Wedding photography group shots have a bit of a bad reputation. We’ve all been to those weddings where we the guests, are left standing around for hours while the photographer awkwardly poses the couple with every combination of family member possible.
Some of my clients have had such bad experiences that they don’t want any group shots at all! But I do believe these traditional group shots are really important, and if done right, they can be a lot of fun and really don’t take long at all. Here are a few tips on how I photograph family group shots quickly and efficiently.
1. WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP SHOTS – LETS KEEP THE LIST SHORT
It’s a good idea to have a plan before hand, but the secret is to not have a long list of combinations; you really don’t need them all. I suggest about five family group combinations to my clients, this may sound small to some, but quite often it’s the perfect amount. Some of my clients ask for a group shot of everyone too. I also would get group shots during the day of you with your best people (bridesmaids, ushers etc)
Here is an example of what family combinations might look like:
- You guys plus the bride’s parents, siblings and their partners
- You guys plus the groom’s parents, siblings, and partners
- You guys with just the bride’s parents
- You guys with just the groom’s parents
- Any extras…. I may photograph you with just the siblings depending on how close your relationship is, or you may want one with just your grandparents for example
Each family is different obviously, but this gives you an idea of how many I shoot.
2. SET FAMILY EXPECTATIONS
You may need to manage your family expectations if you think they’ll want an input. Try and have this conversation before the day so we can plan for it. If you think your Mum will want every combination of family members, maybe suggest she gives you two “must haves” and we can take it from there.
If I can, I plan to do the family group shots straight after the ceremony. The thing that makes group shots boring is the time spent finding everyone. Straight after the ceremony everyone is still together, on their best behaviour and most people still expect a level of ‘formalities’. In my experience if we shoot these later in the day, there is always a risk of loosing someone to the bar, the loo, a fag, a nappy change or a change of shoes etc. Obviously, for a variety of reasons, this isn’t always possible but this is usually the quickest way to get them done.
4. SCHEDULE IN SOME TIME
I’m very quick at photographing these shots, but I still need some time! I’d suggest scheduling about 15-20 minutes for the group shots (depending on exactly what you want). Also, don’t forget to schedule in some time for confetti (if you’re having some) and all the hugs and kisses you’ll be receiving once you come out of the ceremony – this really is a lovely part of the day and you don’t want to rush it.
5. ASSIGN ONE KEY PERSON
I’ll ask you to assign one person who is confident about helping me gather the relevant person. They may not be needed, but it’s always good to know that there is someone who has my back rounding everyone up if needed.
6. FRIENDS GROUP SHOTS
I’ve started asking my clients if there are any groups of friends that they’d like to be photographed with… this is less formal and is usually done in the evening before the music starts, or sometimes even on the dance floor! But to have a photo with your university mates, or your work mates is always fun.
7. HAVE FUN
Even though the family shots are seen as the ‘formal’ part of the wedding, as you can imagine I shoot them in a super relaxed way and there isn’t much ‘formal’ going on. There is always banter, and always lots of laughs.
Hope this blog post has helped you prepare a bit with your wedding photography planning. For more tips on wedding planning, check out: THE OXFORD WEDDING BLOG PLANNING TIPS