As a professional wedding photographer and having shot over 400 weddings so far, I would like to share with Brides and Grooms some of my thoughts which I hope will contribute to making your special wedding day “special”. I will periodically be blogging posts relating to the planning of your wedding day and this particular post relates to the subject of Group Photographs.
Every wedding is the same and yet, every wedding is different. I fully recognise that group photographs are often a necessity for many. Let’s face it, how many times these days are the family all together and this is such a special event that this is the perfect opportunity to get that family photograph taken. However, what is often overlooked is the time taken to shoot such without a detailed plan, which is one of the most important things to discuss with your wedding photographer before your big day. When I discuss the subject with couples we need to establish just how much time we have from the end of the ceremony to the start of the wedding breakfast or receiving line.
Quite often the time we have for the next stage in your wedding photography coverage has possibly already been planned, you may need to think again! It seems that in general we only have 1.5 hours after the ceremony until the start of the receiving line or wedding breakfast and in this time there is a lot of photography to be done. This may sound like a lot of time but we need to consider what you want to achieve in that time. What are your priorities in terms of wedding photography?
But first, for this blog let’s get back to the groups, I advise my couples that on average work on 3 to 5 minutes per group. Times this by the ideal number of groups, 6 to 8 and already we have taken 20 to 30 minutes. Allow for more groups, your Uni chums or the rugby team and not forgetting that group shot of everyone, which can take 10 minutes itself, and you can see just how long this can take. Factor in that Uncle Bert has a habit of just disappearing, no one can find him and that’s another 5 minuets lost! All these minutes do add up and we do only have a limited amount of time without impacting on the “must have” photographs!
We want the day to be relaxed and go smoothly as possible and in my opinion, this is an area which can cause some angst if not properly organised. So here are Brooksie’s “top tips” for Group Wedding Photography.
So, in an ideal world, keep the number of groups to a max of 8 groups. Try to keep the groups to a reasonable size, let’s say not more than 10 > 12 people in each!
Nominate a couple of Ushers or the Best Man and Bridesmaid to organise the groups so as one is being shot they are rounding up the next group. This really does helps to keep the flow and running smoothly and the stress … and that is not me! I don’t do stress!!!
Decide and discuss with your photographer how you would like your group photographs taken. Formally or informally?
By formally I mean by more the traditional group photograph which is more structured and takes more time to set up, checking the little details etc.
Informal, casual, stranding or sitting. The latter can be dictated by the area chosen to shoot them but getting an idea what you are looking for is important.
Also consider, do you want your guests to have drinks in their hands or not?
Consider the importance of each group. In my experience only a limited selection of group photographs actually make it into the album. In today’s digital world with everyone armed with a smartphone, digital point and shoot or Uncle Bob with his digital SLR there will always be someone around to capture the real informal group shots!
I hope this helps. If you want any advice, please call, email or text! Only too happy to help and advise!
Until the next blog . . .