Ever have trouble organizing and shooting a large bridal party? Today, Amy and Jordan Demos are sharing 4 secrets for how to photograph a large bridal party on the wedding day in the fastest, most effective, and organized way possible. They will help you have a plan for a part of the wedding day that a lot of photographers dread, and will show you how to have fun with it, get great images, and get time back if the timeline’s fallen behind.
1. Shoot with Chairs
One of our goals for large bridal party shots is to be able to see everyone as clearly as possible. If we string out twenty people in a line or single row, their faces are going to be so tiny! So we (almost) always, whenever possible, use chairs for bridal parties with more than four bridesmaids and four groomsmen when we’re photographing the entire group. Ten (in total) is the absolute most we’ll ever photograph without chairs. Again, that’s a general rule. You have to evaluate on a case-by-case basis, but that’s our basic idea heading into bridal party photos.
Image Compliments of Amy and Jordan Demos
Also, if the bridal party photos and the ceremony are at the same location and there are ceremony chairs on the lawn, ask the groomsmen to get them for you. They’re big and strong and there are a ton of them (which is why you need chairs in the first place!), so they’ll be able to get it done fast. As the photographer, we need to do our job as much as possible on the wedding day, and every minute we’re doing something other than shooting, our client isn’t getting served as well as they should.
Plus, we (almost) always photograph the girls first, so it’s easy to tell the guys after their getting ready photos, “Hey, when you guys come over in thirty minutes, will you bring some ceremony chairs from the back row for me? It’d be a huge help!”
2. Do the Math
But how many chairs do I need?! It’s a great question and one that we used to go back-and-forth on and just used trial and error to decide. Then, the two kids who fell in love over being mutually bad at math figure out a simple division equation: total bridal party members divided by two = the number of chairs you need. Or, for the math enthusiasts, the equation looks like this: BP/2 = C.
So, for example, if you have twenty bridal party members (10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen), you’d need ten chairs. When you add the bride and groom, that means you have 10 chairs for 22 people. Shouldn’t it be 11 chairs? That’s the obvious answer, for sure! But, in our experience, since people sitting with their shoulders squared to the camera takes up slightly more room than people standing at an angle to each other, the best way to get the top and bottom even and symmetrical for the photo is to have two more people on the top row. In this case, that’s the bride and groom!
3. Start from the Middle
We always start with the bride and groom in the middle and work our way out, by putting a groomsman next to the bride and a bridesmaid next to the groom, then alternating boy-girl-boy-girl the rest of the way. We like this because, aesthetically, it breaks up the colors so they don’t all run together.
Image Compliments of Amy and Jordan Demos
Practically, since men are much larger than women and take up more space, it’s the best way to get both rows even and symmetrical like we talked about in Step 2. If you can have a bridesmaid seated in front of the groom and a groomsman in front of the bride, that’s the total package! But not a deal-breaker if you don’t. Just something to be aware of! Sometimes, we’ll stack guys and girls together every once in a while to mix it up, too.
Bonus: Mix up the Order
This has been a life-saver for us when we’re trying to alternate back-and-forth between guys and girls and we have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen! Here’s the trick: whichever you have more one than the other, like four bridesmaids and two groomsmen, ditch the rule where you put a guy next to the bride and a girl next to the groom, and put whichever you have more of next to the bride and groom. Then, alternate boy-girl-boy-girl from there and you’ll also end with the same in the middle as you have on the end.