Ideas and tips for your formals groups pictures

wedding photographer in Pau. Advices for better pictures.

If the group formal photos take longer than 30-45 minutes, I feel like it’s frustrating for all parties involved. Family members and friends want to be at cocktail hour, the bride and groom get tired of standing and posing for so long, and the overall experience becomes laborious. And, really, who wants that on a wedding day? I, of course, will shoot anything and everything I’m asked to shoot, but I think the best way to find the best fit for everyone involved is educating clients based on their needs, explaining the photographer’s perspective, and encourage pre-wedding communication with family members.

I encourage my brides to have a conversation with their family in advance about photos to avoid confusion on the wedding day and then explain an optimal scenario: Starting with a large group and peeling back people in layers. So this I mean for example we start the photo with a very large family group of the bride’s family, then peel away aunts/uncles/cousins, then peel away grandparents, then peel away siblings leaves us left with just the parents. Then I shoot just parents with the bride and groom, then just the siblings, then just grandparents. Then I shoot both sets of parents with bride and groom. Then I repeat the process with the groom’s side of the family. If everything goes well, I can shoot all formals in about 30 minutes.

Here are a few samples of group formal photos to inspire for the list you need to write. Pick 10-20. No more if you want to enjoy the cocktail and your family/friends.

Checklist of Formal Photos for your groups

It is best to designate the role of photo usher to someone who can “rally the troops” when it is time to take photos. We will roll with the list to be the most efficient and do as much as possible in regards to additional formals.


  1. Classic Pyramid Formation: This is one of the most common and balanced group photos. Place the bride and groom in the center, and gradually fan out the wedding party on either side, creating a ‘pyramid’ shape. Make sure the heights and positions are balanced on each side.

    Preparation: To get this right, first place the bride and groom at the center. Then start adding the bridesmaids to the bride’s side and groomsmen to the groom’s side, alternating and adjusting as needed to balance the heights and symmetry.

  2. Seated Arrangement: A seated arrangement can create a relaxed, elegant photo. Have the bride and groom seated in the center, with the wedding party arranged on either side, some standing, some sitting.

    Preparation: Ensure you have a beautiful piece of furniture that fits the wedding aesthetic. Arrange the seated individuals first, then fill in the standing members.

  3. The Cascading Bouquet: In this pose, the bride and her bridesmaids line up and hold their bouquets out in front, each at a slightly different height to create a ‘waterfall’ effect. This pose is particularly effective if the bouquets are colorful or unique.

    Preparation: Arrange the bridesmaids by height or by the length of their bouquets to create a cascading effect. Make sure each bouquet is clearly visible.

  4. Walking Together: This pose captures the wedding party in motion and adds a dynamic element. It works well in a scenic location such as a garden or beach.

    Preparation: Ask the group to walk naturally and chat amongst themselves. Walk backward in front of the group to capture their movement and expressions.

  5. Groomsmen Lifting the Groom/Bridesmaids Lifting the Bride: This is a fun, celebratory pose that can add a bit of humor and personality to the formal group pictures.

    Preparation: Make sure everyone is comfortable with the idea and able to physically support the weight. Safety first!

  6. Intimate Close-Up: For a smaller wedding party, arrange everyone in a close, intimate group around the bride and groom and take a close-up shot. This pose emphasizes faces and expressions.

    Preparation: Guide each person on where to stand or sit, ensuring no one is blocking anyone else. Adjust their positions to create a sense of unity and closeness.

  7. The Toast: This is a great candid-style pose. Have the wedding party raise their glasses in a toast around the bride and groom.

    Preparation: Make sure everyone has a glass. You might want to count to three and then have everyone say « cheers » to capture a fun, dynamic shot.

Wedding party:

B & G with flower girl & ring bearer (begin with children first – less stress and we can keep their attention better)
B & G with entire wedding party
B&G with entire wedding party sans flower girl and ring bearer

B&G with bridesmaids B with bridesmaids
G with bridesmaids B&G with groomsmen B with groomsmen

G with groomsmen


wedding photographer in Bordeaux. Tips for better pictures.


B with flower girl
B with ring bearer
G with flower girl
G with ring bearer
B with each of her bridesmaids G with each of his groomsmen

Immediate family:

B&G with entire family B&G with grooms family B&G with bride’s family B with her family

B with her siblings
B with her parents (2x if separated or divorced (for step parents)) G with his family
G with his siblings
G with his parents (2x if separated or divorced (for step parents))

Other Family:

B&G with grandparents (2x both sides)
B with her grandparents
G with his grandparents
Generational photos (Grandma/Mom/Bride & Grandpa/Dad/Groom) B&G with God Parents (if applicable)

B & God Parents (if applicable) G & God Parents (if applicable)


B&G with best friends (2x both sides)
B with her best friends
G with his best friends

B&G with university friends (2x both sides)

B&G with work friends (2x both sides)

Other ideas of formals (time permitting):

B&G with other family members and their families
Families with children must go first (same reason as flower girl and ring bearer)

B&G with individual couple or family

wedding photographer in Pau , basque court and Bordeaux. Elected best photographer in Bordeaux area.

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    patrick chatelain | Studio f360 Bordeaux Pau

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