Hints & Tips
Create A Mood Board
In order to deliver personalized photography and videography, it is important for your photographers and videographers to understand your personalities, preferences, and relationship. To help your creative team get to know you, it is best to create a moodboard. This moodboard is created on a website or app like Pinterest, where you can save images that you like and even images you don’t like. This is a way for you to visually communicate the style of photos you love for your engagement and/or wedding day photos.
Schedule Enough Time For Each Section Of The Day
It is crucial that you create a timeline for your wedding day, something your wedding planner can assist you with organizing. There should be an estimated start and end time for hair, makeup, reception setup, etc. Within that timeline should include all your photo sessions such as the first look, bridal party photos, and couple’s session. Not sure how much photo time you’ll need for each section of the day? Click here for a detailed photo timeline.
Plan Enough Time for Hair & Make-up
Delays with hair and makeup can set the whole day behind. Plan to finish the process well ahead of schedule, too often do we see brides rushing because of unexpected delays. Many great hair and makeup artists will create a schedule to follow during wedding preparations.
Your creative team will typically ask for one hour in order to document final touch-ups, detail shots, and candid moments with your closest friends and family. Take a look at our Ideal Wedding Timeline to find out exactly how much photo time you should have set aside throughout the day.
Minimize Your locations
In order to maximize photo time on your wedding day, we recommend minimizing the number of photo shoot locations. You don’t want to spend more time traveling from point A to point B than actually taking pictures. A great photographer should be able to make almost any location work. Even if you don’t love the background options of your venue, trust in the creative abilities of your photographer.
Keep the number of shots down
I recommend no more than 10 individual combinations. Do you really need all 20 of the groups you initially considered? Are you really going to print all of them? Do you really want to spend the whole of your reception taking group photos? Prioritise which shots you really want within the formal photo time e.g. immediate family, bridal party, parents. Don’t forget, your photographer is generally there for most of the day so there will be time during the day to grab them for more spontaneous photos of other groups and people. The formal photo time should be kept for the closest and most important groups. I have found on most occasions where there have been over 10 combinations people (Including the Bride and Groom) get frustrated and bored of the group photos and end up forgetting the rest of the list after a while.
Allow enough time for each group shot
Not allowing enough time for the groups is the most common mistake made when working out the wedding reception timings. For groups of 6 people or less you should allow 3 minutes to round up, arrange and take the photo. For larger groups allow for 5 minutes. A photo of everyone at the wedding can easily take 10-15 minutes to sort out. It is also a good idea to allow another 5 minutes for any unexpected things, such as family members going awol! It happens…a lot!
Who is included in the ‘family’ shot? Parents, siblings, cousins, siblings other halves? Are friends classed as everyone who isn’t family? It can be a bit of a minefield if you leave things open so it helps to be specific. Write the names of the people in each shot so you know who is needed. This is also helpful for your photographer to understand family dynamics. It will help your ushers or those allocated to help round people up for the groups. Which nicely leads me to my next point.
Allocate a couple of people the responsibility of helping round people up
Let the ushers ush, or something along those lines! Choose someone who will be happy to help and who is responsible enough to be useful! I say this from experience. Having a ‘helper’ who vanishes to the bar when they should have been collecting Aunty Mavis it’s useful. Often it’s helpful for one of the helpers to be a family member so they will know who the guests are. Some people are naturally better at this job than others. They will need to be nice but firm in rounding guests up and someone who has a slightly louder voice can be useful for making announcements! I am happy to help gather people but guests are generally more responsive to a charming bridesmaid or smooth-talking usher.
Talk to your parents about the groups
This is sometimes the point in the day where there are differences of opinion on who should and shouldn’t be included in a photo. It can also be the point where it all goes pear-shaped and what was supposed to be a handful of photos turns into many, many more! To avoid any conflict or issues, or spending ages lining up extra people for photos, have a chat to your parents beforehand. This way you can either add in ones they would like before the day or at least discuss what you are wanting to do.
List your shots in a streamlined way
To make the best use of the time you have its good to arrange the order of the shots in a way that makes logical sense. If you have one person in shot 1 and then again in shot 5 the chances are you will lose them and it will take time to get them back again. I tend to start with the larger family shots, which is especially helpful if they include grandparents who don’t want to be standing around for too long. From there you can slowly remove people and work down to shots with parents. Its good to leave the wedding party photos until the end so there is time for something a bit more fun.
Here is my recommended wedding group shot list:
– brides & grooms extended family
– brides & grooms immediate family
– brides & grooms parents
– brides parents
– grooms parents
– brides & groom friends
– ushers and best man
– bridesmaids, ushers and best man
Have a reserve list
This is the follow on from an earlier point. The reserve list is the people who you would like a photo with, or of, but groups that can be a little more spontaneous or informal. They might not even need to include the bride and groom. These could be relatives who have travelled from far away or friends who are there with their new baby. The reserve list doesn’t need to include every guest! Just a handful of people who don’t need to be included in the main formal list, but those you would really like a photo of. I always remind my couples that I am there for the day, so there is no panic in getting photos with friends or more distant relatives. I am available to be grabbed during the reception or later in the evening and these spontaneous photos can be a lot of fun for everyone.
Hope this gives some ideas and top tips for making the most of your group photos. Most couples will never have organised such a large event, so feeling a bit lost when it comes to planning your photos is understandable. If you want more guidance or help I’m always happy to share, just ask!