4 Tips to get the Best Group Photos at Your Wedding!
To me, wedding photography about story telling by capturing details from the wedding, as well as candid moments. However, my favorite part of the day to photograph happens to have nothing to do with storytelling, but everything to do with relationships: the family and group photos!
I enjoy the group photographs, whether you just have 3 groupings to photograph, or 20 groupings to photograph (which, by the way, is well above average). I just ask that we plan ahead, and give it the time it deserves!
My Top Four Tips
1. Time. For every grouping you request (whether it’s just groom steps in, groom steps out), I allocate 3 minutes. On average, a group photo takes less than 3 minutes to put together, but buffer time for group photos is definitely helpful. For example, I like to have buffer time for when people wander off, people need to be wrangled, chairs needs to be brought in, the list goes on!
2. Planning. A list beforehand, with names, is a must have for me. To know how much time to allocate, we need to know how many groups we have. Having the list beforehand also allows you to double check if all the groupings are covered. Then, the day of your wedding, you don’t need to coordinate or stress over groupings, but instead trust me to complete your list. Also, it helps me quickly figure out if people are missing from a photo.
3. A go-getter. If the list is large, it helps to have one or two people who are familiar with mostly everyone on the list to help identify and locate folks.
4. No extra cameras. Sadly, if it’s a tight schedule, having multiple cameras is one of the largest time delays. There’s the trouble with people looking all different directions, there’s the pause for each camera’s turn. It’s simply not ideal. But, that’s why you’ve hired me, to take those photos for you!
Some extra tips for planning group photos:
5. I don’t recommend having a “one in one out” grouping. By default, I suggest having both of you in the photo, you’re all family now! Alternatively, groupings like a siblings photo, yes, that makes sense to have just the one of you.
6. Contact those in photos before the wedding, so they know that their presence is expected. E-mail them within a week of the wedding to remind them what time, and where to meet for photos. It’s always exciting to get invited into the group photos.
So there you have it! Four things you need to get good group photos: time, planning, a go getter, and just me! In the end, while I may be happy to take group photographs, think about what you want from your wedding day. In the case of a lot of group photos, it’s time away from celebrating, a long period of smiling, but also nice professional photographs with your family and friends to enjoy years later.
Amy and Ben’s wedding at the Rogue Farms Hopyard included extra time to get plenty of family photos, as well as have time for some fun group shots.
This post is inspired by Lauren and Kevin’s San Francisco Log Cabin Wedding, where Lauren and Kevin were very focused on their friends and family, and wanted a lot of group photos. They had done all six of those tips! We allocated extra time, kept people moving along, and NAILED it with time to spare. I call that a great success!
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Mai Duong is a Portland wedding photographer, also based in the San Francisco, Northern California area. She is available for weddings in the United States and Europe. MaiCamera Photography focuses on photographic storytelling by capturing natural moments. For booking inquires or more information about wedding photography in the Portland area and beyond, please contact Mai.