For a photographer groups really can be like herding cats, Uncle Bob is in the bar, Auntie Beryl has popped up to her room and your cousin has just popped back to the car for a jacket. So then someone goes to find them, the person they’re looking for comes back and you send a third person off.
So here are my top tips for the group photos.
As few as possible.
Yes, it’s obvious but it’s easy to get carried away when planning and suddenly you’ve got a list of 30 group shots. If you consider it might take 2 or 3 minutes per shot suddenly you can be spending an hour and a half on these photos. Try and keep the number of groups below 10 but if you really would like to have more consider splitting them into formal groups (taken between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast) and some more relaxed informal groups (taken in the natural gap before the events of the evening start).
Whittle them down.
I always start with the largest group, often this will be everyone and then reduce the numbers down. So the running order might be.
- Wedding Party
This means people are continually freed up rather than waiting for more shots.
Have a gap.
When possible have a gap between the ceremony and the groups. Guests will want to say hello and congratulate you so it’s best to let that process happen by allowing time for the hellos, welcome drinks and canapés. If you’re having a church ceremony consider doing some of the groups there, you’ve got a captive audience.
Make allowances for small children.
For some reason very young children have an aversion to group photos and the more parents try to cajole, insist, and outright bribe them the more resistant they become. My advice is to let them go because usually one of two things happen, either you end up with a photo of a very unhappy sobbing child, or a photo of the parents are looking at the child to check he/she is looking at the camera.
There’s always an opportunity to get a lovely informal shot with the younger children later in the day either as a group or individually.