Five tips for effortless wedding group photographs

16 Mar 2019

Making the most of your wedding group photographs

When it comes to weddings, all of our Blue Sky couples love reportage photographs. You know – the kind of informal, candid wedding photographs where no one knows you’re taking them. The ones where you capture someone just as they are.

We love those kind of photographs. They show character, personality and often the real person.

However, we also know that group photographs of family and friends have a massive place on a wedding day. In fact if we’re honest these are the photographs that will be shared with generations (and are often the ones ordered by parents and relatives for the mantlepiece).

Our job as professional wedding photographers is to make the whole process of getting these group shots as slick and as much fun as possible.

Read on for our 5 top tips for effortless wedding group photographs.

Alie x

1. Plan a group shot list in advance of 10-12 must have family shots

The better organised you are the easier your family and  friends group photographs will be. It will also give comfort to your parents to know you’ve thought about it in advance and aren’t making things up on the hoof!

Here at Blue Sky, we always work with our wedding clients to create the list that’s right for them. You can use our suggested shot list which we’re always happy to share as a kick starter with the planning.

Wherever possible, aim for 10-12 group photographs. That’s the golden number. If you allow 2 minutes per group shot and for a list of 12 that will take you around 25 minutes.

You’ll gain back time on some groups while the larger groups may take a little longer (especially if you’re playing hunt the Auntie!) but this rule of thumb gives an idea of how long a list could take.

Working at this pace give us time to gather the guests, arrange the groups and have plenty of banter along the way!

2. Plan photo locations for wet weather and plan for dry weather

Whether you’re getting married in summer or winter we’d always suggest planning a space for your group photographs inside and out. As time honoured wedding photographers we’ve always got a plan A and a plan B so nothing phases us.

The last thing you want on your wedding day is a last minute panic when it’s pouring and there’s no set aside space inside for your family photographs.

Our kit bag has top of the line professional lights by Profoto so we can light the group photographs whatever the conditions (and regardless of  if we’re inside or outside).

Living and working in Scotland we think it’s pretty essential to carry studio lighting kit to ensure we get the cracking results you and your family deserve. It’s almost as important to us as our camera.


3. Be visible!

Where possible try to find a space for group photographs that works for your guests too.

Firstly, it means it’s easy for your guests to see whats going on. Why does that matter? Well, they’ll immediately feel more involved.

Your guests will feel as though you’re still part of the party even while you’re having the family photographs taken (and if your guests want a sneaky i-phone shot or two that’s all good with us!)

Secondly, if you’re visible, it’s super easy to find you. Your friends and family are able to slip in and out of photographs they’re needed for easily which will save you time. Logical eh?

4. Enjoy having your family photographs taken

This might sound an obvious one but group photographs should be part of any wedding day and we say they should also be lots of fun.

While groups do need to be arranged and structured so you can see Granny’s new outfit (which may take a little time) but you’ll have a chance to have a blether with your family in between shots.

To be honest it’s often the group photographs that make part of the wedding entertainment for your guests. They’ll love to feel involved and included in things.

And at the end of the day remember that those all important photographs are of your favourite people together. So they matter.

5. Will you put the photograph in your wedding album?

A litmus test we suggest to Blue Sky couples is the following (somewhat challenging!) question…

“Is the photograph important enough to go be printed in your Queensberry wedding album?”

If you’re debating do we need to take a particular family photograph we think about that question. If you’re debating if you need to take it, ask yourself will you use it or are you just taking it because you think you have to take it for political reasons.

Could that time be spent better mingling or having a glass of fizz…?