Fun and relaxed wedding group photos – some tips and tricks!

I’m super proud of my ninja photography skills. I love that I get to spend most of your wedding day sneaking around, unobtrusively capturing you and your guests having the best time. I also adore spending time with the two of you getting those fun yet ever so slightly romantic portraits. However, there’s another type of photographs called for on a wedding day. The group shots. Words that strike fear into many a photographer’s heart! Couples always tell me about the ‘bossy, angry’ photographer who yelled at them for hours on end as they tried to sort out the family and friend photos. That is not me! I promise I won’t ever shout at you on your wedding day!

Let’s face it, whilst group shots are always important to have and lovely to look back on they aren’t the reason you’ve booked me (a less traditional photographer) to capture your day. I don’t want to keep you away from the party for too long and you definitely don’t want to be stood in one spot for hours on end so I keep this part of the day short and sweet.

With that in mind I’ve put together some top tips for getting some fun and relaxed wedding group photos, whilst still giving you plenty of time to enjoy your day with everyone you love.

groomsmen posing for relaxed group photographs

Plan, plan, plan!

Making the most of your wedding group photos starts ahead of your day. Around 4- 6 weeks before your wedding I’ll send you over my wedding questionnaire. As well as all the info for the day (timings, addresses etc) this is the point where you can have a think about your group photos. This saves us so much time on the day as I’ll have a nice, handy list which helps me to plan the photos and round people up.

 

Keep it to the main players!

I always recommend no more than six group photographs on the day. That way you make sure you have photos with key members of your family and friends without standing still for hours on end (missing out on those canapes, yum!) On the form I’ve got a few examples of key groups and also leave space for your own combinations. The majority of couples find that six family and friend photos is the perfect number but of course if you need a few more then that’s no problem at all!

bride's friends hide in the bushes for group photos

Time

Another reason for keeping your group shot list short and sweet is time! You’ll find that the hours will speed by on your wedding day and before you know it you’ll be on the dancefloor. Each group shot relies on the people you need in them being around. We all know with the best will in the world people are a law unto themselves sometimes! They’ll wander off to the bar, to find their seat, get caught up in chatting to their second cousin who they’ve not seen for years…basically they’ll be anywhere except where you need them to be! I always say that if we allow 5 minutes per group then you’ll spend 30 minutes max getting your family photos taken. Which isn’t bad at all!

 

A helping hand

Another way to get these photos done as quickly and painlessly as possible is to recruit some willing helpers. Nominate a few people to round up those you need. It helps if you pick people who know who they’re looking for! Sounds obvious but I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen a poor bridesmaid wandering around shouting for “Uncle Pete” and has no idea what he looks like or whose uncle he is! This is always a good job for bridesmaids and ushers so get them roped in!

bridesmaids in duck egg coloured dresses holding flowers

Priorities!

Once I’ve received your list of must have group photos I sit down and put a bit of a plan together. If you’ve chosen to have a photo of everyone gathered together then I always start with that one. That way all your guests are together and I can ask people to stay behind for photos whilst everyone else heads off to the bar!

I prioritise any photographs that include older guests. That way they aren’t stood around for too long and can go and get a seat once they’re done. I’ll then work through the photos in size order, from most people to least.

 

Location Location Location!

I always choose somewhere nice and close to your reception for the group photos. It means your grandparents can go and sit down as soon as they’re done, your friends will always be close to the bar and it’s another great way of saving time.

 

Enjoy it!

Last but certainly not least, enjoy yourselves! It’s your wedding day and you’ve just got married! Whilst standing for these photos can feel like a bit of a chore I promise it’ll be worth it (and you’ll be making your mum very happy!) I’ll always get you guys to all interact with each other as I’m taking the photos, that way you’re nice and relaxed and no one is glaring down the camera at me because they just hate having their photo taken! Plus you all laughing and joking together makes for far better photos!

large group photo with all friends and family
Wedding portraits at the Sun Pavilion in Harrogate
Couples portraits at Curradine Barn wedding venue

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