Weddings are an amazing time to bring together the people you love from distant parts of the country (and the world!)
Weddings days are sometimes the first time that some family members have been in the same room for years, or even at all!
So group photos are an excellent way to capture everyone together (and when they’re dressed in their finest!)
But because group shots require some planning it’s really useful to prepare a list of shots beforehand.
It’s helpful if the list has the names of the individual people, as well as the name of the group.
So instead of just “Bride’s Cousins” it has “Bride’s Cousins: Zoe, Mike and Sarah”
This prevents any confusion on the day and helps everything breeze along.
Another useful tip is to brief one or more members of the wedding party that they will need to gather together the required guests for each photo.
The photographer will be talking to the guests in the current picture, making sure that everyone is posed nicely and looking great, so they won’t be able to leave that location to find the next set of people.
Members of the wedding party will be more likely to know the people involved in the next shot and they will be better placed to put names to faces (and cajole people to put their drinks down!)
We normally bring several paper copies of the agreed photo list (plus pens to tick off shots) which we can give out to any bridal party helpers. (This can be useful if they’re a bit merry themselves.)
If you can also announce to your guests that the group shots are taking place then it can help to keep everyone in the same place.
You can ask the registrar, the venue coordinator, the minister, or anyone else that would be appropriate, to make the announcement at the time that you need it.
(Some people take the opportunity of a quiet moment after the ceremony to go for a lie down in their hotel room, or to bring their bags in, if it’s a venue where they’re staying over.)
If you can let people know that the photos are happening imminently then it can be a big help.
If you can pick a time when people are likely to be milling around nearby that can also help to make sure that no one has strayed too far.
Immediately after the ceremony or wedding breakfast can be ideal, as everyone is naturally together at those times.
If you are providing drinks in a nearby garden, or people are relaxing in a bar area, then it helps if the photos are in the same area or just round the corner, rather than on the other side of the venue.
If you have a location in mind please let your photographer know.
If you’re meeting your photographer at the venue beforehand you can have a wander about and discuss some ideas. You can decide on some options that are outside, for good weather, as well as some indoors.
They can also give you ideas for locations, or they can pick somewhere if you’re happy to leave it to them.
On a sunny day, the best locations are normally where the sun is behind the guests, or where they are in the shade of a building or trees.
That can help to prevent everyone getting too hot or squinting into the sun, plus the soft light in shady areas is very flattering to your guests.
If you know the time that you would like to take the shots then your photographer can check where the sun will be on the day, and suggest some ideas.
Don’t worry if the weather means that your group photos need to be indoors.
On a cold or rainy day you can still produce beautiful results inside using the natural features of the venue.
With subtle lighting from your photographer, they should still be able to produce some amazing shots.
(It’s obviously still your guests who are the focus and they’ll still look great.)
For larger shots you can use steps and natural slopes to arrange your groups into tiers. You can also have the photographer up high.
(We’ve taken group shots where we’re stood on fire exits, balancing on walls or leaning out of upstairs windows.)
It can be helpful to get the large shots out of the way first. It’s always easier to remove people than to add them.
Sometimes a key family member can go missing before their photo. They can be feeling a bit unwell or tired.
If that’s the case don’t worry. Just tell your photographer and they can take the shot later in the day.
We have taken lots of adhoc photos later on when people have all got together again.