Most people that know me or book me for their wedding know I am not a huge fan of the dreaded group shots, in fact it is one of the first things I say to couples who I meet at wedding fairs. I am a documentary and reportage wedding photographer and when I am shooting group shots this takes me away from what I am good at doing which is documenting your day in my natural and creative style. Fortunately most people that book me do so for that very reason.
Almost everyone who has booked me for their wedding has a tale to tell about a wedding they went to and all the guests had to hang around for hours while the photographer took endless group shots. It’s not fun for the bride and groom and its not fun for the guests and the majority of the group shots will not even see the light of day.
However, on saying this I also realise that for most people weddings are the only time the entire family gets together and I also know that mum and dad or your nan will want a nice family photo for the mantle piece, so it is important that I get a balance between producing an amazing story of your day, creating some incredible fine art portraits of you both and ensuring your nan and granddad have a lovely photo, so here are some of my tips to ensure we get everything we need on the big day.
- Send me over a list of the “must have” group shots you would like on the day, try and keep to no more than 5-6 as this can still take up to 30 mins or so depending on how cooperative your guests are. Do not assume I have a set list of family shots, I do not know if your mum and dad are still together or if you like your step mum, I do not know if your aunty is hugely important in your life or not.
- Give me enough time, I normally like to get these in the bag fairly sharpish after the ceremony, so before your brother has really started drinking or your nan has gone to the loo. There is normally time after the ceremony and before you sit down for dinner for this, I like to do the everybody shot first and after this we can run through the “must haves.”
- Its good to have some helpers on hand, best man and ushers are great for this as they will know most of your family members and also let people know in advance if they will be needed for any group shots and also roughly what time these will happen.
There, not so painful really, and even with my group shots I like to get a bit of life and energy into them, here are a few of my favourites.