If I asked I know most people would not show any level of excitement for formal group photos, though they aren’t something I jump for joy of they aren’t my least favorite activity either. I have had splinters under my fingernails and that is just shear unadulterated pain and perhaps is on my list of least favorite things to do on a Saturday afternoon. Formal Groups at weddings CAN be very easy or very difficult depending on many different factors. The shear numbers involved (both in size of the groups and combinations of groups) in Shane and Laurens wedding made it difficult to be honest. We did it successfully though, and most of us left smiling. So why the post … two reasons.
The first reason … I can’t tell you how many times from the time I started shooting weddings at age 16, until the present day, I get told over and over again. “You are the BEST photographer!”. For a long time I hated it. I would be photographing large and small groups at weddings and at the end someone who had never seen my work would tell me I was the best. I had to actually hear what they were saying. They were telling me, “Formal Group Photos are boring and I hate it. But you actually made a boring, yet necessary experience fairly enjoyable! Your the best photographer!” They weren’t judging me off my post shoot work. They were judging me off my on the job performance. And I have been getting rave reviews for a long time. Very Cool! I will tell you that I don’t cry when brides tell me they don’t want any formals, at the same time I don’t mind doing them provided we have enough time for what is wanted.
The second reason for the post is … Second Photographers are an incredible addition. One shooter can cover a wedding well. We do it all the time. We know where to be and what to shoot. We get the shots and all is well. But a second photographer can be in a different location or angle entirely and capture something totally different. And it’s wonderful!
The last example photo is of a large family group. This shot is just a simple example of a pretty standard documentary family group shot with space left on the sides for an 8×10 crop. All the family is there and just about everyone is smiling.
This last shot shows one thing I love about a 2nd Photographer. Dani captured this adorable little boy disrupting the family group photos. This is exactly what I am trying to prevent him from doing. So as I am trying to distract him into a grip and grin smile and prevent his parents from enacting some form of loving discipline … Dani (or any hired 2nd shooter) is capturing shots that are wonderful and bring back funny memories. If I as the main photographer were to break away from the task of organizing and controlling the group to get this shot, not only would it take longer to get the intended shot but I would likely be encouraging undesired behavior from the child. In short “2nd photographer = fun candid shots”.
Great 2nd shots again while I am making the whole larger image come together with smiles.
This shot was another two places at one time. Our crew was able to be up front and in back capturing angles and stories in two places.
The last shot here is a bit of a different selection. As I was cruising through images I couldn’t help but notice many 2nd shooter shots that just stuck out to me as fun or excellent story telling. Often times as I am getting groups together the parents are rounding up kids and listening to instruction so we can get it done and move on. I am not about taking LONG and tedious time on the group shots if you couldn’t tell. While I was getting all that together Dani grabbed this shot and it stuck out to me. A bunch of feet and a waiting little boy.
Anyway … formal groups are usually a fairly enjoyable time. We tend to make them quick and as painless as possible. And lastly, one benefit of a 2nd shooter is their ability to capture some sub plot story lines during formal groups that the main photographer can’t.
Matt Wheeler – Still Life Studios – Photographer