WEDDING PLANNING: How to make your group shots AWESOME
Wedding day group shots are some of the most important photos you will have taken on your wedding day. These are the photos that we all still have framed and put on the mantlepiece and will be the ones that are passed down from generation to generation as a piece of your family history.
Group shots can be the most stressful parts of the wedding day for most couples, and sometimes it does feel a bit like herding cattle. I’m here to maker it a more ENJOYABLE experience for couples and guests. Follow my handy tips and you will be back enjoying your fizz as quickly as possible without smile ache.
1. When to have your group shots
The best time to have your group shots taken is right after your ceremony whilst everyone is still together. This means that people haven’t gone wandering off to touch up their lippy or go to the bar. When they are done they are free to go to the toilet, have a fag or get that drink. At this point of the day I can also get shots of people hugging whilst casually in groups which makes for great candid shots.
The first thing to think about is if you would like a shot of all your guests together. These are usually the most complicated to organise as I’ll either need to photograph from a window or using a ladder. If you are doing a confetti shot we can shoot your whole group shot right after but if the weather is poor or the timeline doesn’t allow for it another option is after you have cut the cake and before your first dance as I can get the band / DJ to shout everyone up onto the dance floor.
You can have some portraits taken before the ceremony, but I find people are more relaxed and comfortable afterwards. If you have a particular place in mind for your shots, or would like them done at a different time of day we can make this happen too.
2. Where should I have my group shots taken?
The best advice is to have your group shots close to your wedding guests so we can quickly find people for your shots. If you have a spot in mind, let me know and we can have a chat before your wedding. It’s always best to plan for more than one option the weather as if it’s super sunny / raining / windy / cold we might need to find another place to have them taken. I always bring lighting equipment with me to weddings so I can work with both indoor and outdoor settings. If you are indoors or in a tight space, having a few chairs can help with organising the shots and making a more dynamic shot.
If you are having your ceremony and reception at a different location, I find it’s easiest to have your group shots taken at your ceremony location whilst everyone is together. Guests will often arrive at the reception venue late or at different times.
3. How many group shots should I have?
I would normally advise having no more than around 6-8 photos. One big group shot, one of each of your close families, parents, friends and wedding party is normally the perfect number without everyone getting bored or smile ache.
4. Start with the largest shots and gradually send people away
It’s usually best to go from largest to smallest so we are only keeping people around for as long as necessary and this also means we don’t need to go looking for people as we work through the shots.
Start with your extended family and whittle down to immediate family and your wedding party as they are the most invested in having photos with you they will usually be happy to stick around. Think of your older guests and make sure they won’t be hanging around for too long or they have a place to sit.
5. Prepare a plan and shot list in advance of the wedding
Keep your wedding party and guests prepared for the group shots, if you are doing a timeline plan board or putting one in your order of service put the time for group shots into it so people know they will be needed.
Make a shot list in advance of the wedding (I will ask you for this so i can be prepared) so that the process runs smoothly on the day. It also means that any shots that are important to you don’t get forgotten about. Let the people who you are having in the shots know you would love them for your photos so they can stay around and we can find them easier.
Allocate a helper who knows the people in the shots for each of you. Give them the list in advance of the day, and a printed copy on the day (I bring a copy with me too). While I’m photographing they can be getting the next people ready or find them if they have gone wandering off. This means I can focus on positioning everyone, making them feel comfortable and look relaxed.
Lastly, enjoy yourself! Planning for your group shots in advance of the wedding will mean you can relax and have fun taking your photos.
If you have any questions about planning your day, or are looking for a photographer get in touch and we can have a chat.