When it comes to wedding party photos, the opportunities are endless. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are chosen because they are part of a trusted circle in the bride and groom’s lives. However, the mix of personalities and styles that accompany this variety within a group can make for both interesting and challenging images. We had our expert photographers give us some of their best advice so brides and photographers alike can plan ahead and acieve photos of their wedding party that they will love and cherish.
10 Tips for your Best Wedding Party Photos:
“Whether the couple opts to do group shots before or after the wedding, it always helps when they let their wedding party know ahead of time that they need to stick around for photos. Giving your bridal party the heads up that they will be needed for a photo session is always a good idea, especially for those who are eager to get the celebratory drinking started!”
“Prepare your wedding party to be flexible and patient. Be honest about how long wedding party photos will take and let them know that they might be hungry, thirsting, cold or hot, but that the photos mean a lot to you.”
2. Plan ahead for personalities.
“Members of your court are your best friends so you know their personalities best. At some point when speaking with your photographer before the big day, give them an idea of the characteristics of your bridesmaids and groomsmen. This way your photographer can plan ahead of time of how they might photograph the group portraits. Is the Best Man a class clown but the Maid of Honor very shy? These are very helpful details for your photographer.”
“A goofy, fun-loving wedding party should have goofy, funny pictures. A more subdued crowd should have more classic photos. But trying to force goofy pictures on a serious crowd will just be awkward. So be sure to talk with your photographer about your ideas beforehand, to help avoid any awkward moments at the wedding.”
“Have a least one friend in your court (bride and groom) that knows how to keep you calm and laughing and that everyone listens to so that they can wrangle in the group if people are getting too rowdy or aren’t paying attention to the schedule.”
“Ask someone who knows your family well, but isn’t in the wedding party, to assist with the pictures. Then, if your best man wanders off to the bar, or your mom is chatting with an aunt, you’ll have a runner who knows the group and can corral any strays! They can also help collect the group that’s ‘on deck’ for pictures, making your day less stressful.”
4. Use your surroundings and don’t forget the details.
“Use the environment you are in! Your wedding is on a dude ranch? Play up that theme. A chic urban hotel? Utilize the city streets for your wedding party portraits, incorporating where you are getting married will better help tell the story of your day!”
“Sometimes you become so wrapped up in the people that you ignore the backdrop and cool details in your surroundings, which if used correctly, can add another wonderful element to your wedding party photos. Look for cool exteriors, fixtures, epic landscapes, glorious views and implement those aspects into your shot.”
“Wedding parties LOVE photos that are stylish and scream, ‘we are the coolest and most beautiful group of groomsmen and bridesmaids known to mankind!’ Create this imagery by putting your subjects on different levels and/or layers, gives your photo dimension and intrigue.”
“When posing bridal party portraits, try arranging them boy/girl/boy/girl rather than putting all the girls on one side and all the boys on the other. This creates a more visually interesting composition and is a nice change from the predictable bridal party shot.”
6. Interact with each other!
“By giving everyone a task — i.e., talk to the person next to you, look cool, look busy, etc. — group photos look slightly posed but still very natural.”
“Talk and laugh with your bridesmaids, show off your new ring, fix your dad’s tie, give your grandmother a kiss on the cheek.”
“Look for different angles. When we think of portraits, we think faces but, what about holding your best friends hands while you pray? Or arms around your college buddies? You picked the people in your wedding party because of how special they are too you, so picking up on those special bonding moments is important as well.”
“Give your wedding matching items (such as ties, jewelry, socks, time pieces, scarves, belt buckles) as gifts once everyone arrives for the getting ready so that for sure no one forgets to bring them for photos.”
“Bring props! If you’ve been dreaming of a shot with your bridesmaids, on a footbridge over a river, holding pink umbrellas, then you should do it. If the groomsmen love pipes and cigars, bring them! What bride (or groom) would miss out on an excuse to go accessory shopping?”
8. Have fun with wedding party photos!
“Inform your wedding party to have fun! Wedding photography doesn’t have to be so stiff anymore. Take a nice one for mom and then loosen up and get creative!”
“Have fun, chances are your wedding party is comprised of your closest friends and family, make sure that you capture that fun loving relationship, you don’t have to stand in a straight line the whole time!”
9….But not too much fun!
“Tell the wedding party not to excessively drink the night before the wedding or before the ceremony. They will feel miserable and that comes through in wedding party photos.”
“While we enjoy taking great shots of the wedding party, we always make sure the bride & groom remain the center of attention in the image. Whether that means placing them in the center of the photo, at a higher level or toward the front — we always make sure our couple remains in the spotlight … no matter how epically cool or beautiful their bridal party may be!”
One final recommendation for wedding party photos from Kristin Griffin Photography:
“Just like you’re going over a ‘do not play’ list with your DJ, you might want to have a brief ‘do not shoot’ list with your photographer. If you’ve seen wedding party photographs on wedding inspiration blogs or even the photographer’s own site that don’t suit your style, speak up. I’ve had brides pin boards, email links and send magazine clippings to express their ideal wedding party portraits, but the ‘please avoid these’ pics are just as helpful. Just make sure you clearly label which is which!”
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