How to Capture Group Wedding Photos Quickly and Easily - Grier Cooper Photography

How to Capture Group Wedding Photos Quickly and Easily

If you’ve been to a wedding where the newlyweds were noticeably absent all through cocktail hour and beyond, most likely the holdup was the group wedding photos.  If not properly managed, group wedding photos can equal chaos–with all of the large groups of people to manage, they become a huge time suck. But have no fear! There are several things you can do to organize things beforehand to make sure the family photos portion of your day flows smoothly and efficiently so you can get back to your guests and enjoy your party.

Chic Country Wedding Sonoma, CA 4

Create a list of all the group wedding photos you would like.

This is the most important thing you will need to do, for obvious reasons. I request this list a month ahead of time so I have something to refer to on the day of the wedding, but I also need to make sure we have allotted enough time to photograph all of the groupings on your list. Generally, you’ll need to allow about 5-7 minutes per grouping for group wedding photos (it takes time to shuffle people in and out of place and I usually need to spend a bit of time making slight adjustments to get everyone evenly aligned and comfortable).

If there are ten groups on the list, but we’ve set aside only 30 minutes, then we need to discuss adjustments, either by allotting more time for group photos or by trimming the number of groups on the list. 

Keep in mind that if you and your fiance´(e) aren’t planning to see each other during the ceremony, then we typically split cocktail hour by allotting 30 minutes for group photos, and 20-30 minutes for your couples’ portraits. This way you can plan accordingly and put together a group photos list that is easily achievable.

Decide where you want your group wedding photos to occur.

Most often, the altar/ceremony space is the popular choice for group wedding photos. This serves two purposes: first, it commemorates the exact spot where you said your vows, and second, it’s the simplest location to use since everyone you want photographed will already be right there. Your guests are invited to go off and enjoy cocktail hour and everyone on your group photos list remains at the ceremony site.

Simple. Elegant. Hassle-free….

Notify your wedding party and your family when and where the photos will occur beforehand.

Make sure you notify and remind everyone (typically the night before your wedding, during rehearsal dinner, if you’re having one) on your group photos list that they will need to remain in the ceremony area for group photos before they head to cocktail hour.

If Uncle Bob runs off to grab a glass of champagne, every minute he’s gone costs you time, either from your couples’ portraits or time away from your guests, which can be stressful and irritating. When you notify your family and wedding party beforehand that they should stay in the area immediately following the ceremony for group wedding photos, then you won’t lose any valuable time searching for stray sheep.. and you’ll get to enjoy more of your day.

Photo of bride with bridesmaids at her Day of the Dead wedding at Rockefeller Lodge | photo by Grier Cooper, Richmond, CA

Assign a photo wrangler.

Even though your photographer may have a detailed list of the groups you want photographed, he or she doesn’t know everyone. Therefore, it’s important to choose someone (most often either the MOH, a bridesmaid, or a trusted family member or friend) who knows everyone on your list so they can help gather those people when they are needed. This will greatly streamline the process! 

These few simple tips will help capture your group wedding photos quickly and easily, which means less stress and more fun for you. Put them into play and go enjoy your day!




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