Should you ask your wedding photographer for a group photo of everyone at your wedding?

As a documentary wedding photographer who thinks group photos are important I still don’t think that having a group photo of everyone is always the best idea. With over 13 years experience as a wedding photographer I would be telling a porky pie if I had said I’ve never done a photo of everyone as a group at a wedding. But it is that experience that I have been able to pull on to explain a few things to think about when considering asking for a large group photo. You may well decide that asking your photographer for a group photo of everyone at your wedding isn’t necessarily a bad idea, after reading a few of these considerations I think you should keep in mind. It doesn’t mean I won’t do the photo you want but I would also rather educate you on my experiences doing it so you can make an informed decision.

Logistics

Group photos require organisation and coordination. Your photographer or designated photo helpers will need time to gather everyone together in a suitable area with good lighting. Then, the photographer will arrange them in a pleasing composition and take multiple shots to ensure everyone looks their best. This process can take up a significant portion of your wedding day timeline, especially if you have many guests or a complex setup for the photo.

Timing

Choosing the right time to take group photos is crucial. After the wedding ceremony and, everyone giving you hugs and well wishes is a common choice, as everyone is already gathered in one place. However, remember that guests may be eager to move on to the reception or bar, so you’ll need to balance getting the shots you want with allowing guests to enjoy the festivities. It can also work during the reception, but guests might be more scattered or occupied with other activities, making it trickier to gather everyone together.

Formal vs. Candid

There should be a balance between formal and candid photography on a wedding day in my opinion. Group photos can range from formal posed shots to more candid, spontaneous moments. While formal portraits have a timeless elegance and are often cherished by couples and their families, candid shots can capture the genuine joy and emotion of the day. The more time spent on the group photos, the less time it leaves to capture unique, candid moments of yourselves and your guests. Having a group photo of everyone will certainly take a big chunk of that time.

Inclusivity

Ensuring every guest is included in a group photo can be challenging, especially if you have a large wedding or if guests are spread out across multiple areas of your venue. Some guests might step away to use the facilities, grab a drink, or chat with friends, and it can be difficult to track everyone down for the photo. Even will photo helpers to gather people, it can still take a considerable amount of time.

Venue and Background

When planning group photos, consider the layout and aesthetics of your venue. Is there a scenic backdrop or architectural feature that would make for a beautiful setting? Communicate with your photographer about any specific locations or backdrops you have in mind, and they can help you choose the best spot for optimal lighting and composition.

Size of the Group

The size of your wedding party and guest list can impact the logistics of taking a group photo. Larger groups will require more time to organise and pose and a wider space to fit everyone comfortably in the frame. If you have a particularly large wedding, you might need to plan for multiple group photos rather than one big group photo to ensure everyone is included.

Guest Cooperation

While you can plan and coordinate the group photo to the best of your ability, ultimately, the cooperation of your guests is key. Encourage everyone to participate and follow the photographer’s instructions for a smooth and efficient photo session. Assigning a couple of trusted family members or members of the wedding party to help gather guests can also be helpful in ensuring everyone is present for the photo. Often, it can also be a big challenge to arrange people so that everyone can be seen, and people end up hidden behind someone else, which kind of defeats the point of taking the photo.

Ultimately it’s up to you

Considering these factors can help you decide whether asking your photographer for a group photo of everyone at your wedding is the right choice. However, I think having a large photo of everyone can spoil the day’s vibe by breaking everyone away from what they’re doing to have a photo. It doesn’t mean you can’t have one. If you decide to go for it; communicate openly with your photographer to ensure they clearly understand your vision and can help make it happen smoothly on the day of your wedding.

Losehill House wedding photo

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