Group Wedding Photographs and the dos and don’ts

As a leading professional Shropshire wedding photographer, it’s my job be part of the wider team which really helps you enjoy your special day without having to worry about anything.

So to take some stress out of the planning, I thought I would share with you some of my top tips for group wedding photos. Hopefully I will have met you at the engagement/pre-wedding shoot, which I offer all my engaged couples to help us get to know each other.

Then ahead of your wedding we work together to build up a picture of the sort of photos you want me to capture, including who, where and what. Group photographs are something as individual as you are – some people want lots of them, some people don’t want any and want to take a more relaxed approach. You don’t have to do them but there might be groups of people who mean a lot you, family, friends, bridesmaids, groomsmen, children etc. But if you are looking for a few group shots.

There are some definite advantages of planning them in:

•You will definitely get a picture of you with the loved ones that mean the most to you, which might not have happened if it wasn’t planned. I might not know who is who and you don’t want to be bothered with trying to usher people together on the day – I can do that for you!

•We can ensure that any older family members or people who live far away can be photographed with you – something they might like to treasure as well.

Disadvantages of doing group photos:

•It can take time out of your day when you would rather be chatting and celebrating

•Sometimes it can take longer than you expected or become frustrating if people keep disappearing!

Weddings tend to be more relaxed that they used to be traditionally and what you want is often more important than tradition anyway.

If you want to spend more time enjoying your day and friends and family, the key thing is probably keep the ‘formal photos’ list to a minimum, and have someone efficient organising it.

Personally, I love to shoot ‘real’ moments and often find that if I am in the right place at the right time to capture some of the intimate and unexpected things that happen, that these end up being a couple’s most cherished pictures of their day.

These are the pictures that will enable you to remember those moments long after your wedding day, and are the ones more like to end up on display in your home, than a formal group shot.

But I also understand how nice it is to have a ‘posed’ photo of you with the key people in your life and to make sure that you have that picture. They will be equally treasured in the future.

Group photos don’t have to be ‘formal’ or stuffy though. As long as we can get everyone together, it can be just as memorable to capture you interacting, hugging or laughing, that formally posing.

I would always advise a couple to prepare a list of what you want, but to keep the list at a minimum. This way we ensure you get the photos you want, without taking hours out of your day and making the photos a chore, when they should be another really special and unique time for you to be with, chat and interact with loved ones.

As a guide, a recommended group photos list that I give to my couples, is:

1. Bride & Groom with both sets of parents

2. Bride & Groom with Bride’s Parents

3. Bride & Groom with Bride’s family – including parents, grandparents, siblings, (aunties & uncles if required)

4. Bride & Groom with Groom’s Parents

5. Bride & Groom with Groom’s family – including parents, grandparents, siblings, (aunties & uncles if required)

6. Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids & Groomsmen

Groomsmen are often photographed before the service and the Bridesmaids at the venue. Informal shots of your friends can be captured after the service at the venue also.

If this is planned in advance and with a bit of organisation on the day, we can keep this side of the proceedings to of 20-30 minutes.

If you have a ‘nominated helper’, things run even more smoothly! One or two people who know who everyone is and can help round up the required people for your group photos. Give them your pre-prepared list in advance, so that they are ready to leap into action.

The rest of the people and photos you ideally want to get, I can work on, on a more ‘informal’ basis. You with your grandparents or flower girls, with groups of friends as you chat and congratulate each other.

Hopefully with these tips, you will get the photos you plan for, and a lot of spontaneous memories to treasure for a lifetime.

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