Group shots done the right way are a brilliant way of making your guests feel included in your day (and a great way to prove who was at your wedding when one of your guests becomes famous!). Group shots done wrong are a terrifying prospect – pushing the timings of your day off track, causing tension, and dragging on for far longer than they need to.
Here’s a simple three step guide for stress free formals, so that you have more time to celebrate your nuptials and enjoy the day that you’ve created.
1. Allow enough time for each group shot
This seems so simple, but without a doubt, not allowing enough time for group formals is one of the most recurring mistakes that people make when planning their day. Prioritise which shots you would really like, e.g. immediate family and bridal party and think realistically about how long they will take.
For a group of six people or fewer, allow around three minutes for posing, rearranging and finding family members (more on this later!). Allow four to five minutes for larger groups. It is also a good idea to allow another five minutes overall for all of the unexpected things that can happen, which would otherwise put the timings of your day off course. This overestimates how long to allow, but this way round the worst that can happen is that you have extra time to mingle with your guests.
Standard shots of extended family, immediate family, parents, ushers and bridesmaids can take anything up to 40 minutes. When you then start adding in groups like ‘university friends’ and ‘work colleagues’ you are choosing to spend a huge proportion of your day stood in a line smiling for the camera. If this is what you want to do, then great! Allow enough time and let your photographer make the magic happen. If not, just include family and bridal party shots and grab your photographer as you chat to other groups of people during the day for a quick photo together.
Really do take time to think about how you want to enjoy your day and be realistic with your timings.
2. List your shots in a logical order
If the bride’s brother is in shot 1 and then shot 4, he will most like wander off between and have to be rounded up again. Try to work your list so that people are in chronological photos. Here’s my suggested shot list.
Bride’s extended family
Bride’s immediate family
Groom’s extended family
Groom’s immediate family
Bridesmaids and ushers
Here, we gather a large group of people first and then keep getting smaller. We have all the key people to begin with and there is no chance for them to wander off! Being logical can really help to speed things up on the day.
3. Let the ushers usher!
Your photographer can shout for your family members to join the photo until they are blue in the face, but if certain members aren’t around to hear it they won’t know that they are needed. Getting the ushers on the case is so helpful because they are much more likely to know who people are and can scout around to look for them while the photographer is arranging the people already present.
And of course, make sure you keep it fun!
So there you have it. Three easy steps to make group shots run smoothly. Why not share this with any brides-to-be in your life? It could make all the difference to their wedding day. And for a more in depth guide to helping group shots run smoothly, look out for my upcoming ebook ‘The Blissful Bride Guide’!
Click here to find out more about Ever Thine wedding photography, or use the contact button at the top right of our menu to submit an enquiry.
All images by Ever Thine Wedding Photography, East Yorkshire wedding photographer.