Wedding Photography Tips: 9 Tips & Tricks For Group Shots

Though you may have gotten to know your photographer and vice versa, it is not likely that your photographer knows your family much or at all. The larger the wedding, the more difficult this becomes for your photographer when it comes to group shots. I always try to get to know the parents of the bride and groom, but memorizing many more names than that can get hairy.

Tip #1 – Set up a timeline for photography before and after the wedding. The more shots you can complete before the wedding (Bride & Brides Maids, Groom & Grooms Men, Bride & Parents, Groom & Parents, Siblings, etc.), the more time you will have between the ceremony and reception for the larger group shots. With a shorter shot list at this point, there will be more time to photograph the most important couple.

Tip #2 – Make a list of group shots you want, who will be in these shots, and where to meet. Take this list to the rehearsal dinner and share it with everyone along with your timeline for the wedding day in general – this should help you stay on track. Appoint someone (a sister or brother or other close family member) to make sure the people needed to complete these group shots are present for pictures. It’s disappointing when you find out that Grandma already left for the reception. This list should also ensure that no one is forgotten in the rush of things.

Tip #3 – Group shots can take a lot longer than you think. The larger the bridal party, the more time it will take. Most of this time is eaten up by trying to round up everyone that needs to be in each shot (refer to Tip #2). Allow for AT LEAST 30 minutes of photography after the ceremony, if not an hour or more.

Tip #4 – There are two age groups to get out of the way first – the kids (Flower Girl and Ring Bearer) and the seniors. The kids have already endured a long boring ceremony that they don’t understand – they’re getting antsy, grumpy, and a happy mood can suddenly turn into tears and tantrums. Seniors (grandparents, for example) may not be comfortable, especially in heat.

Tip #5 – Whittle your way through everyone, largest groups first, until just the Bride and Groom are left. These are the most important photographs and a photographer can get really artsy and fun with these. You should always make time for these shots because TODAY is the day you got all fancied up and married the love of your life. The shots of the Bride and Groom are ones you will treasure forever.

Tip #6 – Group shots are often serious, but it doesn’t hurt to throw some fun in the mix. I usually do simple things like ‘throw your arms in the air and scream!’ or those classic jumping shots. They always result in sparkling smiles (if not in the adults, the kids will at least have some fun). If you have ideas, discuss them with your photographer – there are tons of examples online!

Tip #7 – Consider an additional location (a local park, beach, playground, etc.) for a different backdrop and larger selection. Some photographers charge extra for additional locations, so check first.

Tip #8 – Have the florist bring the flowers early and plan to keep the limo a bit late if it fits the budget. You'll surely have more time to relax when you don't have the rush.

Tip #9 – Weddings are huge events to plan. As much as you have put into the timeline, the planning, and everything else, weddings run overtime, people are late, and rude service providers will tap their watches. I do suggest planning in an extra half hour here and there just in case, but it’s likely something will run overtime, so just relax! Expect it, and it will be no big deal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2 responses to Wedding Photography Tips: 9 Tips & Tricks For Group Shots

  1. Greg Ceo says:

    So are you shooting a lot of weddings these days Kelly? There are good comments. Did you write these?

    Glad you are doing well.



  2. Kelly Heck says:

    Not a too many this season (8 or so events & weddings), but I'm pushing for more events in general next year.

    Yes, I did write these. I kept thinking I have so many ideas I would like to share with my own clients and I'm always getting questions... so I figured it would be helpful if people start running across it and it may help out my SEO.

    Thanks for checking up!