Group shots and how to avoid the hour-long line up

Group photographs are such an important part of any wedding day. It’s these photos that people cherish and print out for the family album, it’s these photos that might not mean so much to you at the time, but will mean so much to you in years to come.

However, it’s never fun standing around having your picture taken. All you want to do is have maximum fun and fizz drinking time. So the aim of the game here is to get amazing photos, while not spending too much time on formal line ups – so you don’t feel like your reception was one big blur of photo taking.

Here are my top tips to smash out awesome group shots.

Keep the list to a minimum

I suggest having around 6-8 group shots.

This takes around 20-30 mins depending on how many people are needed for the photo.  

Example group shots:

1. Couple and immediate family 1

2. Couple & parents 1

3. Couple & immediate family 2

4. Couple & parents 2

5. Wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen)

6. Friends

Make a list of group shots with names before the wedding

This prep saves a lot of time, and also means you can think about who you want to be in photos before the wedding, which means you don’t have to worry on the day, or possibly forget someone (like I know I would!)

If you’ve booked me to shoot your wedding, I will always ask for a list of group shots and names before the wedding.

Delegate guest gatherers

Having a few nominated ‘guest gatherers’ can be really helpful when doing group shots. It means I can stay still and snap away, you can stay still and have photos, while a few family members or friends gather the right people. It takes ten times longer if you are having to go off and find someone for the photo.

Some people delegate this to the Ushers, but this only really works if they will know both sides of the family. I suggest picking one person from each side of the family that can gather up the right people (you’d be surprised at how happy some people are at being given a job!) It’s also worth giving them the group list with names before the ceremony, so they can tell people they are needed for photos before they happen.

There will always be someone who quickly sneaks to the bar for a bev, so it’s always good to give a 5 minute warning to those in the group photos so they know not to go off.

Let family members know the plan

If you’re in agreement with keeping the group shots to a minimum, I’d recommend having a chat with family to explain to them how the group shots will work before the wedding, so that there isn’t any stress on the day when mums start pulling second cousins into photos.

What if you want a lot more than 8 group shots?

If you’d like some casual posed photos of friends etc that don’t fall into the family formals, let me know and I can make sure I get some lovely relaxed photos of you with your guests. These can happen at any time and I would suggest doing them after dinner so that you break up the photo-taking, otherwise you’ll get serious jaw ache and dry mouths 🙂

 Having a winter wedding?

If you’re having a winter wedding, it’s a good idea to either have an earlier ceremony, or get some group shots done before the ceremony. I quite often do the bridesmaid and groomsmen shots before the Ceremony if your wedding is between November – February, just so we can get some lovely natural light images, and it also takes the pressure off trying to get lots of group shots photographed after the ceremony, as it gets dark earlier. Of course, the other alternative is to have night time photos – but this can take a bit longer as your photographer will have to set up off camera flash.

I hope this post comes in handy. For more helpful hints and tips check out my blog here.

If you’re looking for an informal wedding photographer, hit me up – I would love to chat!