Nail Your Group Photographs
Welcome to Top 5 Friday
This is the home of making your wedding day kick some serious ass. From things you might not have thought of, to recommendations for some major suppliers, I’m pulling from my experiences of being at heaps of weddings to help yours run like a well oiled wedding machine.
This week lets talk group photographs. You won’t find many of these on my site or social, because they’re something so individual to each person. It’s your family and your friends, so it’s not always easy to imagine yourself in the photo (which is the ultimate aim of any wedding photographer’s website, to make you want to be in these photos!). But that being said, they’re a big part of nearly every wedding I’ve been a part of.
The vast majority of people who book me say they don’t want to do many, but the feel obliged to do some. And it’s that realisation that a wedding is about more than us as the couple, it’s the supporting cast as well. An older generation expect a smile at camera family shot from wedding photos. It’s ‘traditional’ and I’m definitely not going to say no to your granny :)
There’s a lot you can do to get the most out of your time spent doing these. It doesn’t need to be a long time, and it can be a fun time. With a little preparation and some solid hustle on the day, we’ll nail you wedding group photos!
If you only do one thing on this list, get organised!
Picture the scene; you’re newly married, your love is holding you as you float through your wedding day then pop.
“Oh shit!” you realise, “we need that photo with my mum and gran!”
“Wait, wasn’t there another one as well? Aunt Susan that’s flown from New Zealand and who else did we want in it?”
This is NOT how to spend your wedding day. A little bit of time forward planning what family & group photographs you want to catch will make the wedding day a breeze. I’ll send you a form the fill these in a couple of months before the wedding. I bring it with me and organise the group photographs while you try and catch the canapés at every pass. Easy!
When you’re making your list, including the names of everybody in the photograph is so helpful. Writing “bride’s family” is a recipe for confusion and prime ground for awkwardness when you realise you don’t want your sister’s weird new boyfriend in your wedding photo 🤷♂️
FIND YOUR FINDER
Everyone has a pal who can be a bit gobby, right? The one with the voice you wish was just a little less loud. Well, this is their time! While I’m taking the photos, your designated finder (or even better, finder team) will be rounding up the people on your list (handily dished out to them by me on the day) ready for the next photo.
Just make sure you don’t pick somebody that will be clinging to the bar, or it could be a long afternoon.
Having somebody helpful here can make this process an absolute breeze so draft wisely!
Less is more when it comes to your group photographs. Having shot a lot of weddings, I’m pretty confident in saying that you will at some point think “Oh my god I wish we hadn’t put down so many group shots!” Even being fully organised, it takes some time to make it happen so be thoughtful about who you include.
Let me introduce you to ‘The Mantlepiece Rule’. Do you want this person looking down at you from your mantlepiece / desk / wall? And would they have the photo on theirs? If the answer to both is ‘no’ then you probably don’t need them in your group photo. Keep these for the key people that you wouldn’t have your day without.
DON’T GET CAUGHT SHORT
As with most things on a wedding day, it tends to take a little longer than you think it will. Factor in around 2-3 minutes per photograph on your list. This will allow time for getting people in shot, getting them lined up, Uncle Steve tucking his shirt in, retaking the photo when somebody realises they’re wearing their glasses. All these little seconds add up over the course and, as I’ve said a million times, the last thing you want is to feel rushed. The day is fast enough without adding pressure to yourselves with an unrealistic time plan.
GET IN. GET OUT. GET DRUNK
So when should you do the group photos? I’m a big advocate for getting into them as soon as possible after your service. There’s the usual cuddle window where you’ll be saying hello to everyone, but as soon as that starts to lull is the perfect time for group shots. This means that people haven’t wandered too far, nobody is drunk yet (hopefully!), everybody is still looking A+ and means that you’ll float through the afternoon knowing that one big thing is done and out the way.
Simple, right? Tell me that when I reach for a hipflask on finding out all your guests have gone to check in to their hotel (that happened!). This is what an ideal group list will look like and will make for some plain sailing into party time on your wedding day.
SAMPLE GROUP PHOTO LIST
Bride & Groom + groom’s parents Ross & Rachel
Bride & Groom + bride’s parents Chandler & Monica
Bride & Groom + Uncle Joey
Bride & Groom + bridesmaid Phoebe & best man Mike
Bride & Groom + nieces & nephews Emma, Ben, Chandler, Frank Jr & Lesley
Bride + Granpa Gunther
Our finder is Janice. My God is she loud!