Creating the Big Picture – The contentious subject of the Wedding Group Shot

Today I am delighted to welcome one of my lovely Sponsors Shaun Ward to talk about a subject that is always a point of contention within the subject matter of Wedding Photography.
Just the mention of wedding group shots will produce a collective groan amongst Photographers, and quite a lot of the time the Bride and Groom too.
 Shaun says, “They are seen as one of these necessary evils by some – you need to take them but they are really just interrupting the fun stuff.”
“BUT…. and the but is a very big but. The group shots are just as important to the wedding day as that great picture with the bride set against a wonderful sky.”
“This is a family event. All the people the bride and groom feel are important to them have gathered together to share in one of the biggest events in the couple’s life. And it is this togetherness that the group images are part of.”
“In years to come we all want to remember Uncle John, who sadly passed away sharing this day with us. Or how happy the family were being together etc..
So wouldn’t it be better if we thought of wedding group shots with this in mind. Realising they are just as important as all the other images although that importance may not become apparent until years to come.”
“So how can we make it a more enjoyable experience for all? Simply by communicating.”
“Keep talking and work that bit harder to make sure your clients enjoy the experience. Its not really that hard and just involves caring about the people you are photographing instead of seeing them as the next names on the list.”
“This is obviously coming from a photographers point of view but hopefully the next section, as well as the former will be useful to those about to get married. 
This is how I approach the group shots.
“This begins probably 2-3 months before the big day. I send the couple a wedding image planner which allows them to make a list of all the people that want in their group shots. This allows them to talk to their parents etc and suddenly they feel like this is a important part of the wedding.”
“They send me the planner, and then I put together a shot list from the largest group to the smallest (The Bride and Groom). I send this list and allow the couple to decide if they want any changes.”
“We now have a list for the day which the couple have seen, most likely the parents have seen so on the day it is not such surprise to everyone. 
Then on the day I give a copy to the ushers who help me get people together. This is important as it allows me time to talk to the couple , parents, grandparents etc as they are collecting others.”
“Remember that word communication – that is the most important point. 
By following this method at weddings I can get through all the group shots ( I can do 25 in 30 minutes easily) and it is a great enjoyable experience for all including me.”
“So by planning a little ahead group shots don’t need to be the dreaded point of the wedding but can actually be fun”
Thanks to Shaun for sharing his wise words….I feel personally that this pre preparation is imperative to ensure smooth running on the day.
Of course this won’t apply to every Bride and Groom as some just like to go with the flow of the day and this is down to individual choice but a Photographer will be chosen not only on the quality of the images but also the style that the couple most identify with.
Guest Blog Credit – Shaun Ward
For more information on  his work – Shaun Ward Photography


UK Wedding Blogger with an eclectic style based in Glasgow

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