Do you really need wedding group photos? 7 USEFUL TIPS

About the photographers

We are Cotswolds wedding photographers based in Hereford, UK and we have photographed over 400 weddings now. If you think about it, roughly there is about 10 (8-12) group images per wedding. That’s why we can say we have taken over 4000 wedding group photos so far.

Many people say that we have the patience of an angel! And we agree!

group pictures at weddings

If you think about the number of wedding photos delivered in total, roughly 800 per wedding, that will be well over 320 000 photos. And we usually take about 5000 photos at a wedding – so that’s over one and a half million photos taken. That’s quite a good experience and we’re loving it!

Wedding photos are your memories

Your wedding photos are so important – they will hold you memories and they will be the one thing you will have left once your wedding day is gone. That’s why choosing the right wedding photographer for you is so important, the photographer that fits YOUR style and personality.

Engaged couples are very often interested in natural and creative wedding photography. They want something that really captures their true nature and that’s why the term ‘FORMAL WEDDING PICTURES’, ‘GROUP SHOTS’ or ‘GROUP WEDDING PHOTOS’ sounds too traditional.

group photo at Dewsall Court

No matter how original the wedding is, every bride and groom will still want wedding group photos. If you think about it, how many opportunities do you actually get to have EVERYONE you love around you on one day?

double rainbow

Formal group pictures – the comments

The long lists of formal pictures are rather impractical so I’ve done some research and I’ve gathered some amazing thoughts on the group shots. This is exactly the type of the wedding group photos we’ve always tried to achieve. Big thanks to our awesome couples for giving us their feedback!

wedding reception

Natural looking group pictures

”I didn’t actually want any group shots because I prefer the more natural photographs, however, I’m so glad you convinced me otherwise. And even your ‘posed’ photographs look completely natural. Xx” – Sam

”I prefer natural shots. We only had minimal formal ones… I love the one of me and my bridesmaids, because it was going to be a formal one, but turned into the loveliest natural one!! One of my faves. Some of the later formal shots where we were lined up as if to take a formal pic, turned into a natural one as you captured it before we’d even realized it was going to be taken… defo natural shots every time! X” – Chloe 

bride squad

Remembering your loved ones

”Well.. I like the more natural approach to photography… But it’s a bit like school photography it simply has to be done, for the record… It does not happen often enough that families come together.. Its history in the making!” – Hilary

”From someone who was married many, many years ago – at the time I didn’t want any, but the photographer did them anyway…. Over time, as we sadly have said farewell to quite a few people who were part of our day, they have become very precious. There is something special about seeing everyone together, despite the fact that they are quite formal compared to the rest of our photos.” – Sue

Herefordshire wedding photographers Brinsop Court

Use your parents’ experience!

”I agree that it’s sort of something you feel you need to do (and mum says I have to do!) as it’s not often that the whole family is together, I do prefer the natural photos but the ones you’ve taken are the perfect balance!” – Jenn

”We had a lovely mixture of both. I wanted the few formal group photos just so I can see what everyone was wearing and remember who was there. The day goes so quickly it’s nice to see everyone all together. Plus it’s a chance to see all the family together and sadly if some of them have passed away, it’s a nice chance to remember them at our special day. I did love the more natural shots too.” – Sarah

”In years to come you’ll appreciate having photo’s of loved ones who are no longer with you” – Carolyn

brinsop court wedding groomsmen

Wedding group photos – 7 TOP TIPS

In order to have the perfect balance at your wedding – both enjoy the day and have the group photos taken, you have to remember a couple of VERY IMPORTANT things:

Three best tips

  • Don’t have too many pictures on the list – a list of 6-10 is still OK. Remember – if you were a wedding guest, which wedding would be better remembered? The one where you spent an hour waiting for photographs, or the one where you don’t even remember the photos happening.
  • Remember – wedding group photos take time. Long lists need more time which makes every guest wish they were anywhere else but here. The average time to get people to the location and set up group shots is about: 2-8 people = 5 minutes, 9-15 people = 7 minutes, so it soon adds up having 10-15 group shots.
  • Give your groomsmen and bridesmaids a job. Please delegate the job of rounding up the guests to a member of the wedding party and make sure they are on hand to work with me. Your group shots will be taken much faster if we are organized.

rainy Lyde Court wedding

Three more things to consider

  • Some guests simply don’t want to be photographed. There is always someone who will do nothing but try to make the whole thing worse and last longer. If they don’t want to be in the photo, just go with it and let the photographer know it’s OK.
  • Have a chat with your fiancé and work out who you want in each shot. Be realistic, and ask yourself why you want these photos, will they go in the album, the frame, the wall?
  • Stick to the plan. We will ask you for the list of group photos before your wedding – and let’s stick to it. Sometimes a member of your family will ask us to take a different group picture or you might decide you want six more photos. The unscheduled photos take time too and it’s important to still enjoy the day. Of course we will take those photos for you, but it is always better to take them a bit later.
group pictures

Bonus tip

  • Get creative, use PINTEREST. Sometimes we set up secret boards and share them with our couples. You can pin your ideal wedding group photos there and at your wedding make the most of this time and just have fun! Think levels, each group doesn’t have to be just in a line. Have some people sitting, kneeling, standing, mix it up, use chairs, walls, props. Have fun with the photos.

bride squad

Group photo of everyone

The group photo of everyone – do you really need it? I personally like the group photos but they have to be taken first. Why? Because if we don’t take this photo first, your guests will spread, sit down and hide. Gathering them then is almost impossible. Also, have a think – do you really need the group photo? Will you hang it on your wall? You will have natural candid pictures of your wedding guests anyway.

group pictures

On the group picture everyone is just going to be very small. Sometimes people hide on purpose, you’re probably not going to be able to distinguish one face from another very much, or only just. It takes plenty of time (and even longer if you decide to put all your guests in the heart shape). Wouldn’t you prefer a picture of your guests laughing with a drink in their hand instead and spend more time on getting the really amazing informal and creative shots of the smaller groups? The choice is yours, we will adjust.

wedding venues near me Lyde Arundel

Wedding group photos – the summary

The fact is – you just have to have the formal wedding group photos – as informal as possible, but still elegant, not overdone – just perfectly balanced ones. As wedding photographers we will adjust and do anything you ask us to do. Please remember one thing. It’s always good to find that perfect balance. Informal, reportage images capturing the moment are incredibly important. They are trendy and that’s why many couples don’t want any group pictures.

You NEED some wedding group photos. Just like our previous clients have said – over time photos become even more precious. And it’s nice to have a group picture with your parents and grandparents, right? Trust me, you will appreciate this advice in 20-50 years time.

Your wedding photographers


If you are planning your wedding and like our approach – we might be the right photographers for you. Get in touch with us, let’s chat, we’d love to get to know your story! Take a look at one of our slideshows featuring our BEST OF 2021 to get a better feel for our style:


  1. As always you smash it!! I didn’t actually realise I had questions surrounding this topic, but when I seen the title I all a sudden thought..’oohhhhh yeah??’ And after reading it completely, all questions has now been answered. Thanks Marta…your the best!!!xx

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