Ask a wedding photographer: Top tips for stress free group shots

I’ve been a wedding photographer for about 20 years now, and in that time I’ve become something of an expert not just on wedding photography, but on weddings in general! I find that couples often end up asking me for advice, on everything from wedding photography, to general wedding trends, and hints and tips!

Today I‘m answering a question which a lot of couples cite as a concern:

How can we make group shots as stress free as possible?

For many couples, group shots can be a bit of a ‘love or hate’ thing. Couples often tell me that they don’t want their guests to get bored whilst waiting for endless group shots, and they’re also usually looking to create a relaxed, informal feel to their whole wedding day. The good news is that you can still have a relaxed wedding day with natural, candid style photography and some great group shots that you’ll love to look back on in years to come. The trick is striking the right balance.

As a wedding photographer, mastering the art of group shots requires more than just technical skill—it’s about creating a relaxed and organised atmosphere that allows everyone to shine. In this guide, I’ll share my top tips for capturing stunning group wedding photos that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Plan ahead

Before the big day, I work closely with the couple to create a list of desired group shots. This list should include essential family portraits, bridal party shots, and any other special groupings. This means that I’m already aware in advance of who needs to be in each shot, which minimises waiting-around time. I also try to do the large group shot first, so that those that aren’t needed for the smaller groups can go to the bar or check in to their rooms if staying at the venue.

Having a plan in place with your wedding photographer ensures that no important shots are missed and helps the day run smoothly.

Assign a helper

Your wedding photographer will make an effort to get to know who everyone is well in advance of the group shots. However, it’s always a good idea to enlist some helpers who can point people out on the day, or help round up people for photographs. Your ushers should be a great help when it comes to this task, or if you’re using a wedding coordinator they should be able to assist with organising group shots too. This person can gather the necessary individuals, help with arranging poses, and keep track of the schedule.

Keep it organised

Organisation is key to efficient group photo sessions. Use the previously prepared shot list to guide the process, starting with larger groupings and gradually working down to smaller ones. Clearly communicate poses and arrangements to ensure everyone knows where to stand and what to do.

It’s also handy to allocate a specific time slot for group photos in the wedding day timeline. Aim to schedule group shots shortly after the ceremony or during a lull in the festivities to avoid disrupting the flow of the day. Communicate the schedule to the wedding party and guests to ensure everyone is ready and available when needed.


Encourage natural interaction


As a wedding photographer, I like to encourage natural interaction and genuine emotions during group photos. I’ll encourage couples, families, and bridal parties to interact with each other, share laughs, and show affection. Genuine moments of connection make for more compelling and memorable photographs.

Get creative

Gone are the days where group shots have to be a boring, static line-up of your wedding party. A great way to capture stand-out group shots is to get a bit creative. I love being a creative wedding photographer (I’ve even won some awards for it!), and I’m always more than happy to suggest interesting angles, poses, or props to make the shot just a little different.

Creative shots can really capture the personality of your group and make for truly stand-out group shots that you’ll love to look at for years to come.

How to Avoid Too Much “Waiting Around”

I know that a lot of couples are concerned that “too much waiting around” will ruin the relaxed flow of their wedding day, so it’s something that as a wedding photographer I’m really mindful of. In order to avoid excessive waiting around during group photo sessions, follow these tips:

  • Provide clear instructions and expectations to the wedding party and guests ahead of time.
  • Set up group shots efficiently, with minimal downtime between poses.
  • Keep the atmosphere relaxed and upbeat to prevent boredom and frustration.
  • Utilise assistants or coordinators to help gather and organise groups quickly.
  • As a wedding photographer, I’m always mindful of the weather and lighting conditions, and adjust plans accordingly to avoid unnecessary delays.

Capturing stunning group wedding photos requires careful planning, organisation, and creativity. By following these top tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable group photo session that results in beautiful images. If you have any questions about your wedding photography, I can help. I’m a professional wedding photographer in Cheshire, Chester and North Wales, and would love to chat about your plans!