Speaking bluntly, group shots are the bane of most wedding photographers lives. But they don’t have to be.
If you’ve taken a look around my site, you’ve probably noticed that I mostly specialise in reportage photography.
Essentially, that means I mostly document, I don’t dictate. I’m not one to spend hours getting group shot after group shot – I simply take photos of the day as it happens.
That’s not to say I will not photograph any group shots, far from it. And If I am required to take a few group shots, I like to ensure that couples are aware of what is involved and how long it can take.
Firstly, it needs to be limited. Any more than 8-10 group photos and you are looking at around 45 minutes (if not more), to get those shots. Quite often, someone has disappeared for a cheeky pint and/or toilet break. Naturally, this holds up the proceedings quite a bit.
Secondly, you will need to plan things ahead. How long do you have until your wedding breakfast is served? If your ceremony is at 4:00pm and the food will be ready by 5:00pm, you’re not going to have a lot of time to dedicate to this. Perhaps consider splitting the group shots into two lists, with immediate family before the meal and friends afterwards.
The advantage of having group shots with your friends later on in the day, means you all feel a bit more relaxed and liberated (a number of you will probably be “merry” by this point).
This also helps with mixing things up a little bit. Needless to say, 100s of group photos of people standing together and smiling at the camera can get a bit tiresome, for everyone. So perhaps throw some confetti, pull a face or do something silly.
Thirdly, and I feel that this is the most important, don’t forget to set aside some time for yourselves.
The amount of times I have taken group shots and then asked the couple if they’d like a few portraits of themselves, only to be told “oh, we totally forgot about that!”, is quite amazing.
It’s YOUR day, so don’t forget that. You’ve never looked so great and so happy, so make sure you get a shot or two that captures that.
So here is a shot from what I think was possibly the third wedding I photographed. It was certainly one of the earlier ones.
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