One of the contentious topics around wedding photography is on the subject of group photos. Should you bother having them? How many? If you prefer reportage photography, is it ‘breaking the rules’ to have some family photos included?

In the build up to your wedding day, the breakdown of your wedding photography can sometimes be overlooked, but an important aspect of your day is setting aside some time for a few portraits of just the two of you, as well as a few family portraits. These are often extra important for mum, dad and grandparents, but over time they will become more precious to you too. It’s not often we gather all our family and friends together, dressed up smartly and gloriously happy to be celebrating together, so a captured photograph of you together will become a valuable heirloom for years to come.

Usually group photos occur most naturally during the drinks reception following your wedding ceremony, and your photographer will likely enlist the help of a trusted usher or bridesmaid to gather the necessary guests together for each photo. The difficulty with this part of the day is rounding up guests, while they are chatting happily with a glass of champagne in hand, to brave the – often less desirable – weather and stand in line for a group shot. However, there are steps you can take in advance to make this part of the day as efficient and enjoyable as possible:

1) This part of the day can take some time depending on the number of pictures you would like, so do have a think in advance about which group combinations you would like, and prioritise them. Various factors can delay this part of the day (most likely not being able to source the required guests at the right time!) so if time runs over you risk missing out on some important shots. Having the discussion early will ensure you have planned in enough time with your wedding venue for the drinks reception, to get all the group shots you would like. If any are overlooked you can also get some lovely relaxed, impromptu group photos later in the day, which make a nice change from the more formal photographs.

2) Providing your photographer with a detailed list in advance of your day (i.e. relation to bride/group and specific names) of requested groups will make the process much more efficient, and will allow more time for you to enjoy your drinks reception with your guests! It also helps to share this list in advance with your chosen usher/aide. Your photographer can guide you on how long the group session could take based on the number of groups you would like, and we make sure we go through this in advance of your wedding day so we are all clear on this part of the day.

3) Families can be complicated and, if there are any sensitive family relations that need to be carefully considered, do let your photographer know in advance so you can plan together the best solution for the group photos.

4) Similarly, if there are any special requirements (e.g. a guest who is unable to use stairs) please do let the photographer know so they can take this into consideration when arranging the photos including these guests.

5) And the best advice we can give you for the group photos: relax, enjoy it and have some FUN!

Formal family photo at wedding