When planning your wedding day you will at some point get to the part regarding group shots. This can often be a difficult moment as there are a number of things that you and your wedding photographer will need to consider such as:
Should you have group shots?
How many should you have?
How long should they take?
When and where should they be done?
The answers will of course depend on your personal preferences but you should also take into account the style of the wedding photographer that you have hired. Now, there’s no right or wrong answers here, it’s simply a matter of choice, and to help you make that choice you might consider the following.
Should you have group shots? You might have been to weddings in the past and got frustrated hanging around for the group shots - most people just want to get on and enjoy the nibbles and drinks at this point of the day. If this is you and you’re considering not having group shots then that’s fine, but before making a final decision ask yourself who might like to actually have these photos to look back on? Often Mum, Dad, Nan or Gramp's will and so perhaps this might sway you.
How many group shots should I have? This will depend a lot on how much time you have available and we’ll discuss that next but for now a couple of things to consider.
1. You will be in all these shots so if you want to have 20+ groups then that’s a lot of smiling for the camera!
2. You want to keep you family and friends happy and enjoying the day so if you are looking to have a lot of groupings they might be waiting around for up to an hour or more. Personally, I advise on limiting group shots to six and suggest the following groupings:
Bride, groom and both families
Bride, groom & both sets of parents
Bride, groom & each set of parents (2)
Bride, groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen
How long should the group shots take? This is a big question full of uncertainties. In my experience you should allow an average of 3-5 mins per shot. Some might take longer and some less, but on average I find this is about right. The actual shot takes just a moment, arranging the group could take from 20 seconds up to two minutes depending on the size of group but the unknown is finding the people needed for the shot. If they’ve gone to the loo, or to the bar, nipped back to the car or simply vanished you can be waiting indefinitely! The other factor to consider is your wedding photographer’s style. Some will pay a lot of attention to these shots and make sure everything is 100% perfect before moving onto the next one. There’s nothing wrong with this approach but it will take longer and you need to consider if this is for you.
When and where should the group shots be done? Immediately following the ceremony works best in my opinion simply because everyone is together and in the same place. Once people start to scatter it takes longer to call them back for the photos. The best location for the group shots should be discussed with your wedding photographer. You might have a preferred location because of the backdrop however the photographer will need to consider the direction of light/sun, the amount of natural shade, the closeness to the background and any distracting elements in the distance.
I hope this bog has given you some insight and helps to ensure your wedding day runs smoothly as a result.
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