Feeling a little anxious about group pictures? Wondering why it takes SOOOO long to get group pictures? Worry about your guests being hungry? Afraid you’re going to leave someone out? I’m going to let you in on a few tips for your wedding day group shots that can help your this picture time go quickly, with little stress, and to get more beautiful pictures! You’ll be able to get this done in a few minutes and move on with the rest of your planning!
Here you go! 8 Tips for your wedding day group shots!
1. Make a list.
This does NOT have to be in an excel sheet or even typed up. This can be a pen and paper list. However you need to get it done! This is where you make a list of each group shot you want-with your kids, family, and wedding party. Now, the key to this is to make the list with this question in mind, “Which pictures with family members will I want printed on a canvas and hanging on my wall?” I doubt that you will put a picture of you and your 2nd cousin, Harry, who you never see, on a canvas in your office or living room. Make a list of those people who are immediate family or you are closest to. Let me give you an example. One thing to remember is always include names!
2. Plan for about 3 minutes per photo.
This is just an estimate and really depends on how organized your list is and if everyone on your list followed instructions and came to have their pictures taken. So, if you only have 30 minutes for pictures after the ceremony, it’s best not to plan 20 family pictures in that short time.
3. Have an assistant!
Sometimes the photographer brings an assistant or another photographer, which is SO helpful, but most of the time their assistant does not know each person in your family and party by name. This is a great job for your maid of honor or bridesmaid or family friend. This is HUGE. It will really help the pictures to go quickly and will help in rounding up all of those family members who got distracted by the drinks, food, or friends 😉 At the wedding pictured here, my friend, Lauren, was a bridesmaid. She was also the bride’s sister-in-law, which meant that she knew most of the family members and therefore, would be a great assistant! Lauren really helped things move along quickly. She also has a great eye for detail and posing, so she could help everyone get in a nice line for these pictures!
4. Let the photographer know of any potentially awkward or embarrassing situations.
Sometimes there is a divorce in the family or some family members who won’t be in a picture with another. Are there any step parents or kids in the family? Boyfriends/girlfriends? Are there any family members who have passed away? If you let your photographer know about these things, this can help avoid any embarrassment or stress.
5. Plan any “extra” pictures for the reception time.
If that 2nd cousin Harry sees you taking pictures and wants to jump in, you (or your photographer) can let him know that you’d be glad to get a picture of him during the reception time. Once the first dance is done and the toasts have been made, many times there are more pictures. These are more casual in nature. Also, if there are other combinations of people you REALLY want pictures of, plan it for during the reception. Just let your photographer know.
6. Have a first look or first touch.
This is great for photographers, because it helps us get more portraits with the bride and groom, pictures with parents, and also the wedding party! This can really cut down on the time you need between the ceremony and reception to get in all those pictures! If you are not having a first look, you definitely need to plan for about an hour for family pictures after your ceremony. Consider this a great way to cut down on that time so you can go get some food!
7. You’ve planned your family group shot list, but make sure you’re not forgetting your husband and wife portraits.
If possible, give this 20-30 minutes! You may not think you want these now, but these will be your first pictures as husband and wife! Believe me, you want these!
8. Talk to your photographer ahead of time about the locations for your pictures.
Maybe your reception and ceremony are in the same area. That’s perfect! Ask your photographer to go to that location one day if possible and scout out locations. Sometimes your ceremony and reception are not in the same area and you choose a park in the middle. Ask your photographer to find a place where the lighting is right! They will know just what to do to get those gorgeous pictures for you! What you DON’T want to do is choose a place because of proximity or because it is meaningful and the sun is blinding everyone. The last thing you want is for everyone to be squinting in your pictures.
Let me know if you found these tips for your wedding day group shots helpful! I challenge you to go ahead and make your group shot list and post it! How are you going to narrow it down? Did you enjoy this article? Check out these 15 tips for a stress-free wedding day next!
Want another amazing resource to help you plan your wedding? Take a listen to this Wedding Planning Podcast with Kara Lamerato. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I’m a sucker for helpful podcasts!