6 ways to stop wedding group photos from ruining your day

Aug 23, 2019

Over the years we have found group photos as one of those love hate topics. On one hand you have family members you may not have seen in YEARS and you want to remember them being there on your special day so a photo is a must. On the other hand you cringe at the thought of being posed, standing & smiling for a long period of time when you could be hanging out with guests over a cocktail. Below you will find 6 wedding day tested tips that will make this part of the day enjoyable and relieved knowing you took the time to do it. 


A lot of times family and friends have traveled from afar to attend your wedding. Planned “Posed” group photos ensure you will have beautiful photos together. It also helps make sure you do not miss a photo opportunity with the people who are most important in your life. When you have a planned location, time, and list you can guarantee you get the photos you want


Wedding group photos can quickly derail the remainder of the day if there is no plan in place. If left unmanaged, you can quickly find yourself way behind on your timeline, having undesirable stress from family and friends not knowing where to be or what to do, and finally spending too much time in front of the camera feeling stiff or posed. If you follow these tips below and work with a seasoned photographer you will have nothing to worry about.


Having a list on hand is absolute key to keeping everything running smoothly. We sit down with our couples about 1 month prior to wedding day to create a custom timeline. During that meeting we also create a Family Formal Photo list that is brought with us on wedding day and is carried around as if it is made of gold, IT IS THAT IMPORTANT. If you are not sure how to create a list, scroll to the bottom to see an example of what this looks like.


When you are creating your wedding group shot list we tell our couples to plan for 1 minute for each grouping. This leaves enough time to take the photo and set up the next grouping. You have to remember, Grandma & Grandpa can’t move as fast as they used to & kids well they are kids and like to act a little crazy on wedding day and may need to be wrangled up.


On wedding day we will actually bring 3 copies of your wedding group shot list. 1 Is for us, 1 is for someone in charge on the Groom’s side, and the last one is for someone in charge on the Bride’s side. The reason behind this is as the Photographer’s we do not know who Aunt Sally is or Uncle Mike. Putting someone in charge from each side of the family helps to identify and call out the members who are up next for the photo. Wondering who to pick? Here are some ideal traits: someone who has a loud voice, can identify who most of the family members are, and doesn’t mind directing family.


When you have your list completed let your family and friends know PRIOR to wedding day what to expect. Almost 99% of the time wedding group photos take place AFTER the ceremony. So you would tell family and friends to meet up at XYZ location immediately after the ceremony for group photos and to wait for their name to be called. Sometimes the officiant will be mic’d and can make an announcement to help direct everyone.


Typically you would want the elderly and children go first. This allows them to go and rest if needed so they do not have to stand or wait around for a long period of time. Next are children. They are usually hyper after sitting for a long time through the ceremony. It’s best to get them involved right away so they can move on to cocktail hour and burn off some energy!


Let’s take a look at how much time you should set aside for wedding group photos. First thing to do is determine when your ceremony ends. Once you have ceremony end time add 10 minutes and that is your wedding group start time. Next step is to look up the sunset time which can be done by typing sunset time and your date into Google. Now determine the amount of time between your wedding group start time and the sunset time. Example: Group Photo start time 5:10pm and Sunset time is 6:30pm which gives 1 hour & 20 minutes of light. Why is this important? Because we have found most couples like to save THE BEST light for their Bride & Groom photos which is also know as Golden Hour. Take a look at at our blog post If you want to learn more about why you should plan for Golden Hour wedding photos. Golden hour is the 1 hour prior to sunset where the light is optimal for photos. We recommend at least 30 minutes to 1 Hour for Bride + Groom photos after the ceremony. With all of that information lets piece it together. You have 1 hour and 20 minutes until the sun sets and you want 45 minutes of the best daylight saved for the two of you. That leaves you with 35 minutes for wedding group photos which comes out to about 35 groupings. We have seen the sweet spot for wedding groupings to be anywhere from 20-30 minutes. If you find that you have more groupings and you want them captured you can either take time away from Bride & Groom photos OR take note of who you did not receive photos with after the ceremony and then find them later during the reception and snag a quick photo at that time.


Bride and Groom with bride’s parents

Bride and Groom with groom’s parents

Bride and Groom with all parents

Bride and Groom with Grandparents

Bride and Groom with bride’s parents

Bride and Groom with bride’s immediate family

Bride and Groom with groom’s immediate family

Bride and Groom with the entire immediate family

Bride and Groom with maid of honor & best man

Bride and Groom with flower girl & ring bearer

tell us about your day!

After we collect a few short details of what you are dreaming up, we will reach out to get everything started. We take on a maximum of 10 wedding per year.

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