Resource Blog - Group Photos at Weddings
Group Wedding Photos: Why They’re Important
When planning a wedding, some couples don't like the idea of having lots of group photos taken. I can emphasise. We had the same thoughts when planning our day. I’ve been to many weddings which have involved standing around waiting for pictures. With my concerns mainly being around missing out on the fizz and canapés.
Our opinion changed after meeting with our photographer. He explained why group shots are so important. And then it made sense. Looking back through our album now, I can’t imagine those photos not existing. There’s one photo in particular, with my late grandmother. She is holding onto my arm, beaming with pride. She died 7 months later. It’s a photo I’ll always treasure.
So even if you prefer modern, reporting style photography. Traditional group pictures are equally as important for documenting the event.
This blog will explain why group shots play a crucial part in the wedding album. Along with advice on how you can plan ahead, to capture these.
Everybody Lives Busy Lives
Weddings are so special. For one day in a hectic diary that is ‘life’, you are surrounded by the people you love. Family and friends all under one roof. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a snapshot of this unique occasion.
The photos are essential documents in family history. In your story. Think about the generations ahead. You may have children, grandchildren even. Imagine looking through the album with them. Remembering the guests. Who you shared your special day with. Some may no longer be with you. Precious memories.
Many family selfies ruined by half of Dad’s head missing out of the shot. Or Aunty Margaret blinking. A dodgy flash which gives your brother evil red eyes. Seize the chance to get your loved ones in a photo. Captured by a professional photographer.
The Family Portrait
Have you ever looked back at old family wedding photos? My parents’ never fails to make me laugh. My dad’s 60s long wavy locks. My uncle looks like Rodney from Only Fools and Horses, with his lanky legs and a tank top. There are people in it who I only met as a small child but have since passed. And some who I never got to meet. But they are a significant part of my parents' lives. Part of my family tree. That’s why the short amount of time needed to get your loved ones lined up on the day is so significant. You are recording your family portrait at that point of time in your life.
I understand that families come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps your parents aren’t together anymore. In that instance, consider your extended families, step relations. How that will impact the group shots. Saves the awkwardness of standing people together who don’t want to be next to each other. Will avoid any drama or ill feeling. Also saves the photographer some embarrassment!
Don’t think that you must have photos taken with every member of the family either. One large group shot for bigger families works well. Remember. It’s your day, and you will be the one looking back at them. So you have who you want in each picture.
Group shots aren’t just about family. Friends can get in on the action too.
Your guests could include University friends. Pals you only manage to see once a year because of hectic schedules and different locations. But when you see each other, it’s like being back at University again. The wedding is the perfect time to get a group photo of the reunion. Before the jaeger bombs start in the evening reception “for old times sake”. And before the photo stream of alcohol-induced selfies are underway.
Consider the classic groom with male friends shot. A photo of the bride with her friends. You can combine classic shots are these with more informal ones if you like.
Some of your guests might be good friends that you went to school with. You could have a mimic school photograph taken. Compare it with the one captured a decade or more ago. Always guaranteed a laugh.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning is key. Reduces the risk of missing someone. And will save time on the day too.
It's a good idea to make a list of the photos you'll want. A good photographer will have a checklist containing classic group shot combinations. Look at the portfolio on your photographer’s website. See the classic combinations. Add some suggestions of your own, if not already listed.
It doesn’t have to be a huge list. In fact, we’d suggest 10-12 at the most. You can capture so many people in that.
If you’d like formal family shots immediately after the ceremony. Informal photos with friends at the drinks reception. A combination of formal and informal group shots. Add these considerations into your checklist. The photographer can factor the different locations into the timings of the day.
You Can’t Beat A Good Ol’ Fashioned List
Print out the checklist and give the best man and ushers the responsibility to round everyone up. With the instructions to let people know their shot is coming up. Avoids guests delaying things because of a toilet break. Or because they’re queuing at the bar.
If there are any last minute changes, let the photographer know, e.g. a guest is no longer able to attend. The last thing you want is to waste time searching for somebody on a list who’s not even there.
I’ve put together a basic list as a starting point. Every family dynamic is different so feel free to chop and change as you wish. This is often the way I like to shoot the group photos. The initial set of photos are quick, then it’s a case of swapping people around as they are often always close by.
The bride and mother
The bride and father
The bride and her parents
The bride, parents and any siblings
The bride, groom and her parents
The groom and mother
The groom and father
The groom and his parents
The groom, parents and any siblings
The bride, groom and his parents
The bride, groom and both sets of parents
The above set covers the immediate family options and completed in very little time.
The bride, bridesmaids and flower girls
The bride, groom, groomsmen and page boys
The groom and groomsmen
The bride, groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys
The bride, groom and the bride's grandparents
The bride, groom and the groom's grandparents
The bride, groom and entire wedding party
Think about group photos such as friends, works colleagues, close family friends. Don’t worry if all the pictures aren't completed within the time allowed between the ceremony and reception. There is always time to take more photos after the wedding breakfast.
Research and Create
A good photographer will have researched the venue before your big day. They'll have some ideas for different backdrop options. It's important that you talk these ideas through with them, before the day.
Remember. The more fun photos are, the more relaxed people will be about having their picture taken. You can create some magical images that way. Which will make you smile when you look back in years to come.
Group photos don't have to be classic lineups only. As important as those photos are, you can also get creative. There are some cool bridal party photos out there. Think about your personalities and how you could get those across through a group photo. Props ideas. Whether you want some funny shots taken. Or something unusual. Do some research on the web. Better still, look at the photographer’s website for inspiration.
To Group Photo or Not To Group Photo: A Summary
Hopefully, you are now seriously considering group photos. In the grand scheme of the whole day, there will be only a short amount of time spent on these photos. If planned well, of course.
Your wedding marks a new chapter in your life. You'll make some amazing memories on the day. With the people you love. Capture these moments. Document who was there.
Let your wedding album tell your story to the generations ahead. Family lineups and all.