Many people these days are looking for a “reportage” style photographer. Someone who will unobtrusively capture the emotion and individual moments of the day. But what do you do about group shots? Often parents and grandparents would still like them, even if you don’t, so most couples have a few. How much time do you need to allow during the day for group photos if you chose to have them, remembering that the time when you are having photos taken is time when you are not with your guests at your reception.
Timings at weddings are notoriously difficult. It is very rare for a wedding to run to time. Something always takes longer than expected - getting everyone from the church to the venue perhaps, or maybe the bride is running a little late to begin with. Sometimes the day overruns because the photographer is running late. This can be because group shots take quite a lot of time to do and often not enough time is allocated for them when scheduling the day.
Imagine, you would like some portraits of the two of you, some group shots with your parents, individually and collectively, perhaps some images of you with bridesmaids and groomsmen and a full family shot with cousins etc. So all in all about 50 people?
So lets think about the family group shot with say 25 people. Your Aunt has gone to sit down as she is tired, your sister's children are running around the garden, your mother has gone to use the bathroom. How long is it going take to find everyone and get them into position? This can take quite a while. Once everyone is in position the photographer will also need to make sure the dress looks perfect and everyone is standing correctly and looking their best. So you can see that it would be unrealistic to think you could have eight group photos taken in five minutes - at less than a minute per image it would be very difficult to get everyone in the right place and looking fabulous.
In terms of timings I would say allow 15-20mins for the group photos. Do remember that this is for informal group shots. If you are looking for staged, lit, and styled images, with people strategically placed using props, like a fashion shoot, then these may well take longer.
It would be helpful for your photographer to have a list of the groups shots you are looking for before the wedding as it will help them to plan those images such as where people will stand in advance so they take as little time as possible.
As for the portraits of the two of you, again it depends what you are looking for. Relaxed, natural photographs of you both in a few locations should take no more than 20mins. But if you are looking at a large number of locations and/or a greater degree of styling and setting up then they will of course take longer.
Having your portraits taken can be a very special time for a bride and groom. Other than your car journey after your ceremony, if you have one, it can the only time you have to be together and relatively alone throughout the whole day. Your photographer should understand that you may want a few private minutes to say important things to each other. They should be sensitive to this and stand back so they cannot hear you at some point during the shoot. They can still get beautiful photographs when they do this but it will give you a bit of much needed privacy and time for reflection.
Ultimately the best thing is to discuss the options with your chosen photographer and work together to ensure you get the perfect balance of beautiful images you are looking for and time with friends and family at your reception.