When you work with me as your wedding photographer, your family group photos (which are the more formal ones with your family in a line-up) are entirely led by you and what you’d like from the day. While they’re definitely not everyone’s favourite part of the day (including mine, I like the action!) I do tend to find that they’re often the ones that are downloaded and / or bought as framed prints. They lend themselves well to going up on the mantelpiece at home and make excellent gifts! However, approach with caution because they can also take up a large part of your day, if you’re not careful. I’m happy to follow your lead on what you want from them, so here are my tips on how to make the process of taking them easy peasey lemon squeezey AND get some really lovely photos that you’ll definitely want in a printed in a frame. 

family group gather outside a church for a wedding photo and two children scoot away from the group towards the camera. Photo by Fun Wedding Photographer Parrot and Pineapple.

The golden rule with these photos is that less is definitely more. You will need to be in almost every photos, so you need to consider very carefully – and prioritise – your experience of having these taken on the day. The more variations and arrangements that you have, the longer you will spend standing and smiling at a camera when you could be mingling with your guests instead.

Wedding party gathers for family group photo at the asylum in London

A Guideline Family Group Photo Checklist

As a guideline, here’s a pretty standard list of the groups couples tend go for. You can take from this what you need: 

  • You and your partner with your extended family (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins etc)
  • You and your partner with your immediate family (parents and siblings)
  • You and your partner with your partner’s immediate family (parents and siblings)
  • You and your partner with your partner’s extended family (grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, etc)
  • The wedding party – you and your partner with your wedding squad
  • You with your wedding helpers
  • Your partner and their wedding helpers

It takes approximately 4 minutes per group photo arrangement (so you can see how it tots up quite quickly!) – for example, this list would take approximately 30 minutes to photograph. If you want lots of variations on group photos, then your wish is my command – but you need to make sure you factor in enough time for them to happen.

group photograph of all guests at a cultural fusion wedding

Scheduling in your Family Group Photos to Your Wedding Day

The best time to take the group photos is after your ceremony, but before your food is served. It’s nice to get them ticked off the list of things you have to do, so that you can start relaxing in to your day. It also means people won’t be so rowdy that they can’t be instructed – which leads me onto my next point…

Groom and best man in wheel chair pose for a relaxed group photo

Making Family Group Photos Easy

With no disrespect to your nearest and dearest, getting everyone together and ready for the group photos can be a bit like herding cattle. The most efficient way to get the groups organised and ready for their close-up is to nominate one person from each side of the family to be the herder, gathering everyone together so that everyone’s there when they need to be. So, you’ll need someone from your wedding party that knows your family members, and someone from your partner’s side that knows their family members. Give these helpers the list of family members that you want in each photo, so they know who they’re rounding up. I will then work with your nominated helper to make things flow so easily that the whole she-bang will be over before you know it. And then you can get back to the love, hugs, mingling and CANAPÉS! 

Bridal party pose for a relaxed group photo against a wall in london.

 

Top Tips for Family Group Photos

  • Be realistic with the number of group photo variations that you want
  • Plan time for your group photos to happen (approx 4 minutes per arrangement)
  • Ask someone in your family to help gather the right people, get your partner to do the same
  • Plan for the group photos to be taken after the ceremony but before the meal

Finally – it’s worth saying that some of my favourite group photos are most often the spontaneous, late night, dance floor fuelled big huggy group photos. If and when they ever pop up, I’ll be sure to dive in and capture the moment.

Wedding guests gather for relaxed easy group photo at a wedding.

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