The Family Group Photos
Your wedding is the perfect occasion to get that family photo your parents have always wanted
Generally these are the photographs that are most often bought as prints and they are sure to be framed and found on the mantelpiece or grand piano. Perfect for reminiscing so let’s embrace the challenge and do it properly. I refer to this part of the day as the ‘family groups’ while some photographers call them ‘the formals.’ Personally I’m not sure the word ‘formals’ Is quite right when working with families who aren’t particularly formal themselves. Of course if you are that way inclined I can photograph you formally but I’m all about listening to each family’s ideas about how they wish to be represented.
Your chosen venue partially represents who you are and gives a nod to your own individual style. For example if you have chosen a luxury 5 star hotel with all the trimmings,then your photographs will probably be more formal than if you had chosen a flower covered tipi in a meadow. Either way it’s your wedding and your photos, so just tell me how you would like to be represented.
HOW LONG SHOULD WE ALLOCATE FOR FAMILY GROUPS?
This depends on how many groups you have and how good your ushers are at bringing me the folk in question. I’m definitely one for quality over quantity. I would rather take time getting people how and where I want them (on chairs or whatever I can get my hands on), than have an endless supply of badly composed line ups. I like to find the best location out of direct sunlight with the prettiest backdrop then arrange people at different levels so that everyone’s visible. On average allow 10 minutes to get the people in the right place and 5 minutes for me to arrange and photograph each set.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME?
This will depend on your wedding. If for instance you are getting married in a church, it is tradition to have your family photographs outside the church. It may be better to wait until we reach your venue as we will have more time for creativity and the guests will be relieved not to have to hang around the churchyard for ages. We can sort this out when we meet and make a plan of action.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT’S TIPPING DOWN?
I’m not fazed by rain. I always travel with a full lighting kit so we can do them inside. I’ll get one usher to find the folk I need and the other can start to move the furniture while I set up the lighting kit. We will need 10 minutes for lighting set up and space preparation and another 5 minutes for each group set.
WHAT ABOUT A PHOTOGRAPH OF EVERYONE?
No problem. I can hang out of a window or stand on a table and shout orders at your guests if you wish. Visually I’m not sure they are ever very pleasing but they do give you an important record of everyone who came to celebrate your wedding.
- Well before the wedding work out which family groups you would like, remember the quality over quantity rule!
- Try and keep each group to a maximum of 15 people, anymore than this and heads can get lost. Also if we are working inside we may be limited to space.
- Brief your ushers before hand and make sure they are capable of rounding up guests. (They have a tendency to hide behind the bar at this point)!
- List all the names of the people in each group on the form I will send you before the wedding, remember I don’t know who’s who.
One thing I will not do is arrange the guests in a heart shape. Sorry I have to draw the line somewhere!