WEDDING GROUP PHOTOS
Wedding Photography Tips
One part of the day that I often see couples and guests experiencing unnecessary stress is when it comes to the wedding group photos.
Now you may have experienced firsthand going to a wedding as a guest and being asked to stand around for what seems like a lifetime perhaps in the blustery cold weather while the photographer gradually works his way through any number of group shots from a list.
Now let’s face it you’d rather be getting another drink at the bar, chatting with a family member you haven’t seen for a while or booging on the dance floor right? and if you don’t feel comfortable having your photo taken as a guest you may even decide to play a fun game of hide and seek with the wedding photographer.
Well before I hear calls of ‘burn the photographer at the stake!’ you may want to consider some aspects of the wedding photography group shots that, with a little bit of planning, can strike the right balance of getting the images you want whilst keeping yourselves and your many guests with a genuine smile of their faces.
Now when it comes to organising a large group of free-thinking individuals ie your guests without a little sprinkling of planning it can end up with you feeling like you are herding cats. Thankfully with a few little pointers to consider you can easily turn yourselves in wedding group photos planning divas.
So here we go with a few wedding group photography tips to help your group shots go without a hitch.
NOMINATE SOMEONE TO ORGANISE GUESTS
With the best will in the world, your wedding photographer, despite being given (hopefully) your group shot list, will not know who the majority of your guests are. Consider giving the task of gathering each group ready to be photographed to one or two of your wedding party who know your guests well, have a loud voice and aren’t afraid to use it.
This will enable your photographer to concentrate on the task of composing and capturing a great group photo whilst your little helpers are getting the next group ready saving you and your guests time to enjoy the rest of your day.
Also, don’t forget to print of a number of copies of your group shots list in case your little helpers accidentally lose them.
CONSIDER REDUCING THE NUMBER OF GROUP SHOTS
Now, who doesn’t want to capture images of your wedding guests, they may have traveled a long way and you may not see them very often and getting a photograph together is a nice memory to have. However, have you given any thought to how many group shots you really need?
Consider that each group photograph could take around 2-5 minutes, maybe even longer, depending on the size and complexity. Now multiply the time it takes for each group shot by your list of 20 or maybe even 40 group images and you can quickly see how it could take up a significant portion of your wedding day, and that doesn’t include the time you are waiting for someone to find uncle Charles who’s decided that this is the best time for him to visit the toilet!
So if you want to avoid your guests standing around waiting or you and your significant other putting on your best Wallace and Gromit smile for the 40th time (believe me your cheeks will start to hurt) then you may want to consider reducing your group list.
A useful measure is to try and limit yourselves to those groups that really matter and you are likely to display in a frame or wedding album, around 10 group shots work well for most couples. This could include one large group shot of everyone so you’re guaranteed not to miss anyone out. This will also free up time not only for you and your guests but for your photographer to capture more natural images of your guest enjoying themselves in and around your venue, your guests just might thank you for it!
THINK ABOUT THE TIMING OF YOUR WEDDING GROUP SHOTS
If you are thinking of capturing your group shots outdoors in available daylight then give some thought to the time of the year when sunset occurs as this could affect your ability to get the images you want. So unless you plan on issuing your guests some torches to light their faces you may want to allow plenty of time before sunset to get your group shots done. Of course, if you would like group shots taken in the dark then discuss this with your photographer as this may take a little more time due to the potential set up of artificial lighting systems.
Another clash point with your group shot timings may occur when your guests who are staying overnight at your wedding reception venue arrive and want to book themselves into their accommodation. This usually occurs inconveniently just as you are wanting to do your group shots.
To help counter this you may want to give your guests a time and location that you would like to do your group shots ahead of time so they can be in the right place at the right time for you. Alternatively, you could perhaps ask the venue to not book your guests in until you’ve got the group images you want helping you avoid playing hunt the wedding guest.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION FOR YOUR WEDDING GROUP PHOTOS
The size of your biggest group shot may dictate the location you choose to do your group images. Many church venues tend to have limited space outside to cater for such large guest numbers and no elevated position for your photographer to take the shot from, so choosing the right location can be crucial to getting the images you want.
Talk to your photographer about the best location to capture the images you would like. A good photographer will talk through the options with you giving consideration to the direction and quality of light and the compositional possibilities of each location.
Consider how the weather may affect the location of your group shots particularly if it is on soft ground as your guests will not be too chuffed if they keep getting their heels stuck in the muddy grass.
CREATE A GROUP SHOT LIST BEFORE THE DAY
Writing down the different types of group shots you would like ahead of your wedding day will help you avoid missing out on those must-have shots or you having to make it up on the hoof. Whilst you could leave this task up to your photographer they will not know which groups are most important to you or who is who as such it is best if you set a little time aside to give it some thought yourselves.
Writing down each group shot with everyone’s name on rather than just ‘ work colleagues’ or ‘grooms school friends’ will help your usher or other little helpers get the right people together quickly whilst your photographer spends there time actually taking photos for you.
Consider the sequence of your group shots. One approach is to start with your largest group shot first as this gets everyone together in the same place enabling you to announce to everyone who will be required for the other group shots and who can go a get a drink and relax. Starting with your largest group and working down to your smallest group helps avoid people being stood around waiting unnecessarily.
Lastly, there can be awkward moments when parents or other guests members who are divorced or have split up and don’t want to be in group photos together. Avoid the awkwardness and embarrassment by planning ahead of time with a list or even avoiding the shot altogether as those guests can still be photographed candidly and separately enjoying themselves.
HAVE A WET WEATHER PLAN
Ok let’s face it, we all know it’s a dirty word when it comes to weddings…..rain. Well, we are in Britain after all so let’s embrace it rather than worry about it.
So if you had plans for several outdoor group shots give some thought to creating a wet weather contingency list if rain is on the horizon. Talk to your wedding photographer or your venue planner about what’s possible indoors at your chosen wedding venue.
Alternatively, think about providing some brollies for some fun alternative outdoor images.
Do you have your own tips for making your wedding photography group shots run smoothly? Why not share it in the comments section below.