by Olivia Leigh
While the focus of the wedding is on the bride and groom, getting fabulous photos with your family and friends is also probably high on your list of priorities. The perfect wedding party shot can be difficult, as your photographer has to contend with a very large group of people, making composition and posing more difficult, as well as some potential personalities difficulties. Here are a few quick tips to ensure your wedding party pictures are everything you hope for!
1) Acquaint your party with your photographer’s style. While doing an engagement session with your photographer is often a great way for you to learn more about how he or she works, your girls and guys obviously generally don’t have a chance to meet with and shoot with the photographer prior to the wedding. If you are hiring a non-traditional or more artistic photographer, it may be a good idea to send your party a link to his or her site prior to the wedding. I find that when I want to do some non-traditional poses or more quirky shots, bridesmaids and groomsmen almost always are better at working with me if they have seen some of my work before and have a rough idea of what the finished product might look like. Just as great trust between you and your photographer can lead to better photographs, anything that can be done to encourage trust between your wedding party and the photographer can help immensely.
2) Encourage a positive attitude. Few things irk me more than an uncooperative bridesmaid or groomsmen. One man or woman’s dour attitude can really put a negative spin on the creative photographs, setting off a chain reaction of bad attitudes or uncooperative tendencies through the rest of your bridal party. As a photographer, I’ll usually light-heartedly ask any negative nancys to put their attitudes aside for a few minutes, emphasizing how important the photographs are to the bride and groom, but you can also play a big role in ensuring your party is cooperative. Talk to them before the wedding and explain that you will be taking photographs for an hour (or however long) at some fabulous locations. Emphasize that you know it will probably be cold/hot/etc. but you really appreciate them being in the photographs, and drive home how much they mean to you.
3) Assess when to take photos with children. I love having kids at wedding, and think they add a great element to the day. That said, if you have a flower girl or ring bearer that is very young (under 5 or 6), consider just taking some photographs with them during “family picture” time, or before the ceremony, as they may be restless during the posed, creative photographs, and one of your bridesmaids may also have trouble focusing if they are perpetually tending to a child that refuses to look at the camera.
4) Work with your photographer to choose locations that suit your party size and personality. Your photographer should be able to make recommendations for locations based on the vibe you are going for, the style of your party, as well as the size. Some of my favourite spots to shoot a couple are some of my very least favourite places to shoot a giant bridal party, and vice versa. He or she might also have some better spots in mind for the photo you’re trying to achieve; for instance, in Chicago, Museum Campus is a popular location for bridal party shots, as it offers a great view of the skyline. That said, it is reliably PACKED with bridal parties on Saturdays, and there are many other much more relaxed vantages points a little further south that I will try to push couples to instead if they are seeking that classic skyline photo.
Photography – Olivia Leigh