Wedding Group shots – some handy hints

Grooms party at the Granary

Are you dreading the wedding group shots on your big day? For many people it’s the worst part of the day, herding a bunch of unwilling guests into a line up for the photographer.

Wedding group shot
The grooms party at the end of the wedding! This one took a long time to set up, for obvious reasons I think!
  1. You need a shot list. Ideally get this to your wedding photographer as soon as you can. If you don’t provide a list of wedding group shots you want taken on the day, you cannot blame the photographer if they don’t get that shot you want! There are tons of websites with example lists out there, here is one I found… . This is really just a guideline to give you some ideas. I wouldn’t expect your photographer to get each and every one of these. You are hiring your photographer for their creative vision, not to look through a huge list all day.
  2. Think carefully about how much time the group shots will take and where they will fit into your timeline. Even a small group shot can take 5-10 minutes to do so if you have over 10 listed that could be over an hour of your day spent on formal shots! I remember one wedding I covered where they had 15 group shots on their list and half an hour to do them! Their whole day was packed full of events that in the end made it quite stressful for them and the group shots were rushed as a result.
An informal group shot with the kids

3. Check out good spots for the formals when you view your wedding venue. Of course this may not be very important to you if you don’t plan on having many formals, but it’s worth considering when you look round. If the best they can offer is a car park, then you might wish to look elsewhere.

Coco and her bridesmaids. This was shot indoors as the weather was awful.

4.Don’t bank on the weather. We in the UK know that the next rain shower is always imminent, so ask at the venue what the options are for the group shots if its raining. By raining I don’t mean a light shower either, I mean biblical levels of rain ( assume the worst for the weather and then be pleasantly surprised on the day !).

Steps always work well as it’s easy to even out the heights. The Bride and Groom off-centre makes this image less formal, which they loved.

Timing is key

5.Avoid doing the majority of the wedding formals right after the ceremony. Your guests will want to mingle, have a drink, and generally relax. They will be much more willing to stand around in a formal shot looking happy to be there if you do the formals a bit later. Of course you may want to get the Church in as a background, in which case you can do a few key formals after the ceremony and then the majority later on at the reception.

Wedding group photo
I took these formals as people made their way into the reception, as there wasn’t room for one big shot.

Wait for the light!

Another reason to leave the formals until slightly later in the day is the light. 1-3pm is not a great time to shoot formals, at least in the UK, unless there is some shade available. The sun is high in the sky and the light is very unflattering. Leave it a bit later if you can and the light becomes beautiful, and yours guests will also look more beautiful! However, your wedding photographer should have the skills and gear to get good group shots whatever the circumstances.

With the right planning…

Group shots, or formals as some call them, don’t have to be painful experiences. Talk to your wedding photographer about them consult with the venue, and have a backup plan for bad weather ( umbrella shots can look great!). If you would like to book me for your wedding, or just get some advice on any aspect of your wedding from a photographers view, contact me here: I hope you found the article useful!

leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.