If you want easy, stress free group photos that don’t take forever and allow you to actually enjoy time during your reception here are my top tips to keep things running smoothly.

1. Keep the number of shots down

I recommend no more than 10 individual combinations. Do you really need all 20 of the groups you initially considered? Do you really want to spend the whole of your reception taking group photos? 
Prioritise which shots you really want within the formal photo time e.g. immediate family, bridal party, parents. Don’t forget, your photographer is generally there for most of the day so there will be time during the day to grab them for more spontaneous photos of other groups and people. The formal photo time should be kept for the closest and most important groups.

2. Allow enough time for each group shot

Not allowing enough time for the groups is the most common mistake made when working out the wedding reception timings. For groups of 6 people or less you should allow 3 minutes to round up, arrange and take the photo. For larger groups allow for 5 minutes. A photo of the everyone at the wedding can easily take 10-15 minutes to sort out. 

3. Allocate a couple of people the responsibility of helping round people up

Choose someone who will be happy to help and who is responsible enough to be useful! Often its useful for one of the people to be a family member so they will know who the guests are. They will need to be nice but firm in rounding guests up and someone who has a slightly louder voice can be useful for making announcements! I am happy to help gather people but guests are generally more responsive to a charming bridesmaid or smooth talking usher than a photographer they don’t know.

4. Talk to your parents about the groups

This is sometimes the point in the day where differences of opinion on who should and shouldn’t be included can happen. To avoid spending ages lining up extra people for photos, have a chat to your parents before hand. This way you can either add in ones they would like before the day or at least discuss what you are wanting to do.

5. List your shots in a streamlined way

To make the best use of the time you have its good to arrange the order of the shots in a way that makes logical sense. If you have one person in shot 1 and then again in shot 5 the chances are you will lose them and it will take time to get them back again. I tend to start with the larger family shots, which is especially helpful if they include grandparents who don’t want to be standing around for too long. From there you can slowly remove people and work down to shots with parents. 
Here is my recommended wedding group shot list for your wedding photographer:

– brides & grooms extended family
– brides & grooms immediate family
– brides & grooms parents
– brides parents
– grooms parents
– brides & groom friends
– bridesmaids
– ushers and best man
– bridesmaids, ushers and best man

6. Let your photographer guide you

My primary concern when choosing a place for the group photos is somewhere that has good light. I’m not going to suggest you stand in front of the bins, but the beautiful spot you thought would work might not work so well if its in the glaring sun, leaving you squinting with panda like shadows under your eyes. This is never going to be flattering! If you really have your heart set on a particularly spot have a chat to your photographer about it. It might be that you will need to do these photos later in the day when the sun is lower and the light softer.

7. Be creative 


For the most part your group photos will be arranged in a line or group where everyone can be seen. However, you don’t have to have all your photos done this way. While your granny might not be up for doing anything too unusual, you can do something a little different with the wedding party photo. I always take a guide from my couples about doing group photos that are a little less static. Not everyone want to do that (which is totally fine), but if you do you can add some movement (walking, jumping, holding a pose, it’s up to you), or do something a little out of the norm with where you have the photo taken or how you set it up (use chairs, use a part of the venue that is particularly striking). Have fun, a brilliant group photo doesn’t always need everyone looking to camera. Sometimes the loveliest ones are when the people in the photo are interacting.

Anyway, I always remind my couples that I am there for the day, so there is no panic in getting photos with friends or more distant relatives. I am available to be grabbed during the reception or later in the evening and these spontaneous photos can be a lot of fun for everyone.