HOW TO CAPTURE THE BEST FAMILY & GROUP PHOTOS AT YOUR WEDDING
My top tips for getting the best group photographs on your wedding day
– Brainstorm a list together
– Delegate a bestman/bridesmaid to roundup
– Allow your photographer to choose the location
– Don’t stress if the kids aren’t into it
– Don’t underestimate their value
Quite often, couples will say that they really aren’t a fan of group photos, as they want to keep the day as informal as possible but I will always try to convince them otherwise. As much as it can feel unnecessary and time consuming (if not done right, I do get it, it can feel like forever!) the images captured during this time will be among those that you treasure the most.
Photos are incredibly powerful and hold so much sentiment and while often the natural ones are the best for telling stories and moving you emotionally, it’s the group photos which are the ones that your family and older relatives are most likely going to want to frame. They will be the ones passed down through generations and used to reminisce and remember loved ones when they are gone.
When we loose someone, photos are among the first thing we reach for. So often, after a loss, I see photos that I have taken at a wedding shared or even used at a funeral. I know that it sounds morbid to mention, but knowing that you have photos of loved ones captured on a day when they are surrounded by their family and looking their absolute best is a real comfort at these times. They become like treasure when they are gone and are heirlooms to pass down for years to come.
It’s true that for most of the day I will be more like a guest, capturing the natural moments when people aren’t aware, but it’s impossible for me to guarantee that I will capture a certain group of people together at any one time, unless we gather them together for a group photo. This is why it’s well worth planning your list in advance and in being prepared. By doing this we can make sure it’s a part of the day that we move through efficiently and even enjoyably……and here’s how
A couple of months before your wedding day I send over a few questionnaires for you to complete and one of those is for the group photos. It includes a little guide with the shots that I suggest so that you have a base to start with.
It’s a good idea to initially think about the different configurations you want photographed, ask parents for their thoughts and write everything down to start with. See if there is anything and that you agree or disagree on.
Family dynamics can mean that planning your group photos will sometimes be a little overwhelming, whether you have a very large family, people who don’t speak or family members missing……I completely understand that as families we have these issues and I am here for any advice that you may need. So long as we have a clear plan before hand, it need not feel like a chore or uncomfortable on the day.
You may have seen photographers at previous weddings become overbearing at this stage of the day, shouting and barking orders so that all of the guests roll their eyes with boredom and so you are really keen to make your day different?……well we absolutely can. Group photos can still be captured beautifully but also quickly and it’s all in the preparation and organisation prior to the big day.
Once you have your list of photos, send it over to me and then I can give you some guidance on timings based on the list you have. I would usually recommend that we spend no longer than half an hour on them, otherwise your face will start to freeze and you will feel really fed up. So if you have a particularly big list, I may suggest splitting it into two halves.
In my experience, the best time to do the group photos is directly after the ceremony, while we still have everyone together in one place. I will usually start with your big group photo and or confetti shots and I will then let the group know who needs to stay for the rest of the photos, leaving everyone else to go and grab a drink.
A note on your group shot….. depending on the size of your guest list, this photo can be better done from up high, so I will usually try to find a window or balcony for this.
I always recommend assigning a Best Man, Bridesmaid or someone who would love a bit of responsibility to help gather your guests during the photos. This saves me having to shout out and leaves me free to move swiftly through the list of photos. I will give them a copy of my list, explaining how I am working through it and they can have each group ready to go as soon as I’ve taken each photo. Most often the time consuming part of group photos is gathering the guests, so if there are there waiting for their shot, we can move through them in no time at all and even have time for a few fun ones in between…. of course, if you have a toastmaster, this is an area that they specialise in and so will take care of this for you
Light & Location
It’s important for the lighting to be considered for these photos. While you may love a particular location at your venue, bear in mind that it may not work if it is too sunny/dark/small. I will always scout out a couple of options for your photos so that any size group can be accomoated and also so that it’s accessible to any elderly guests you may have.
If you have a Summer wedding, I will be looking for some shade with even light so that you aren’t squinting…..if you have a Winter wedding I will need to think about how much natural light we have and consider indoor options. These are all things that I will plan and chat to you about before your day so that we are prepared.
The best advice I can give you is don’t stress! Not over any part of your day and especially not your photos. If you have booked a good photographer, you will have had a chat about everything before hand and you will hopefully feel safe in the knowledge that their direction will get you the best possible group photos. Certain things will be out of everyones control, such as your nephew refusing to smile or a sudden down pour but often great memories are captured during these times and the photos tell even more of a story, go with the flow and know that your photographer will capture every image that you have requested…..one way or another!
Group photos may not feel like a priority when you first think of your wedding photos, but often they are the basis for amazing images that could only be created once a certain group is together in one spot
So there you have it! With good preparation and time allocated in your schedule, group photos don’t have to be that dreaded time and you might even get some of your favourite photos from the day captured during this time