tend to keep our family group photos relaxed and informal, but fairly traditional in style, as that suits most of the people featured in them. Often, though, we are a bit more creative and impromptu with the bridal party photographs, which can be a really fun part of the day. Just let us know whether this style suits you and your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and we’ll photograph you all in the way that suits you all best.
We hope these tips have proven helpful, but if you have any questions about wedding photography group photos, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The most important thing to remember is that it’s your wedding, with your family and your friends, and it’s worth putting some thought in advance into how you would like to photograph everyone together on the day. You’ll be creating memories that will last a lifetime and more…
Happy wedding planning!