How to Breeze the Group Photos at Weddings

I get asked this a lot: “Would you mind taking a few wedding group photos?”

Maybe there are stories abound of egotistical photographers who are less than enthusiastic when asked to organize a few formal photos,  because it goes against their ‘artistic vision’ (eye roll) and maybe I come across that way with my online presence (I really hope not), but the simple answer is: Of course I don’t mind!  Being your photographer means that if you wanted me to take hundreds of pictures of you posing in a field then I’d do it, and if you wanted me to Photoshop in some fairies and unicorns, I’d do that too. I say this from a place of safety because if you did want a prolonged series of wedding cheese, you wouldn’t have made it this far.

Admittedly, these formal photos aren’t the most exciting part of the day with the job being more akin to a herder of humans than a photographer of them, and it’s a bit of a downer for the newlyweds too, having just been err newly wed, all they want to do is to celebrate with their loved ones who are dying to give them hugs / hand shakes / fist bumps.

However, for some people (often parents and and grandparents) these pictures are important and bearing in mind how quickly these group photos can be done, it would be remiss of me to not take their feelings into account.

As you can see from the pictures scattered around this page, formal pictures don’t have to be stiff and awkward.  Getting people into close proximity with each other gives plenty of opportunities for moments to develop and in the hands of an attentive observer, some wonderful snapshots can be taken.

So what’s the best way of handling group shots?  A little prep goes a long way:

1) Choose a specific time when the relevant people are gathered in the same location.  Traditionally this is straight after the ceremony.  I don’t recommend doing this when canapes are floating around or close proximity to a free bar, if it can be helped.

2) Make sure people who are to be in the pictures know they will be in the pictures and that there would be hell to pay if they’re not there.  

3) Give your photographer a shot list in advance.  They’ll be able to give you guidance on what’s manageable in your timeframe and how much help they’ll need to make things go smoothly.  Which leads me to…

4) Give your list to someone (or someones) who is organised and likely to know the family.  Failing that give it to someone who can shout loud. They would be responsible for ushering in the next group as the current group pictures are being taken.

Easy peasy, isn’t it?  And cheeeeeeeese….