I am primarily a documentary wedding photographer, but I do also some of the traditional elements of wedding photography. One of the main things being the traditional group shots. I think it is such an important part of the day as you will want to have photos with your family for the future so that these photos can be passed on through the family.
When I talk to my couples about the group shots, I always suggest 8-10 group shots. I keep it at a limit, as group shots can take a good chunk out of your day if you do too many. It can take up to 5 minutes to do each group shot, by the time that everyone is found and organised for the shot. I’ve had a few of my couples say to me that they didn’t quite believe me when I told them this, but when it came to their group shots and it did take a while to do each shot, they ended up wishing they had chosen to do less or cut the list down there and then.
The list of group shots I tend to suggest are:
~ couple with A’s parents
~ couple with A’s grandparents
~ couple with A’s immediate family
~ couple with B’s parents
~ couple with B’s grandparents
~ couple with B’s immediate family
~ couple with bridesmaids
~ couple with groomsmen
~ couple with bridal party
These can be changed to suit you, as everyone’s situation is different but it is a little guideline to give you an idea.
You may want to have a big group shot of everyone. Couples tend to choose to do one of these to save them having lots of little group shots with different people. These are great to do and best to do straight after the ceremony so that everyone should be present and not wandered off somewhere, but there are certain things to be mindful of if you do wish to have one.
~ Is there a vantage point (somewhere high) for me to take the photo from? E.g. a window or balcony that I can stand at
~ Is there a good location to fit everyone in?
I then tend to do the confetti shot straight after the big group shot so that everyone that has confetti or if confetti is handed out can then be a part of it. Either we will do an aisle for you to walk down between two lines of your guests, or have everyone stand around you in an arch to then shower you with confetti. Bright colourful confetti works best for photos to be able to stand out. There are things such as confetti cannons which make for great photos as well.
Depending on timings and the location, I like to do something a little different with the bridal party compared to the family group shots just to add an element of fun. Obviously this is something we will discuss to see if you are up for it.
I love getting the girls to interact with one another, to get them close together and have a giggle. Camilla and her bridesmaids look gorgeous as they laugh together, and Stasia and her bridesmaids just look stunning beaming with happiness. I love to get these kind of shots.
I love this groomsmen group shot. This is something we did in the evening and I incorporated off camera flash to this shot whilst they were smoking cigars in celebration of the wedding. Going for something a little bit more creative can give you eye catching edgy photos, and I love that this looks like something from a film poster.
Becki and Gareth are a little bit geeky and so they wanted to do “power stance” group shots with their bridal party which suited their personalities.
So the main things to know about group shots is to keep the formal ones short and sweet, and not to be afraid to have a little fun with them as well. Discuss these with your photographer so you can come up with some ideas together and work out the best way to do the group shots.
Next week we will be looking at the portraits of the two of you that will be taken on your wedding day.