The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Group Photos

wedding group photo with bridesmaids and groomsmen

Image by Mariana Pierce

It’s time to ditch the thinking that all wedding group shots are a boring hassle. While they can be trickier than portraits, candids or detail shots, once you have the right mindset they can be just as fun and expressive. Wedding group photos tend to mean a lot to the couple, which means they should matter a lot to you. And, it’s important to keep in mind that group photos are an excellent time to mingle and sell yourself to potential future clients

From the wedding party to family shots, scroll below to see all the tips and tricks to nail every group photo at your next wedding.

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen 

The photos you capture of just the bridesmaids or groomsmen can be more fun and relaxed than your standard family group photos. One of our favorite types of group shots are taken while the ‘maids or groomsmen are getting ready. If you have any extra time during the getting ready process, snap photos before they change into their formal attire. Also, just remember that this group is probably already friends and are excited to celebrate! Keep their spirits high and encourage them to let loose.  

Helpful Tips:

  • Make use of your environment and find those backdrops that will be unique.
  • Bring along a portable speaker to play upbeat music while you shoot!
  • Don’t be afraid to get them moving – walking, dancing, and hugging are all great prompts.

Entire Wedding Party

These shots are also about having fun while still acting as an important representation of the wedding day. Everyone will be in their carefully selected, coordinating dresses and suits, looking their best. Coming from far and wide, it’s probably one of the only times the couple has all of their closest friends together in one place! So think of these shots as somewhere in the middle of casual and formal, but know there’s still plenty of room to be creative.

Helpful Tips:

  • Take advantage of any furniture or stairs at the venue to create layers and levels.
  • Check that you have even lighting across your subjects; the bigger the group, the harder this becomes.
  • If you have a good amount of time with the party, try out multiple lenses to see which produces the best result.
  • Give the wedding party active tasks and prompts, such as ‘celebrate’, ‘laugh’ or ‘throw petals on three’.
  • In post-production, why not try out a double exposure or composite for a little something different?
Sikh Wedding bridesmaids and groomsmen dancing

Image by Nomad by NK

Family and Guests

We’ve made it, friends. It’s finally time to discuss the dreaded formal family shots. Let’s just say it–they suck. But it can’t be understated how special these photos will be to the couple and their families long beyond the wedding day. Just like the wedding party, who knows when all of these people will be together in one place again? They’ll be looking to you as the one to commemorate such a meaningful moment in the most beautiful way possible. So while somewhat irritating, just remember to keep your cool and know how appreciated you’ll be in the end.

Helpful Tips:

  • Start with the biggest group and then work your way down to smaller groups.
  • Find and recruit the loudest bridesmaid or guest so they can help you gather people as needed.
  • Allot one to four minutes for each shot and keep that shutter clicking. You’ll want to snap as many frames as possible to increase the odds of a photo without someone blinking. Narrative Select is an excellent tool for actually finding those photos, too.
  • If you have a second shooter (or that helpful bridesmaid) utilize their eyes to the fullest. They can make sure everyone is paying attention, have sunglasses removed, and are aligned correctly for each shot.
  • Bringing along a step stool might not be a bad idea if it’s a large wedding or you’re a little on the short side.
  • Don’t forget your patience! These photos are a time to make an impression on potential future clients. Showcase your professionalism and geniality while still remaining in charge. 

Final Tips

It’s easy for wedding group photos to become low-priority come wedding day. And while portraits tend to get all the attention, just know that an outstanding group photo has the potential to make a real impact, too. A great group shot can be a priceless heirloom for a couple or a memorable eye-catcher for a browsing potential client.

  • Make sure to discuss wedding group photos with your couple beforehand. Get a sense if they favor formal or casual photos and plan accordingly.
  • Spend some time thinking about potential poses for the wedding party before the wedding, along with backgrounds the venue will offer.
  • If you have a wide-angle lens, you’ll want to try it out during extra large group shots.
  • Keep that aperture small while shooting groups too, so that everyone stays in focus. 
casual wedding group photo bridesmaids and rainbow

Image by Alex Tome

There are so many group shots that haven’t been done before, unlike the poses we tend to see on repeat for couple portraits. Don’t be afraid to try something new! If you’re ready to set yourself apart from the competition, check out this go-to guide that will help spice up your next photoshoot

The Ultimate Guide to Group Wedding Photos

Image by Lit Photography

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