My secret weapon – the wedding group photo

By Emily

Would you like to know my most secret weapon on a wedding day? I kind of don’t want to share it but I’d love so much for every wedding to be easier even if I’m not there, because for some odd reason I genuinely care about people I don’t even know.

I was a guest and bridesmaid at a few weddings before I became a photographer. The photos weren’t something I enjoyed and I actually worked out a lot of things I wanted to do differently before I even photographed my first one.

The main thing I wanted to change…GROUP PHOTOS!

If you’ve been to a wedding then you’re likely to know what I mean when I say how stressful and annoying the group photos can be. As a guest you just want to relax and the photographer is getting you in and out of photos, shouting for different people and just generally not making the day a pleasant experience.
If you haven’t been to a wedding then I’ve probably just put you off the idea of ever going to one or getting married…but don’t panic just yet…there is light to be found at the end of the tunnel.

All you need is a simple routine, one you know off by heart in your head, something that makes perfect sense, enabling the guests to enjoy the ‘relaxing’ part of the wedding, where even though lunchtime was 3 hours ago you drink bubbley liquid and eat little food. This routine is so ridiculously easy and when you hit on it you think you’re stupid for not realising it before, you also start to wonder why you’ve never seen another photographer who does it.

Start BIG with getting everyone together. You want the less able to start getting across the lawn, the children to be found from under the sweet table and drunk Auntie Jill out of the toilets. If you start small then all these people won’t be around when they’re needed and it’ll take ages to do the photos. So…
No.1 Group photo of all guests. Then select one side, for arguments side we’ll go No.2 Grooms side, this means aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, siblings and parents of the groom. Notice the fact that currently you’ve only lost people out the photo, no dramas yet. *Make sure when you announce grooms side, you inform the guests they’ll be needed very soon and they’re not to go anywhere.
No.3 Grooms Immediate this means losing the aunties, uncles, cousins, and grand parents.
No. 4 Grooms Parents
No.5 both parents – inform the grooms parents they can go relax
No.6 brides parents – for the next few photos you do the opposite and instead of slowly losing people, you slowly keep people.
No.7 brides immediate you’re probably getting an idea of how this works now but I’ll carry on anyway.
No.8 bride’s side. So now you tell everyone but the couple to go relax and call across
No.9 All friends and as the bridal party will be in this bunch of people you do No.10 all of bridal party
No.11 just the groomsmen
No.12 just the bride and bridesmaids
I can do all this in 15minutes, which means everyone can spend time enjoying themselves and most importantly they’re not getting stressed.

This approach to dealing with what can be considered as the most stressful part of the wedding is something I like to teach those photographers on South West Photographers, the more any photographer understands that it’s not only the photography that matters but also how you deal with situations, the better they will be.

Hopefully I haven’t now completely put you off weddings, and you feel a little more at ease with how simple it all can be. I love photographing weddings and finding little hacks that make it enjoyable and simple. Do you have any hacks you’ve learnt that I might find handy?

Much Love
Em x

By Emily


“My aim is to always capture an event in a very natural fashion, making sure it is remembered correctly. My people skills make this easier as everyone is always able to be themselves in front of the camera."