Category Archives: bride portraits

10 Tips to help your Group Wedding Photos Run Smoothly

Group Wedding Photo

Group wedding photos are one of the potential logistical pitfalls at a wedding. They normally take place between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, and  involve a lot of different shots compressed into a relatively short time frame. If things don’t run smoothly, guests get bored, caterers start to get anxious, and it can kill the atmosphere of the wedding.

Ideally, all your group shots should be agreed with your photographer at your wedding planning meeting. I usually advise my clients to set aside about 45 minutes for group photographs. Most wedding schedules allow between one and two hours between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, around an hour and a half would be the average. So if you allow 20 mins after the wedding for everyone to have a drink and congratulate the newlyweds, 5 or 10 minutes or so to corral everyone for a confetti shot you generally have a total of one hour to fit photos into. I don’t like to schedule all of this time as it is important to have a bit of leeway in case people disappear or are just difficult to round up.  I prefer to work pretty quickly and keep things moving. Your guests’ enthusiasm can start to wane as you approach the hour mark. Luckily there are plenty of things you can do to make sure this part of the wedding runs smoothly, and is enjoyable for you and your guests. These are my top ten tips to ensure group photos don’t become a chore that frustrates you and bores your guests.

1.Make Sure You Have a List.

The first step into making sure your group photos run smoothly is to agree a list of photos with your wedding photographer beforehand. Your photographer can guide you as to how long he thinks it will take and advise you if you have missed anything. If you are pressed for time in your wedding schedule the best way to make sure you run to time is to not have too many small variations in your list, or combine related shots into one larger group. For example, shoot bridesmaids and ushers as one group instead of photographing them separately. I always bring two or three hard copies if the list to each wedding. One for me and another for whoever is helping me round people up.

2. Start with large groups and gradually send people away.

It’s usually best to start off with the largest groups as people are easier to round up just after the ceremony, and less likely to have wandered off. Also guests tend to be smartest early on in the wedding, and loosen ties and take off jackets as the day goes on. Things like that can be hard to spot in a group of 120 people! Whittle the groups down so that immediate family and closest friends are last, as they are usually the most invested in having photos taken with you.

wedding photography in west sussex

3. Ushers and Bridesmaids are Best for Rounding People Up.

I like to have someone to round up the the next group of guest while I am concentrating on the current shot. This should be someone who knows who most of the guests are. So if I say I need Auntie Mavis for the next photo, someone who knows what she looks like can go and fetch her. That’s why it is best to get an usher or bridesmaid to be the shot wrangler, it makes things a lot quicker.

 4. Can People get Refreshments while they are Waiting?

Whenever possible it is better to shoot groups at the wedding reception where guests can get refreshments while waiting to be photographed. If I shoot group photos at the church I tend to work to a fairly short list and then complete them at the reception venue, especially in the height of the summer when people can be waiting around in the hot sun without access to water. This is especially true if you have older guests or small children in the wedding party.

wedding photographer in west sussex

5. Prioritise Older Guests.

If you have elderly family members at your wedding make sure they are photographed quickly and are not left standing around for obvious reasons. If you can make sure there is a place to sit nearby, so much the better.

6. Keep your Shooting Location close to the Wedding Guests.

This can be a real time saver. If the groups are shot even two minutes from where everyone is gathering it will take a minimum of four minutes to find that missing person or go and get a missing bouquet. This time can really add up if you are shooting 20 groups. Always make sure that your shooting location makes logistical sense as well as being nice to look at.

sussex wedding photographer

7. Make allowances for complicated family situations.

It is sometimes the case that a bride or grooms parents might be divorced or remarried. Often both birth and step parents are attending the wedding. In situations like this make sure your photographer knows exactly who is who so he or she doesn’t inadvertently cause offense or embarrassment. Sometimes this means shooting extra groups so that everyone feels valued and included, other times it just means carefully arranging individuals so no one feels uncomfortable.

 

8. If your list is too long – split it up.

There is nothing that says you have to shoot all of your group photos in one long session. You can just as easily break the list down and shoot groups at different times during the day. Groom and Bridal parties before the ceremony, family after the ceremony, and friends after the meal can work well. Breaking group sessions down into 10 minute chunks can make the a lot more manageable.

9. Make sure you have a plan for bad weather.

If you are unlucky and it rains on your wedding day, having a contingency plan will worth its weight in gold. You might be able to use an indoor space or have a decent supply of umbrellas, but having a plan will put your mind at ease. Nothing guarantees that it won’t rain on your wedding day like buying half a dozen white umbrellas!

10. Enjoy Yourself

I often tell my clients it’s my job to worry and your job to enjoy yourself. Do all your planning beforehand and then let the professionals at your wedding look after you, that’s what we’re all here for. From my point of view the happier the wedding party is, the easier it is to take great photos of them. Keeping you happy makes my job much easier!

 

Tobias Key is a wedding photographer in Chichester, West Sussex. My dedicated wedding photography website is wedding.tobiaskey.com

 

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Also posted in Advice for Clients, Brighton wedding photographer, Chichester photographer, Chichester wedding photographer, Hints and Tips, wedding photographer, wedding photography

I need a wedding photographer – but I don’t like having my picture taken!

There's no point hiding behind that flower. At some point I'm going to have to take your photo

There’s no point hiding behind that flower. At some point I’m going to have to take your photo

It may seem surprising, but for many of  the couples I work with, at least one of them will be nervous about having their picture taken. One of my main jobs as a wedding photographer is putting people at their ease, or at least making them a bit less nervous! You can have all the photography skills in the world, but when you’re working with people, especially people who may not of worked with a professional photographer before, interpersonal skills are even more important. Building a good relationship with my clients is essential to building trust, and if the people I working with trust me to do a good job, it will help them to relax.

If you are getting married soon these are my top tips if you are nervous  about being photographed.

Enjoy your Day

The simplest and best tip of all. You’ll love your wedding day and that joy will be written all over your face. Every couple I’ve photographed has had this particular glow about them, a combination of happiness and excitement that photographs really well. Your wedding is not just another day and the photos you receive will reflect that.

Most of the Time you Won’t even Know you’re being Photographed.

Most of the pictures I shoot at a wedding are not posed pictures. Most of the time while I’m taking pictures while you’re doing something else, little things like declaring you wedding vows or walking down the aisle!  A lot of the time you are not even aware of being photographed, so the photos are natural . These photos are also more ‘real’. nervous grooms look nervous, emotional mums cry and children try to take it all in. The fact that I’m telling a story rather than trying to create too many posed images means there’s less onus on the bride and groom to pull a happy face and pose for the camera. It’s a win-win. You get to enjoy your wedding day and get great pictures in the process.

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You are Going to Look your Absolute Best.

Remember that this isn’t just another day. Everyone is going to be dressed to the nines, hairdressers and make make up artists are going to polish you to perfection. You are going to look fantastic. On a day when you are going to look so great it isn’t it important to have a record of it? That’s what your photographer is there for.

Your Photographer is there to Help you.

As a wedding photographer, people tell me that they are nervous about being photographed all the time. Many couples will have never hired a professional photographer before, so don’t realise that being photographed by a professional photographer is very different to being photographed by friends or family. A professional photographer will know how to help you look your best and will offer advice and help where needed. Professional photographers tend to use telephoto lenses for portraits too so they’ll be further away which will help you feel more comfortable. I have photographed people of all shapes, ages and sizes, so very little throws me and I have plenty of experience of making all sorts of different people look their best. Unlike an amateur, I’ll be familiar with my local venues and where the best photo opportunities are. I have literally hundreds of weddings under my belt. I am here to help. If you have a side you prefer being photographed from or a feature you’d like minimised just tell me and I’ll oblige. Woken up with a spot or blemish on the big day? That’s what Photoshop is for.

Make sure you get a shoot before your wedding day

Preparation is key. That is why I always like to shoot with my couples before their wedding day. It can be an engagement shoot or a pre-wedding meeting at your venue, but I always like to photograph couples before their wedding day. That’s where I get a sense of how they are in front of the camera, and what I have to do to make you look you best. There is a time for coaching couples how to be photographed and that time is not your wedding day. By arranging a separate date with no time pressure, I can show couples how to stand, what to do with their hands and all the other things that turn an awkward photo into a great one. It also helps couples because by working with me beforehand they can see what I can do to make them look great, so they’ll trust me to do a good job on the day. They’ll relax a little bit more and worry a little less. That in itself makes the pictures better.

 

With a little planning and a bit of practice there is no reason why even the most photo-phobic bride or groom can’t have brilliant photos of their wedding day. The main thing is to communicate those fears to your photographer so he can help you. There are lots of things he can do to make your experience less stressful, and help you look your best. Remember photographers need great photos for their portfolios as much as you want them for your wedding album, so they’ll always be happy to help.

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Also posted in Chichester photographer, Sussex wedding photographer, Uncategorized Tagged , , , |

The Caseys’ Wedding – Brighton Bandstand and Fabrica

Brighton Bandstand Wedding

 

Sean and Amy got married at Brighton Bandstand which is a great summer venue for weddings. I got there in plenty of time, I have a morbid fear of the traffic and parking in Brighton and can’t really feel confident about being at a weddding on time unless my car is safely parked up with plenty of time to spare.  They had a beautiful late summers day for their ceremony. The wedding ceremony was performed by the registrars from Brighton town hall, and were up to their usual high standards they were friendly and  relaxed and really made the day feel special. Sean and Amy wanted quite informal photographs at the ceremony along with the normal family groups and with a bit of judicious photoshopping I was able to create a bit of clear beach for photo if the two of them in front of Brighton’s iconic but decaying West Pier.

Brighton Wedding

Fabrica Wedding

After group shots were finished the wedding party moved on to the reception at Fabrica Art Gallery where I set up a photo-booth for the wedding guests to pose with some wild and wacky props. I split my time between the booth and taking candid portraits of the guests as well as the speeches, details of the cake and the general decor, so needless to say I was kept very busy. I was very pleased by the images and enjoyed setting up and shooting the photo booth. It is not something I normally do at a wedding but it’s nice to shake things up once in a while.

It always great to shoot Wedding Photography in Brighton. The town has it’s own unique atmosphere, and is very different from anywhere else on the south coast. This is something that I think spills over into events there, it almost feels that I am at a destination wedding even though it is one hour from my house.

Toby

I am a full time Wedding Photographer in Brighton and West Sussex. You can see more of my work on my Portfolio Page and prices in my Wedding Packages and Investment section.

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Also posted in brighton, Brighton photographer, Brighton wedding photographer, Customer information, Sussex wedding photographer, wedding photographer, wedding photography