Useful Tips: Family/Guest Photos

It's not very often that you get all of the people you love in the same place at the same time. You're probably going to want pictures of everyone, but with all the other things you want photographed that day you might wonder how you're going to fit everything in. It is possible to get it all done as long as you plan your wedding in the right way. It is all in the planning...

bride and bridesmaids laughing cape town wedding

Keep your guests informed

After the ceremony, signing, and throwing of the confetti, the group shot usually takes place. It really doesn't take long to do a group photo - about 10 minutes. The key to doing it quickly is to have an announcement at the end of the ceremony, while you have everyone's attention, informing the guests of what is happening next e.g. signing, confetti, group photo, family photos, etc. This will prevent the guests from wandering off after the ceremony. If they do wander off it is very difficult and time consuming to get them all back together. And, if time is wasted at this point it will make everything else run late. So, keeping your guests informed is a big part of having a successfully planned wedding.

Happy helpers

One major advantage you will have at your wedding, and one you should make the most of, is that you will have all the people you care about there willing to lend a hand to help make this the happiest day of your life.

Assign certain people small roles to assist in making things run smoothly.

Create a list of family photos that you want, in advance. The list will prevent you from forgetting anyone. Give the list to the MC. Have a few friends - ones who will know most of the guests between them - and tell them to help the MC to call on the people when it is their turn for a photo. This is the most time efficient way of organising the family photos.

Formal photos

After the ceremony is the best time to do the family photos as everyone is still looking their best. If you follow the steps above it really doesn't take long to do them. If you want formal photos with other guests then this is the best time to do it.

Grouping the guests together is a good way of getting the photos done quickly. A good idea that one of our couples had for their wedding was to use the seating plan for the reception to group the guests together for formal photos. The MC had the seating plan and called out the names for each photo.

Just remember, it usually takes about 1 minute per photo. So, if you have created a list of 20 combinations then it will take about 20 minutes. That should help you to know how much time you should leave for family photos.

Casual photos

If you don't want formal photos with all the guests, or you think there won't be enough time, you can do them later at the reception. But, make sure to leave time for it.

Again, it will take about one minute per photo.

You can walk round to each table and do a shot there. This works, but doesn't always look great if the tables are messy.

Another option is to let the photographer choose a nice spot in the reception hall for these photos. Then have the MC announce, on the microphone, for each table to come up, one at a time. This is a really good thing to do if you have a buffet planned. Rather than have the guests all piling up to queue for food, they first come up for a photo with the Bride & Groom and then go and get their food. This helps control the flow of people going to the buffet. It is also good fun and gives you a chance to interact with everyone a bit more.

Although I use the terms 'formal photos' and 'casual photos', the photos can always be whatever you want them to be. A good photographer is just there to capture your wedding and will welcome suggestions. So, if you want all your photos to be fun then just have fun al the time.

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Happy Planning :)


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