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recent coaching session, I was asked about how I shoot bridal party group portraits. This is a GREAT question and I haven’t blogged about it recently so I hope this post will be helpful for some photographers who struggle with getting those “big” shots done in a timely matter! Timing is the key. If you don’t have a plan and you don’t really know what you’re doing, the bridal party can sense that. You have to take charge and make it happen…. and you need to make it happen FAST because when one shot takes 10 minutes to setup, you’re going to lose their attention AND their excitement!

I really like numbering out my little pieces of advice on posts like this! So here is a list of tips for getting your full bridal party shots totally done in 10 minutes! Yes, 10 minutes!! It’s not impossible, I do it all the time! Think about it, if you have 30 minutes for the bridal party and JUST the full group shots take 20 minutes, you won’t have any time for the separate bridesmaids and groomsmen’s shots. Ok here we go! :

1. Create a posing system to use. I use Jasmine’s approach when I’m thinking of how to maneuver through poses.  I try to shoot one traditional pose, one editorial style pose and one fun/lifestyle pose. So all of my couples have a fun shot, a normal portrait and then a “model” pose! This system means that I’ll never be stumped about what to do next.

2. Use transitions! I almost always take a “walking & laughing” shot of the whole bridal party if I have the space and good light! Let the bride and groom take two steps ahead of everyone and then have them kiss after a few steps! Sometimes I’ll shoot a big group shot in front of a venue but then move then to another location to finish the rest of the portraits. Whenever this is the case, I try to have the bridal party walk and laugh behind the happy couple! We get great shots every time! The goal isn’t to get EVERYONE’s face in the frame, it’s to have a relaxed, natural portrait of the bride and groom hanging out with their best friends! Don’t be too picky about transition shots! Just have fun with them!

3. Bring the energy! Don’t get mad at the groomsmen for being ridiculous… let them laugh and be stupid for a few shots and then let them know it’s time to get down to business so that they can go back to having a great time! Never have a bad attitude during these portraits…. ever. That will NEVER help you… it will only make your job harder! Be energetic and FUN and excited about these portraits. If you’re not excited, no one else will be either.

4. Be Strategic. I start with a traditional pose for my bridal parties. So the guys are on the left and the girls are on the right. The guys are holding their hands left over right and the girls have their bouquets held at the waste. After this post, I tell the girls to find the guy they’re paired with the whole day (for introductions, recessional, etc). This helps them pair off fast.  Then I divide the couples on either side of the bride and groom and I’ll use this setup for a ton of different shots.

5. Use your second shooter! When you’re shooting these big group shots, have your second shooter use a long lens and shoot some awesome detail shots from the side. Michael does an awesome job at this and it saves me time! He also gets great shots of the bridal party during their “scream and smile” shot from the side angle! See below:

xoxo, Katelyn
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