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Choosing Your Group Photos: Tips & Advice

Suffolk wedding photographers, wedding photographers Suffolk, Sam and Louise Photography

Choosing which group photos to have can be a pretty daunting task. As we specialise in natural, documentary style coverage we tend to find that the overwhelming majority of our couples want very few, if any formal group photos. Parents and more traditionally minded guests however, tend to have other ideas. It can therefore be difficult to get the balance right between what you want and keeping your loved ones happy.

The fact is no one likes waiting around for photos. After 10 minutes it gets boring. There are drinks to be drunk and canapés to be had. Posed photos aren’t fun….especially if you’re busting for the loo!

Our top tip for choosing your group photos

When you’re drafting your group photos list keep this thought in mind. “What will I do with this photo?” Is it one you would hang on your wall at home, or use as your facebook cover photo? If the answer is ‘No” do you want to disrupt proceedings to get it in the first place? If a photograph is likely to illicit an initial “Awww, that’s nice” and then never see the light of day again, it’s probably not worth having.

For example, it used to be quite popular to ask for a photographs of ALL the female guests in attendance. Followed by ALL the male guests in attendance. Of course all guest lists are different, but realistically, for a lot of weddings, who is that photo for? Will your auntie want that photo with twenty of your friends in that she’s never met- probably not. And will Dave from work want a copy of that photo with your grandad and cousins in, again, probably not.

Advice from a previous bride

We bumped into one of our 2013 brides at another wedding recently who had the full set of traditional photos on her wedding day. We got chatting about their photographs. What she said was pretty poignant and echoed exactly what we try to convey to our clients. She told us “We still look at our photos all the time, but we never look at the group ones. They’re beautiful, but we just don’t look at them” we hear this time and again.

Suffolk wedding photographers, wedding photographers Suffolk, Sam and Louise Photography

So how do you go about finalising which photos you do want?

Personally, what we recommend is no more than 10 formal photos. That’s a maximum really rather than a target. Most of our couples choose around 6 posed group photos in total.

Depending on the various combinations and availability of guests that can be around 20 minutes of grinning. Trust us, twenty minutes is plenty of time to be standing around summoning guests.  The reason we suggest a maximum of 10 is partly due to timings and partly due to photo fatigue. It’s a real thing guys! You will get bored of being pulled around and asked to pose for photos by guests. As much as you love them, and however willingly you do it, it can become a chore- especially if you have a lot of guests.

The most popular group photos requested by our couples

Obviously all family situations are different and each couple will want different things, but generally, the below are the most requested group photographs by our couples. Please forgive the gender specific examples, but hopefully you get the gist.

  1. Bride & Groom with both sets of parents
  2. Bride (& Groom) with Brides parents and siblings
  3. Groom (& Bride) with Grooms parents and siblings
  4. Bride & Groom with Grandparents, God parents or other special relative(s)
  5. Bride & Groom + Bridesmaids, Ushers and Best Man
  6. Bride & Bridesmaids
  7. Groom & Ushers and Best Man

We can then capture any other important ones more informally at various stages of the day if time and weather allows.

“Formals” certainly do not have to be formal and they don’t have to be mundane. Please do not hesitate to let us know what you like and what you want and we can plan for your photos accordingly.

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