We’ve all seen them: stiff, posed group wedding photos with everyone standing closely together, strained smiles on their faces. As awkward and uncomfortable as wedding group photos can be, most couples opt to have them taken. After all, they’re an opportunity to capture everyone who came out for their special day.
Group wedding photos can be fantastic, even when you’re going for a natural photography approach. You simply need to work with a wedding photographer who knows what they’re doing and can keep everyone at ease.
Upon being asked about the type of wedding photos they want, most couples will describe candid shots. They want pictures of themselves and their guests laughing and joking around, sharing intimate moments, and dancing the night away. There’s no doubt that this type of photo will capture the essence of the event. That said, candid shots alone won’t ensure that you get a picture with everyone important to you.
Making time for photos with your bridesmaids, wedding party, and even old university friends will ensure that you have shots with those who have come to celebrate with you. When they’re done, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your wedding photographer has photos of you with all of your guests. Then, it’s easy to move on to the candid moments that you want to capture so much.
Wedding photographers are more than happy to capture shots of you and your entire wedding party. That said, the process can be unnecessarily long and stressful when it isn’t approached the right way. Minimise the stress for yourself, your guests, and your wedding photographer by taking these four tips into consideration:
1 - Plan the groupings ahead of time
There’s nothing more confusing than trying to organise photo groupings on the spot after the wedding ceremony. Make sure that you plan the groupings ahead of time. There are three basic categories that you can use to group your guests:
CATEGORY 1: Your immediate family (and possibly extended family)
CATEGORY 2: Your wedding party
CATEGORY 3: Your friends and other attendees
Although these are the basic categories, there are many different group combinations you can have. Remember—the more groupings you have, the longer the formal photos will take. Aim to keep the entire session down to half an hour.
2 - Stop stressing about the backdrop
Formal group photos are intended to capture people and not necessarily places. Don’t stress too much over the backdrop. Your photographer will scout for the best group photo location ahead of time. They will prioritise accessibility, space, and lighting, since balancing the view and a large group of subjects in the same photo is near impossible. A simple backdrop that ensures everyone can be seen will be best.
3 - Assign someone to coordinate
It’s easy for group wedding photos to become chaotic when there isn’t anyone to coordinate. Assign someone to shepherd the right people in front of the camera when it’s their turn. It’s best to have someone helping from each side of the family as they will be able to locate the right people at the right time.
Aside from getting each group ready for their shot, have your coordinators manage the timing as well. This way, there won’t be too much slack time between each group.
4 - Keep it simple
The most important thing to remember when it comes to formal group wedding shots is that simplicity is key. You don’t need fifty shots of each group. Relax and smile! If there are any specific poses you want to try, inform everyone ahead of time to minimise the chaos. Remember—the longer your guests stand in front of the camera, the more forced their smiles will become. A few simple shots will suffice.
The four above tips will minimise the stress of group wedding shots and keep the session short and simple. Your photographer will be there to help you through the entire process. For the best results, let them do their job. Professional wedding photographers are trained to capture wedding shots as effectively as possible. They can prompt your guests to relax and smile. This way, the formal shots won’t look too forced and awkward, but rather intimate and supportive. Make sure that you discuss what you want in your wedding photos with your photographer ahead of time so that they can deliver on your desires.
Get Beautiful Group Wedding Photos
Lee Hawley is a photographer who specialises in natural wedding photography and loves capturing raw moments as they occur. Even group shots can be captured in a natural way when you work with an experienced wedding photographer like Lee. Why not get in touch with him today to book a session or discuss your needs?