Almost all the brides and grooms I have worked for so far have not been a fan of the family group portrait and they want it to take as little time as possible. Mark and Hannah are the strongest example of this and I literally had 10 minutes to do what I could.
They asked if we could start with everyone and then take people out rather than the standard gradually adding people in as they felt this would be quicker. And I was unable to think of a reason why not.
Now I know why not!
Here is my first shot of the groups- everyone (family) (I didn't even get to do an everyone, everyone at all, probably a good thing as that was 140 people!)
So, I don't know where to start with this really.
Lets go for important people. Mark's parents are the two slightly behind and on either side of Mark. At this point in the day I had no idea what Mark's parent's looked like. If we'd started in the normal way I would know, and they'd be beautifully placed at Mark's side for all following shots.
Balance is really important too. So you can achieve basic balance with the parents/siblings family groups, which always seems to result in common sense kicking in when other people join and not too much direction from me. By balance I mean a good boy/girl mix and then heights and spacing. The steps really help with this.
If you start small as well people can watch how you are arranging, they get chance to absorb what is going on. This group were bustled onto the steps from that door behind them and never got chance to look at the scene and see what they were part of. Just imagine walking out of that door onto those steps and being told to stop and smile, not great.
Clearly I missed the boy, very punishable offense on my part, children always at the front or picked up please. I spotted him in the next set up as he was part of a smaller group thankfully.
As a tip for this tips section, for one off big groups on the fly, as it were, get as high as possible and then make everyone spread out, trust me!
Official wedding group shots starting large and getting smaller... don't do it.
That is all.