I first wrote this blog post a few years ago, but after a lot more weddings I've realised my approach has changed and it's time for an update!
For your guests (and you) it’s probably the most boring part of the day. Lots of hanging around waiting to hear their name and smiling for the camera when really, your guests just want to get to the drinks!
It can also take FOREVER depending on how many group shots are arranged and how many people are in each; on average 5 – 10 minutes for each photo by the time you’ve tracked down Uncle David who’s just wandered off to get a drink and Gran who’s popped to the bathroom.
For this reason I would always say plan these and limit it to 5 where you can, 10 at the most. It’s also a good idea to ask one of your wedding party to help the wedding photographer get everyone together as they’re more likely to know faces than the wedding photographer is. Whilst your wedding photographer is taking the photo, your Usher can be ushering the next group into the same place so they’re easy to find when they’re needed - hence their title ;-).
It’s quite often that couples ask me for help when they start the group shot list, so I thought you’d appreciate my top 10 group shots I’m most often asked to do:
Bride, Groom and Bride's Parents
Bride, Groom and Groom's Parents
Bride, Groom and Grandparents
Bride, Groom and Friends
Bride and Bridesmaids
Groom and Groomsmen
Bride, Groom and Bride's Family
Bride, Groom and Groom's Family
Bride, Groom and Children
Of course, there may be a couple more that you would like, but don’t forget some of the above can be covered early on during the bridal preparation, such as the Bride and Bridesmaids photo and Bride and Dad. The same can be said for the Groom preparations if your wedding photographer is covering them, or you have a second wedding photographer. Chances are, family are a big part of your lives so they’re the photos you’ll want to focus on in the groups. Granny will love a photo of you on her wall and you’ll want to frame the photo of you and your parents.
On the day I like it when groups interact with each other, don't always look at me! A natural laugh amongst each other is so much nicer than a forced smile to the photographer. Sometimes I'll ask everyone to look at the person who got the most drunk on the hen/stag do, sometimes I'll tell everyone to shout "boobies" on three (trust me, it always gets a laugh).
Probably the thing people struggle with the most when they're having their photo taken is how to stand and where to face. Tip; don't face me head on! As a rough idea turning in towards the centre of the group is really flattering and a great way of being able to interact with each other. Another way is to stand face on to me, but put your arms around the people either side of you (gents make sure you unbutton those jackets to avoid the stretched look).
Hope this has helped with group shots but if you’re not sure, have a chat with your wedding photographer and they’ll help you out.