Better Group Photos as a Wedding Photographer

Black and white group photo of a joyful wedding party outside a church, enhancing techniques for better group photos in photography portfolios.

Group photos unfairly suffer from a bad reputation.

Yes, we, too, were arrogant enough to assume that group photos were beneath us. We placed little value on these photos and always tried to get this part of the wedding over quickly.

Group photos are only sometimes a creative challenge. But it depends on what you make of them.

We owe it to our clients to deliver the best possible product every time. Let’s keep in mind that this also applies to group photos! Our top priority is to honor our client’s wishes with the utmost respect.

About half of our clients don’t want group photos. However, we always advise at least taking one picture with the most important people present—family members or friends. It takes little time, and the significance of such photos is only sometimes apparent to some before the wedding.

As photographers, we can highlight the importance of these photos and explain that it’s a quick and straightforward process.

The value of natural and authentic group photos is often overlooked. However, they can be fun and relaxed.

Here are the points we discussed with the couple before the wedding

Inquire About Wishes

Does the couple want variations or just classic group photos? Do they also wish to take pictures in motion without anyone looking at the camera? It’s about finding out how the couple envisions their group photos. Some couples want candid or funny group photos in addition to the traditional ones, while others find that silly and prefer not to. It’s important to ask beforehand.

Have Them Write a List

It’s a good idea for a couple to prepare a list of any critical people they want photos with in advance and consider the arrangements before the wedding. This can help to save time and reduce stress on the wedding day.

Assign Responsibility for the List

As the photographer, you should be given a different list and expected to gather people. You don’t know anyone. The couple should provide the list to another guest who knows everyone and can call them over. This way, you can focus on the photos, and the couple doesn’t have to stress.

Estimate Duration

Ask the couple to send you the list before the wedding so you can estimate their duration. The photos are quick, but gathering the guests to be photographed can take a while. Depending on where the group photos take place and how many configurations need to be photographed, you can then give the couple an approximate duration to expect. Couples often need help to gauge how much time is required.

Choose the Location

When photographing groups, we try to do it away from all other guests and have the to-be-photographed guests sent to us. This prevents spontaneously increasing numbers of guests with photo requests that weren’t planned.

Tips for Better Group Photos

Photograph Before and After the Actual Group Photo

We start snapping photos before the guests are ready. We also keep shooting after we’ve said, “Thank you, that’s a wrap!” Often, very relaxed and natural photos emerge.

Check the Group Without the Camera

When a group is ready, wait to look through the camera. Let the camera hang, and take a few seconds to scan the group consciously. Are all the men’s jackets buttoned or unbuttoned? Does anyone still have sunglasses on? Is someone holding a glass? What is desired, and what is not?

Explain What You’re Doing

Tell the group when you’re taking photos, and you’ll take multiple shots. Let them know where exactly to look. It’s like at the dentist’s: everything becomes more accessible when they see what’s happening.

Take Many Photos

It’s better to take too many photos than too few. Also, check the results in between! Is the focus correct? Does everyone have their eyes open? It doesn’t matter how many photos you take; AI software will only show you the images where everyone has their eyes open.

Close the Aperture

You should close the aperture if photographing large groups staggered in several rows. You could also want to show the background clearly. Therefore, closed apertures make sense for groups.

More Natural Group Photos

Immediately after photographing a group, we shouted no one should look at the camera anymore. The guests are momentarily puzzled; many laugh and need help figuring out where to look. They start looking at each other, which at least brings a natural smile to everyone’s face. Try it!


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