Stress free family wedding photos

Feb 3, 2023

How to make your group photos feel like a cake walk

If you’ve ever attended a wedding as a guest, you’ll know that there’s one part of the day that can be a bit of a chore to get through, and that is organised group photos. Now, of course, these are the important photos to get, as it’s a rare thing for all of your nearest and dearest to be in the same place at the same time, but it can be a little bit like herding kittens.

Firstly, have a couple of people on hand to be in charge of rounding everybody up; this can be a friend, family member, groomsman or bridesmaid but it shouldn’t be the couple. Let your photographer know who you’re nominating ahead of the big day and give them a copy of the LIST*

*the LIST is detailed below

Pro Tips

Top tip – never say “the photographer wants you for photos”, instead say, “the couple want you for photos” – people will move a lot faster for you than they will for your photographer.

Have your group photos take place in one location, ideally not too far away from the drinks reception or bar area where lots of people will be mingling.

Provided it isn’t absolutely chucking it down with rain, always try to be outside for your group photos – gorgeous natural light, plenty of space, fresh air… it’s a win win.

Don’t leave out your friends, they are the family you chose and deserve some photo love too.

The coveted LIST

To make this part of the day run as smoothly as possible, I recommend the template below. This is a tried and tested method of getting all of the expected photos in an easy, fast way. It is pretty traditional in its structure, but it does take care of all those expected shots. Every family dynamic will be different, so allow extra time for step families and variations that suit you better.

This set up takes approx 20/25 minutes with help from your expert people wranglers.

1) The couple with all of Person 1’s extended family. Include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.

2) The couple with all of Person 1’s immediate family. Include just parents, siblings, grandparents.

3) Then a few variations within the above group e.g. just them and parents, just them and siblings etc.

4) The couple with all of Person 2’s extended family. Include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.

5) The couple with all of Person 2’s immediate family. Include just parents, siblings, grandparents.

6) Then a few variations within the above group e.g. just them and parents, just them and siblings etc.

7) The couple and their bridesmaids and groomsmen, include variations like just Person 1 and groomsmen/bridesmaids, Person 2 and groomsmen/bridesmaids etc

8) The couple and friends – this can be done as a large group or broken down into smaller groups e.g. work friends, uni friends etc

A large group photo could be added if time and outdoor space allow it. I’d always recommend that this takes place either straight after the ceremony or just before all of your guests take their seats for the meal/speeches.

Photos with your four legged friends should be actively encouraged!

And finally, always let your photographer know of any family sensitivities; this might be divorced parents or deceased relatives. It can be hard to bring up, but it is so important that you educate your photographer on your family dynamic. Remember that this is your wedding, so please don’t feel obliged to have certain organised photos if you prefer not to.

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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