When I discuss group shots with couples at the 2nd consultation (1 month before the wedding day), I usually get asked to take a big group shot including all the wedding party and guests. This is something I can always accommodate, but it always helps to shoot from an elevated position to ensure that all faces are visible in the final photograph.
If I haven’t shot at a venue before I will always pay a visit prior to the wedding day in order to find good locations for the bride & groom portraits. I will also locate a suitable place for the group shots – what I am looking for is a space large enough to accommodate potentially a significant number of guests, offering a simple uncluttered background.
To obtain the necessary elevation I often have to use my initiative. In the photo at the top of this page you can see that I have commandeered (with permission) one of the bedrooms at Briars Hall Hotel. On this occasion I recall that I had to clamber over furniture and balance precariously whilst shooting through an open window. The photograph (top right) shows the advantage of shooting from a high vantage point, with everyone clearly visible in the frame. Of course, not all venues offer such ‘easy’ access to cater for the ‘big group shot’, and on such occasions I always carry with me a large stepladder which usually provides just enough additional height to make the group shot workable.
I advise couples to keep their group shots to a maximum of 10. I can usually complete this number of photographs in around 20 minutes, which means that guests are not waiting around too long during the session, and the bride and groom can maximise time relaxing and enjoying their day with family and friends.