My whole approach is to observe and photograph what happens on your wedding day. I don't set things up. I don't tell you where to stand or what to do. I don't tell you when its time to cut the cake or to start the first dance.
But everyone needs to have the group photos. When I meet couples to discuss their plans, they quite often say that they're not really that concerned with getting the group shots but that their parents insist that they must be done. So, they must be done!
But how many group photos do you really need? My rule of thumb is :
- one big group of everyone (if there is a suitable place to do it)
- one group with bride's family
- one group with groom's family
- one group with bridesmaids/best man/ushers
I think that pretty much covers everyone, and most importantly these can be done in a few minutes, without making everyone hang around waiting.
Obviously I also do a few portraits of the bride and groom on their own, but again, we don't spend ages on these, and they can be done whenever is convenient during the day.
Now, if there are other groups that are requested on the day, that's absolutely fine, and I'll shoot whatever the bride and groom ask for and include them on the DVD. However, if you try to include more than 3 or 4 group photos in the final album, they leave less room for the storytelling images, and what's the point of commissioning a photojournalist to shoot your wedding if you just want lots of group photos?