How to get the best from your posed Family Photos at your Wedding?

Standing in a line & smiling for an eternity – waiting for Grandma to come back from the bar? Or quick, easy, fun and organised group shots? Which one would you prefer… I hope I know the answer.

I pride myself on my organisation throughout your wedding day and it shines through more than ever during the group photos. Below are some tips to get the best from them and a template for you to follow when putting together your own list.

Firstly: Timing is everything.

I like to get these shots done immediately after the ceremony (or confetti toss if we are having one!). As soon as the confetti has landed all of your guests will turn to you (and me!) to ask ‘What now?’. This is the perfect time to get organised. I will take charge to tell your guests our plan for group photos & who will be needed. All other guests that are not needed will be encouraged to go to the drinks reception & enjoy.

Celebrity Wedding Photographer - Poppy Carter Portraits

Next up: Location, location, location!

If I’m your wedding photographer I will have already scouted the perfect location for your group photos (and found a back up indoors just in case!). But just so you know… I’m looking for a large area with even shade. I don’t want your guests squinting into the sun and I want enough room for everyone to stand comfortably. I want it close enough to your drinks reception so any elderly guests don’t have to walk far but not too close that you feel like everyone is watching you.

Celebrity Wedding Photographer - Poppy Carter Portraits

Preparation is everything:

The most important thing for me to do a great job is a well organised list that includes everyones names & relationship to you so I can place them quickly in an appropriate place. Putting your Mum in the back row next to your great aunt wouldn’t go down too well so I need to know who everyone is!

Hedsor House Wedding Photographer - Poppy Carter Portraits

More is not more!

When you put your list together please keep in mind just how long you want to be stood smiling in a line away from your party. The bigger the group of people, the longer each shot takes to organise. The list below that I have suggested would take, at the very minimum, with an incredibly obedient group of guests – 30 minutes. Some venues only schedule 1 hour for your drinks reception so with 15 minutes for couple portraits that can leave you with no time to really enjoy your party. Again, it’s your wedding so if you want to have an extensive group photo list you just need to speak to your venue to make sure they give you extra time before dinner or choose to miss out on most or all of the drinks reception. Make sure to co-ordinate with your photographer every step of the way & they will be able to guide you and help you get the best from your day. 

Every family is different:

I know every family is different and everyone has different priorities for their photography so please edit this list accordingly. If you want more photos with friends and less with family, then absolutely do what you feel is best. As long as you list everyone by name you will be great – for example ‘Uni friends – Lucy, Sarah, Jen, Tom.’

Hedsor House Wedding Photographer - Poppy Carter Portraits

Start big:

The quicker you can get people back to the drinks reception to enjoy, the better! Start with the largest groups and we will keep cutting and dismissing until you are left with just the bridal party.

Hedsor House Wedding Photographer - Poppy Carter Portraits

Here’s an example list for your to copy:

I like to be gender neutral as much as possible and use ‘Partner 1’ and ‘Partner 2’ in my own correspondence with clients but for clarity here I will just use ‘Bride’ & ‘Groom’.

Full family both sides:

Bride, Groom + Brides Parents + Siblings + Grooms Parents + Siblings.

Brides side:

Bride, Groom + Brides Parents + Siblings + Any extended family including Grandparents

Bride, Groom + Brides Parents + Siblings.

Bride, Groom + Brides Parents.

Now swap sides.

Grooms side:

Bride, Groom + Grooms Parents + Siblings + Any extended family including Grandparents

Bride, Groom + Grooms Parents + Siblings

Bride, Groom + Grooms Parents.

Bridal party:

Bride, Groom + Bridal Party (Traditional & Vanity Fair style)

Bride + Bridesmaids

Groom + Groomsmen

And that’s it! Easy, fun, seamless group photos done as quickly as possible!

Hedsor House Wedding Photographer - Poppy Carter Portraits

I hope this has been helpful – if you are my client or a fellow photographer looking to streamline your process & make it easier on your clients!

Most of these images were taken at the beautiful Hedsor House where I am lucky enough to be a recommended supplier.

London Wedding Photography. London Wedding Photographer. Luxury Wedding Photography. Cotswolds Wedding Photography. Oxford Wedding Photography. Buckinghamshire Wedding Photography. Berkshire Wedding Photography. Hampshire Wedding Photography. Hertfordshire Wedding Photography. Micklefield Hall Wedding Photography.