Wedding Wednesday: GROUP SHOT LIST

Goodness, this week is flying by! I'm busy trying to find plenty more to do....getting new fun stuff up on the page...STILL trying to unpack...and planning a quick little hop up to Dallas for a newborn shot! YAY! 

But man oh man...this wedding this past weekend was pretty STELLAR. I can't tell you the last time I shot a wedding that knocked me into a comatose stage until 3 PM the next day. Poor boyfriend had to remove all the covers to get me out of bed :-(. Lauren and Reeds wedding this weekend was superfun, super organized, and her photos are going to be amazing. All of this is was due to Lauren being such an organized bride who knew EXACTLY what she wanted and she made it a point to make sure we knew too. 

Amanda and Ryan, September 2014

Amanda and Ryan, September 2014

Not to say it's easy to stay organized when you're working full time (or going to school full time), trying to have a social life, AND trying to plan a wedding, because it's NOT, but organization is the key to a successful wedding shoot. 

One of the biggest things I can stress, especially for your event planner and your photographer (smiles) is giving them all the info you can in a timely manner, especially a group shot list! 

"What is a group shot list?" You ask..the answer is simple! 

A Group Shot List is a list of all the traditional pre and post ceremony photos you're going to want. No, I don't necessarily mean the images of your gown or of you getting ready and interacting with your bridesmaids. I mean the traditional photos of you with your parents, your grandparents, brothers and sisters, and bridesmaids that will be taken before the ceremony....and the photos of you with your groom and other family members that will be taken after the ceremony. 

I cannot tell you the amount of brides who've said to me "Oh, I don't really want to do those" either because they'll take too much time or the bride wants to get right to the reception or it's too hot or any plethora of reasons. But, then they get the wedding images back and I get a phone call from mom or grandma asking for those photos. These traditional images are called "traditional" for a reason, they're the timeless photos with a style that will outlast the duck face/phelpsface/timteabowing images that I will get throughout the course of your day. Your parents had them, your grandparents had them....and basically anyone else you know who's been married in the last year has them. 

The list of reasons for having these photos is very long and very thorough and includes reasons such as "Your grandparents and parents will love them", "it's an opportunity to get photos of you in your wedding gown with your grandparent before that grandparent passes on", and "these are the images you will show your kids and the images that will most likely be on display in your home". 

Jenna and Brad, August 2015

Jenna and Brad, August 2015

and to be frank....no group shots...No CCPhotoFactory for your wedding day (UNLESS it's an elopement with JUST you and your groom). 

These photos can be as traditional or non traditional as you please. You can have them done at the altar where you and your groom said "I Do" or you can have them at another location on the premises (or elsewhere, if you're changing venues between ceremony and reception). They can include or not include anyone you want, you have total control of your images! 

However, there are a few things to consider when creating your group shot list. Who all needs to be included? Which relatives? Can I have some suggestions from Mom and Dad? Things like that. A few quick tips:

-Speaking from experience it's really best to KEEP IT SIMPLE and STICK TO THE BASICS. Not 100% sure of ideas? No problem! Get a list from both sets of parents of who they would like in the group shots and go from there. That doesn't mean YOU HAVE TO follow that list, it's merely suggestions from them to get the list started. If you haven't spoken or seen your second cousin Morty in 7 years, there's no reason for him to be in your group shots. However, there's always time for mom and dad and brother and sister. 
-You may also want to keep the list relatively short. You don't want your relatives standing around for an hour after your events waiting to be called for photos. 
-Make sure to communicate to your family and friends who will be in group shots that they ARE going to be in the group shots. Make sure they know not to go anywhere post ceremony so no one has to go fetch them. 
-Make sure your coordinator/planner/caterer know that there are group shots going on somewhere besides cocktail hour, so they can come by with food and drinks for those guests (and for you too! Who DOESN'T want a bacon wrapped quail leg or lobster mac n cheese puff with some sangria or white wine???)
-Assign a caller. Your photographer doesn't know your relatives or the significant people in your life better than you do. However, there is a trusty individual in your party who can easily identify your friends or relatives and help corral those individuals if needed.
-Make sure there's enough time for all the photos you want. I cannot count the amount of weddings I've shot where I've been handed a 5 page long group shot list and given 45 minutes to get all of them. But of course, that all is going back to KEEP IT SIMPLE and STICK TO THE BASICS. 
-Lastly, make sure there is enough time for photos of you with your groom. These photos don't have to be the cute photos you see all over Pinterest of the two of you being lovey, these are the simple traditional photos. We will make sure there is time for you and your groom to step away from our reception to do the fun, lovey, snuggly shots you see on social media! 

I know it all sounds fairly complicated, but it is very very easy, probably one of the easiest parts of your wedding day. All you have to do is stand there and look gorgeous! The best piece of advice is DON'T STRESS about it! 

To help you out, this is the general list I keep in mind for group shots. NOT ALL OF THESE ARE MUST HAVES, remember, you have control of your images. These are merely suggestions for you to get your list started if you're a little lost. See below image :-)

Hannah and David, May 2016

Hannah and David, May 2016

Bride & Groom +

  • Everyone! (Family and wedding party in one big photo)
  • All family members
  • Both sets of grandparents & parents
  • Both sets of grandparents
  • Grooms grandparents only
  • Brides grandparents only
  • Ceremony officiant

* Grandparents are done! They can go to the reception.

  • Flower girls & ring bearers (it’s good to get these out of the way early too since kids often have little patience for standing around)
  • Both sets of parents
  • Groom’s parents
  • Groom’s parents & siblings
  • Bride’s parents
  • Bride’s parents & siblings
  • Siblings only
  • Other family

* Family members are done! They can go to the reception.

Possible Pre-Ceremony Shots:

  • Bride + bridesmaids
  • Bride + each bridesmaid individually
  • Groom + groomsmen
  • Groom + each groomsman individually
  • Bride + family members
  • Groom + family members
  • Bridal portrait
  • Groom portrait

    See? Super simple and to the point! Nothing too extravagant and it's a solid list that will please all of your guests. If there is anything else you want to add on, no trouble, just make sure it's on the list. If its not on the list, it won't get photographed, just as an FYI. 

    And make sure your photographer has this list at least 2 weeks to a month prior to the wedding so they can prepare for the amount of time that will be spent on the group shots when their developing their plan. :-)

    Well, that does it for me this week. Thanks for checking in! Take a look at my photography and let me know if you have any questions for me! I'm happy to be speaking with you! 

    Until next time! 

    --Caity C. 
    Owner and Lead photographer of CCPhotoFactory