It’s time to say hello to March and also hello to this week’s feature, the next in my series offering ‘Advice for the Romantic Bride. After looking at how to achieve beautiful fine art photographs during the bridal preparation and giving tips about having an unplugged ceremony, today I’m going to be looking at the group and formal photos.
Hopefully I’ll pass on some great tips so you can be sure even the most formal of photos will be romantic and in keeping with your chosen style of fine art wedding photography.
Firstly, let’s just look at the group and formal photos in a bit more detail. These are usually taken after the wedding ceremony itself or during your cocktail hour or drinks reception, depending on the timing and location of the wedding. In my opinion as a London wedding photographer and as someone who works as a wedding photographer in Italy and Greece, this relaxed section of the day is the perfect time for photos.
However, I’d strongly urge you to consider requesting more candid photos of guests rather than endless formal photos. As a natural light wedding photographer, this is usually the perfect time of day to capture wonderful, real and spontaneous moments in a great reportage style so you can look back at your wedding photographs and see guests really enjoying themselves.
I do advise my couples to limit the number of formal photos and I also completely understand that whilst you’ve got a professional wedding photographer on hand, you’ll want to make the most of this with some once-in-a-lifetime images.
So, these are my top tips for formal photos:
1. Carefully consider who you want in your formal photos. I would suggest limiting those included to parents, siblings, grandparents, bridesmaids and groomsmen. The more people you include, the longer the process takes.
2. Look at the timings of your day. Every group photo takes at least three minutes so 15-20 formal photos will use up around 45-60 minutes of your wedding day. This is time away from all your guests and that can be a real shame, particularly at a destination wedding.
3. Task a groomsman or two with making sure everyone needed for group photos is in the right place at the right time. This will allow your wedding photographer to be as time efficient as possible.
4. Ask a bridesmaid to make sure that you and your partner have got drinks and nibbles otherwise you might miss out. Standing around, especially in the heat of Italy or Greece, for photos can be thirsty work!
5. Provide your photographer with a list of formal photos required in the month before your wedding so that they have time to plan properly, cutting down on any wasted time on the day.
6. When you write your list, include the names of everyone required in the photo. This will help you make sure that you don’t miss out anyone important and you’ll be able to see if you’re replicating shots.
7. If it’s important to you that your photographer captures a certain guest, make sure someone points that person out and your photographer knows exactly who they are. This allows you to get some fab informal shots that can often be more meaningful than a posed formal photo.
8. If you can advise guests before the wedding day when the formal photos will be taking place, you’ll find that they’re less likely to wander off or go missing at a crucial moment!
9. Remember that you don’t need to include the bride and groom portraits in timings for this session when you’re planning. As a fine art wedding photographer who loves romantic images, I like to take the two of you away from prying eyes at another point in the day.
10. Try to limit the numbers of guests in each shot – the more people you try to get in the group, the smaller they’ll be in the finished photo.
I hope these tips for fabulous and stress-free formal and group photography have been helpful. The next of my ‘Advice for the Romantic Bride’ series will be coming soon so why not connect with me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates?
If you’re planning a destination wedding in Italy (or indeed a destination wedding in Greece or even further afield!) and you’d like to find out more about my destination wedding photography then please do get in touch.
Finally, don’t forget my Facebook group for couples marrying in Italy – come and say hello!