Should we bother with group photos at our wedding?

May 17, 2016

Tanya & Steve Wedding  (91 of 420)

Over the last 7 years whilst I have been shooting weddings, a number of guests have come up to me and said “I was at this wedding one time, and the photographer was so rubbish because the photos took forever!”

Now here’s where I feel bad. I’m thinking that it’s probably down to communication, or lack of. The bride and groom might have requested a lot of family photos. Or perhaps a family member went rogue and took over the organisation of the group shots and used the opportunity to have a picture of every friend and family member in attendance.

I’ve attended many a wedding as a guest too and even I know that it’s no fun standing in a row/line/semi circle/heart shape etc forcing a smile when I really want to have a second glass of champagne and get my mitts on those canapés.

G&A Wedding (314 of 749)

To make it a bit easier, I have created a sample shot list that not only gives an idea of what I like to shoot at weddings but also it gives an idea of how long this will take. Also, those ushers who were directing people to their seats for the ceremony? The photographer will need their help ensuring all the right people are in the right place at the right time for photographs too. This makes everything run as smoothly as possible.

Post ceremony shot list:

  1. Everyone – a large image of everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE who was at your wedding
  2. Confetti!
  3. Brides family: Bride, Groom with bride’s family (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins if present)
  4. Bride, Groom with bride’s parents
  5. Groom’s family: Bride, Groom with groom’s family (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins if present)
  6. Bride, Groom with groom’s parents
  7. Bride, Groom and all their friends
  8. Bride, groom with bridesmaids and groomsmen

This above set-up will take about 25 minutes and it does not include any images of the bride and groom alone.

Amanda & Jack Wedding (400 of 800)

Trust me, while it’s no picnic trying to coax Uncle Stan away from the bar, I genuinely believe that family photos are really important. When everyone is healthy, alive and well it’s all too easy to just say “we don’t want any group photos” and then in five, ten, fifteen years time if someone moves on or passes away, along with your memories, it’s the photos that remain.

The photo below was taken at my parents wedding in 1980. It is the only image I have of my parents and both sets of grandparents all in one place together. My paternal grandparents passed away in 2003. My mom died in 2005. My maternal grandfather in 2007, my dad in 2008 and finally, my maternal grandmother died last year.

To me, this photograph is priceless. 

Debus Wedding

Nicola Gough

Nicola Gough

Wedding Photographer

When I’m not shooting people in love you can find me at home, probably drinking too much coffee, eating cake and watching a film. My husband and I hold a lot of our conversations in film quotes. We’re kind of film geeks. After ten years of photographing almost 200 couples who love the bones of each other, I’m still in love with weddings and I would love to hear more about yours.

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