On your big day you’re going to want some great wedding group shots, but which ones should you ask your photographer to take?

In times gone by wedding photography had a bit of a bad name. This was mainly because of the length of time the photographer commandeered proceedings for those dreaded wedding group shots. Nowadays however, many couples specify that they do not want anything like the old style group-shot-fest and would prefer something a little more guest-friendly.

Wedding Group Shot of Bride and Bridesmaid

Formal Wedding Group Shots

We usually suggest no more than about five or six formal group shots for the album, and this would include something like…

  • The Bridal Party (Bride, Groom, Best Man, Ushers, Bridesmaids etc)
  • Bride and Parents
  • Groom and Parents
  • Bride, Groom and Both Parents
  • Everybody i.e. All friends, family and guests

Additional group shots can also include…

  • Bride, Groom and Bride’s Immediate Family
  • Bride, Groom and Groom’s Immediate Family
  • Groom and Ushers
  • Bride and Bridesmaids

However…

Remember, Group Shots Can Take Time

Bridal magazines will often publish a very concise list of wedding group shots to ask for. These involve every possible permutation of family and friends that would take you the best part of the day to get through.

If you have chosen a wedding photographer whose style is quite candid and relaxed, the last thing you want to do is throw 20 group shots at them. Everyone will be fed up at the end of it and most of your guests will blame the poor photographer for keeping everyone hanging around, even if it was your decision to choose so many group shots!

Informal Group Shot of Bride, Groom and Family

Informal Wedding Group Shots

A great compromise is to spend some time with the photographer as soon as you arrive at your reception venue (if you’ve had a church ceremony) whilst your guests are still arriving. This way you can make the most of the ‘dead time’ without it seeming like your photographer has whisked you away. If time permits you can always have a couple of 10 minute sessions here and there so you get to see your guests and have some time alone together too (albeit with the photographer).

When you’re back with your guests the photographer might take candid photographs of the fun and laughter. At this point they can also cover some more informal wedding group shots without the need to turn it into a big deal. For example, get an usher to round up your mum and sister and have the photographer shoot the three of you ad-hoc. Suddenly there’s a nice informal ‘formal’ shot, done and dusted with no fuss.

Talk to Your Photographer

Of course, not all photographers will be open to this method of shooting, but it works for us! A photographer with a more photojournalistic approach may not want to cover any groups shots at all. Their style is often more about capturing the day as it unfolds with no ‘posed’ shots.

The best thing to do is talk through all the options before the wedding and discuss what works for you all. All good photographers will work with you to find a good compromise, and it may simply be that their style and your requirements do not match, in which case it’s time to move on to the next one on the list!

Quick Tips for Great Wedding Group Shots

Group pictures don’t have to be dull either. Even formal groups can be arranged with a creative edge to make an image to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Wedding Group Shot of Bride, Groom and Groomsmen

Here are five quick tips for perfect wedding group shots.

  • Don’t have a huge list of formal groups – keep some groups informal. University friends or stag and hen do attendees are good candidates for dynamic, relaxed groups.
  • Shoot the bulk of the groups during the drinks reception to avoid a refreshment delay.
  • If you are going to have a big group shot of all your guests, shoot it just before your meal; the best man can then invite everyone to take their seats just after the photographer has finished. This keeps the catering team happy too as they can serve you promptly.
  • Choose efficient ushers to assist your photographer during the taking of the wedding group shots. The more people in your groups the more scope there is for somebody to be elsewhere. Your ushers will need to gather people and get things moving when necessary.
  • Have a wet weather plan.

As a general rule, five groups will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the groups.

Guest post by Matt Pereira and Damien Lovegrove of Lovegrove Photography (Quick Tips)

Images from…

Bride and Bridesmaids: Matt Pereira

Others: Lovegrove Photography