Your guide to getting the important people in pictures AND having a great time at your wedding
About a month before your wedding, I’ll send you a planning sheet which takes down all the information experience has taught me I really need to help me get the best out of your wedding photos. It takes down emergency contacts, postcodes, family politics, planned surprises (there’s nothing worse than something exciting happening when I’m in the toilet because I didn’t know it was coming!) and also any group photos you might like. I recommend a maximum of ten, but one of the most common things I get asked is can we have more? So I thought I’d pop together a quick blog post that highlights why I recommend this, and how we can make them happen quickly with as little pain as possible.
MY MISSION: To give you great photos, while you have a great time, spending as little time with me as possible, with as little direction as possible, while making sure you definitely have pictures of the most important people.
We’ve all been there haven’t we, as wedding guests. The couple leave the ceremony, we throw confetti and then, when all we want to do is SQUEEZE THEM to congratulate them, they disappear for photos and appear about 15 minutes before the drinks reception ends. Uhuh, no way, not with me.
I think group photos are important
Unless there’s a specific reason why we can’t (logistics, bad weather looming, the venue insisting etc) you’ll leave the ceremony, hopefully throwing confetti immediately after and then I’ll give you a good 20 minutes to get a drink and say hey to people. Then we’ll make a start on groups. I do them at this point in the day because herding people is hard at the best of times, but after dinner when the vino has been flowing makes this job even more tricky. Here’s the thing; I think group photos are important BUT you didn’t book me because I take ace group photographs! You booked me because you love my natural, fun, meaningful candids… And a lot of groups means less time for that.
Has anyone seen Jean?
With that in mind, I recommend ten max, allowing 3-5 minutes per group. Because someone ALWAYS goes to check in/sneaks off for a fag/gets lost on the way to the reception/has to change the baby. This is more than enough to allow a few family combos, wedding party combos and any mates you might want to throw in one too. FUN FACT: Standing in a line for 30 minutes grinning at me is not as fun as saying hello to everyone with a prosecco and enjoying the day and eating the canapes.
Some pro tips to help speed up proceedings:
- Pre warn people that they’ll be involved in groups so they don’t assume they’re not needed and go for a nap.
- Assign a couple of people to help me so I can do the clicking and they can gather the people I need. It helps if these are people who know your family members to look at!
- Consult your parents when making the list. On the day if people ask for more groups I tell them I’ll do them after the ones you’ve specified so long as you’re happy to stand for longer but it’s helpful if your parents are on the same page as us. These are the photos they they will probably put on the mantle piece, not that photo of you chugging a tequila at 10pm, so it’s worth considering.
- Let me know if there’s someone in the groups who has mobility issues so I don’t plan to take the photos in a place that’s difficult for them to access.
- Give me the group and also the names of people involved eg Smith family, us, mum and dad, Granny Helen, James, Dawn and Philly because it’s much easier to find people if we know who we’re calling for… Also helps if distant Auntie Marge considers herself to be more immediate family than you!
Don’t know where to start?
How about: EVERYONE* You two + Person A’s parents You two + Person A’s immediate/extended family You two + Person B’s parents You two + Person B’s immediate/extended family You two + grandparents/great grandparents/anyone else elderly + important You two + wedding party You two + that friend who lives in New Zealand that you’ve not seen for 15 years and might not see again for a while *the everyone shot really relies on it being dry and enough space or a place where I can be elevated to get everyone in – let’s chat about it!)
But we’ve got 12
No dramas, these are your photos and they’re important to you, but I really want you to be aware of how much time groups can take so please weigh up the groups/candids thing. If you want more, then maybe keep some time clear to do your wedding party (maids, ushers, best wo/men etc) after dinner. AND BOOM! By magic, the most important people are definitely in a picture and you can get back to the good stuff.