Planning formal group shots

Bridal party group shot

What is a formal group shot list?

Your formal group shots are photographs you would like in a posed manner with family and friends. This formal part of the day is a traditional way of being photographed. Family members place importance on them to have as a memento of the day. It is important to create a list, as your photographer does not know who important family members are.

You do not need to have a formal photography part of your day if you do not wish. If you choose not to have a formal photography session, then we can’t guarantee that we will photograph a key member of your family. I promise that your formal photography session will be photographed in a natural and relaxed way. I call it semi-posed!

A guide to putting together a formal photographs list.

wedding photographer north wales, cheshire and chester

My tips on getting your group shots right.

  1. Most people want natural photographs. Therefore, keep the formal list short. Eight groups are our recommended amount.
  2. Each group of people will take between 2-5 minutes.
  3. Keep variations to a minimum. It could save time to reduce the following 3 photo combinations to just the first group photo in the list; Bride with parents, Bride with Mum, Bride with Dad.
  4. Guests wonder, to help things go more smoothly, send your formal list to everyone on it and ask them to keep an eye out for their turn.
  5. Include names and the relation on your list. This helps when we call for the next guests to join you in the photo. If a guest has an unusual name, phonetic spelling is helpful!
  6. A complete photography group list would look like this (but with names). Note: start with the largest shot and then remove people. It is a good idea for people who need help to go first and the next photograph on the list to not include any family members who may need to assist that person back to their seat.
Example group shot list


Couple posing with family at wedding
Combermere Abbey

Implementing the list

We usually put the wedding couple in place and call the first names on the lists. While that shot is being taken, the next names are called, so ideally the next shot is always waiting. Ushers can be given a copy of the list to assist, ideally as a mobile phone copy, as they lose bits of paper!

On the day!

We like to have a bit of fun as we certainly are not stuffy and grumpy wedding photographers (well Jason is on some mornings!). So expect to smile, have fun and enjoy your wedding photography formals and we will get through them as quickly as possible, so you can have a well-deserved drink and chat with your wedding guests.

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