Planning formal group shots

Posted on by Marie

A guide to putting together a formal photographs list.

By formal list we mean the formal posed shots of the bride and groom with family members and the bridal party.

Here are some tips

    1. If you like candid shots then keep your formal list a small as possible as the posed shots will eat into any time you have for candid’s, we recommend a list of around 8.

    2. It takes from 2 to 5 minutes per formal group shot. 5 minutes being allowed for the larger shots and 2-3 minutes for the smaller ones.

    3. Ask yourself, do you really need 4 or 5 variations of Bride with parents, Bride and Groom with parents, with grandparents, with grandparents and siblings, etc. All this eats in to time on your wedding day you could be spending relaxing with your guests and family.

    4. Bear in mind that some people WILL disappear just when you need them and older relatives can be slower to get in place and less mobile. I find it helps to show the formal list to the key people in the list before the wedding so they know what photo’s they are in and that they will need to make themselves available.

    5. You will also need to factor in time for your portraits together as a couple and I would leave around 30 minutes for these too.

    6. It is not uncommon to take 10 minutes or more to get everybody outside for your group shot (if requested), so often we’ll shoot your portraits first and leave this shot till we are sure we have time.

    7. Allow some slack for your wedding confetti shot, and any other formal groups you may like, such as groomsmen, bridesmaids and bridal party. If we say 1hr30 to 2hrs between your ceremony finishing and the wedding breakfast opening, then that gives plenty of time for photographs!

    8. Don’t forget to add extra time if you have a journey to make from the ceremony location to the reception venue.

    9. We are very happy to shoot as many groups as you wish, but please leave enough time for this. We’d suggest keeping the list to no more than 8 groups and most importantly please include the names of the guests including surnames and also if an unusual name a phonetic spelling!

A pretty complete shot list  would look like this (but with names), but bear in mind lots of groups can get tedious for your guests so try to keep it to a bare minimum – especially if you have chosen us as you like our candid style of photography, as we do need free time to do this. What you see below is a row for each shot, starting with all family, then removing  removing siblings, and finally working in to combinations of Bride’s and Groom’s immediate families.

Siblings (Name + Name)Parents (Name + Name)BrideGroomParents (Name + Name)Siblings (Name + Name)
Brides Parents (Name + Name)BrideGroomGrooms Parents (Name + Name)
Brides Mum (Name)BrideGroomGrooms Mum(Name)
Brides Dad (Name)BrideGroomGrooms Dad (Name)
Bride siblings (Name + Name)BrideGroomGrooms Siblings (Name + Name)
Grandparents (Name + Name)BrideGroomGrooms Grandparents (Name + Name)

 

Bridal party at the Wedding, relaxed semi-formal shot

 

Bride, Groom and Parents group shot

Implementing the list

We usually put the bride and groom in place and call the first names on the lists. While that shot is being taken the next names are called, so ideally the next shot is always waiting. Ushers can be giving a copy each of the list to assist.

On the day!

We like to have a bit of fun as we certainly are not stuffy and grumpy wedding photographers (well Jason is on some mornings!). So expect to smile, have fun and enjoy your wedding photography formals and we will get through them as quickly as possible, so you can have a well-deserved drink and chat with your wedding guests.

Once your list is complete e-mail it over and we will do our best to go through that on the day xx

 

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