Written by Katy
London wedding photographer on the hunt for inspiration and sweet treats.
Wedding group photos, known by the older term ‘Family Formals’ have really transformed in recent times. Who wants to stand around for ages posing awkwardly? We always aim to make them as quick and stress free as possible.
We think it’s important to capture your close ones in a relaxed informal way, so that you have those photos to look back on in the future. With a little bit of planning, we can make the experience enjoyable.
Below are some of our top tips and some examples of our work with how to achieve relaxed, fun, yet natural group wedding photos.
Our Top Tips
- Create symmetry with equal numbers
- Think about your colour scheme
- Let others customise their outfit
- 10 group photos max
- 12 people in each photo max
- 20 minutes is the ideal amount of time
- Don’t do a large group photo from above!
- Natural daylight is always the best
- Don’t sweat the small details!
o1 - How long will the wedding group photos take?
As a rough guide, we aim to have your wedding group photos finished in just 20 minutes! Any longer than this and the dreaded fake smiles appear and guests can become restless.
The key to making this enjoyable is to stick to a maximum of 10 group photos. Each group photo should have no more than 12 people. The temptation nearer to the day is to just add a few more groups to your list, but that’s when things really add up time wise!
o2 - Smaller Wedding Group Photos
Once we have captured your closest family and friends, feel free to grab your uni friends or other guests that want photos and we’ll take a few fun extra photos as they happen naturally. Ideally it’s great to do these outdoors when the light is still good.
However we’re not suggesting going around the entire room and having tons of group photos that take up loads of your time. It shouldn’t feel like a ‘duty’ but rather something that happens naturally in the moment. It really does make a difference to the authenticity and enjoyment of the moment.
o3 - Don't take it too seriously!
First of all we get the ‘formal’ photos done and then we encourage you to play around! It’s a great chance to connect with your friends and express your personality. What I love about this shot is how they were clearly being ironic and how much they enjoyed the moment just having a laugh.
o4 - Get close and make a connection
Again, turning away from the ‘formal’ photos, we encourage you to get in close and make a connection with your friends and family. Too often in wedding group photos we feel we can’t connect with each other, maybe it’s the British in us? so it’s something we always ask you to try. It immediately loosens everyone up and the photos are far more emotive!
o4 - Add some Action!
Adding movement to wedding group photos really takes the pressure off of everyone! In this photo we simply asked everyone to throw their bouquets in to the air. Therefore everyone relaxed as it allows your all to stop thinking about how you will look in the photo and instead be in the moment!
o5 - Using unique props
Make your wedding group photos unique by using something from the day to add interest to the photo. This giant swing was hand made for the couple and allowed us to capture guests informally enjoying themselves at the party and adds a natural dynamic to the composition. During the day we always hunt out groups informally and capture them naturally.
o6 - Lifting the bride, in a non-cheesy way!
Ok! so we never ask you to do this! but on this occasion as everyone was so spirited and full of beans, it just happened spontaneously, which is why this shot works so well! the key is that the guys just did it, it wasn’t something the bride asked for. As soon as it’s an ask, the photo becomes staged and just doesn’t work and looks cheesy!
o7 - Involve your best friends
I love this shot that Wayne took as it involves the groom’s sweet doggy and ring bearer! If you are having any animals feature at your wedding definitely involve them!
o8 - Large group wedding photos
Many couples ask for a large wedding group photo, but you need all the right ingredients for it to work and be fun! With planning we work out the best time to slot this in to your day without it being a huge operation. Moving 80+ people around takes time. Seriously, it’s always underestimated! For instance, It’s really not worth dragging everyone outside once everyone has gone inside, it just doesn’t feel right and becomes a chore! This photo was taken on arrival at the reception so the flow of the day isn’t broken up. Timings, weather and outdoor lighting are key.
o9 - Strike a pose!
Adding some spontaneous posing to wedding group photos allows each person to show how they are feeling and express their personality.
10 - Looking off camera
As well as looking straight in to the camera, we encourage interaction with your friends and family. These photos once again allow each person to show their personality and be playful in the moment.
11 - Let your mates muck about
The best wedding group photos are when things happen naturally. If you are relaxed and open to your friends making fun suggestions then your photos will be really memorable!
12 - Who's really important to you?
During our planning with you, we always make a list of the critical people who are important to you. This wedding couple told us the children were really important to them, so we suggested doing one big wedding group photo of all the children at the wedding. Again we captured them being ‘sensible’ first, but the best photo above is simply letting the kids being themselves!
We hope you enjoyed this post! Shoot me an email to see if I'm free on your wedding day and let's chat!