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How to pose BIG groups on REAL WEDDINGS! Posing family photos, bridesmaids, groomsmen and more!

english weddings
How to pose big groups


When it comes to wedding photography, one of the most challenging yet rewarding tasks is posing big groups. Whether it's the bridal party, bridesmaids, groomsmen, or family photos, capturing everyone in a flattering and cohesive way requires a mix of organization, creativity, and direction. Having photographed countless weddings, I'm excited to share my tried-and-true tips for posing large groups in both indoor and outdoor settings. Let's dive in!

Setting the Scene: Bridal Party, Bridesmaids, and Groomsmen

Starting with the Bridal Party:

  1. Traditional Poses: Begin with traditional shots to ensure you have those timeless photos everyone expects. Arrange the bridal party with taller individuals in the back and shorter ones in the front. Make sure everyone is comfortable and can be seen clearly. For instance, I might say, "Everyone turn towards Christine. If you have a slit in your dress, make sure it's visible. Lower your flowers to your waist, and pull your shoulders back."

  2. Candid and Fun Shots: Once the traditional poses are out of the way, it's time to have some fun. Encourage interactions and movements that showcase personality. I often prompt, "Now let's make this way sexier. Turn towards each other, act like you're taking a selfie, and just have fun with it!"


Directing the Bridesmaids:

  1. Mixing Heights and Positions: To create a dynamic and visually interesting group shot, alternate the directions in which the bridesmaids are facing. I might direct, "Every other person, turn the other direction. Maids of honor, face each other, and the rest of you, mix it up a bit."

  2. Interactive Poses: Encourage the bridesmaids to interact naturally. For instance, "Pretend you're chatting and laughing, like you're having the best time. Look at each other, smile, and even hold hands or link arms."


Posing the Groomsmen:

  1. Classic Looks: Start with classic poses. "Groomsmen, hands in your pockets, looking serious. No smiling for this one."

  2. Variety and Movement: Introduce some variety by changing up hand positions and adding movement. "Try one hand in the pocket, the other adjusting your lapel. Now, walk towards me, alternating these positions."


Family Photos: Capturing Loved Ones

Family photos are a crucial part of the wedding album. Here's how to manage them:

  1. Organized Groupings: Start with immediate family members and gradually add extended family. "Alright, parents and siblings first. Once we have that shot, we'll bring in grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins."

  2. Traditional and Relaxed Shots: Capture both traditional and relaxed poses. "Everyone look at me for a nice formal shot. Now, look at each other and smile. Perfect!"



Lighting and Camera Settings

For both indoor and outdoor photos, lighting is key:

  1. Indoor Settings: Use natural light when possible. Position the group near a window or use soft artificial lighting. "Make sure your face is turned slightly towards the light source for the best effect."

  2. Outdoor Settings: Utilize natural light effectively. Avoid harsh sunlight by shooting in the shade or during the golden hour. "Position yourselves so the sun is behind you, creating a nice backlight without causing squints."


Behind the Scenes: Tips and Tricks

Engaging the Group:

  1. Clear Instructions: Provide clear and concise directions. "Everyone, turn towards me, and on the count of three, give me your best smile!"

  2. Encouragement and Fun: Keep the mood light and fun. "Let's pretend we're at a Friday night party, not a photo shoot. Everyone relax and enjoy yourselves!"

Adjusting Poses:

  1. Minor Adjustments: Make small adjustments to improve the overall look. "Can you lower your bouquet a bit? Perfect. Now, everyone shift a step to the left."

  2. Creative Poses: Don’t be afraid to get creative. "Let's do a photo booth style! On the count of three, everyone strikes a new pose. One, two, three, pose!"

Wrapping Up

Capturing big groups at real weddings can be challenging, but with the right approach, you can create stunning and memorable photos. Remember to mix traditional and candid shots, use natural light to your advantage, and most importantly, keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed.

For more in-depth tutorials and behind-the-scenes looks at my shoots, check out Photo Insiders. It's a fantastic platform where you'll find educational videos, an active online community, and live group calls every month. Happy shooting!

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Learn how to pose individuals, couples, and groups with precision and speed. This free class will help you shoot with confidence no matter the situation and consistently wow your clients with a variety of stunning images.

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Vanessa has been photographing weddings, events, portraits and lifestyle for over 20 years.

She's a Canon Explorer of Light, an honor given to only 5 photographers in the United States, and her work has been published by Yahoo! News, Grace Ormonde, Style Me Pretty, Rangefinder and more.

With her practical and open-book style of teaching, she shares everything she knows with hundreds of thousands of photographers as an educator and influential sparker.

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