FAQ: Do you do formals?

October 20th, 2011

[Im cur­rent­ly on a two week break whilst Jes­si­ca and myself cel­e­brate our anniver­sary. Mean­while, please enjoy some pre-pre­pared posts]

“Hey, Joseph! Wow your pic­tures are the best pic­tures I’ve ever seen! I want to book you right now but I nev­er see any fam­i­ly for­mals on your blog. Would you be able to take a few group shots at our wedding?”

I’m more than hap­py to do that for you love­ly future-couple.
I usu­al­ly rec­om­mend to my cou­ples who would like some fam­i­ly for­mals tak­en to cre­ate a small list of peo­ple that they’d like in the shots. As a rough guide, I rec­om­mend a list of say, 10 shots.
If you both want more then great! It is your wed­ding after all. 

Here is an exam­ple of a stan­dard setup.
Start off with a big group shot of every­one if you want.
If it was­n’t con­ve­nient ear­li­er on in the day, per­haps we could incor­po­rate the con­fet­ti shot in there too.
After this is done, I’ll encour­age all of the guests oth­er than [imme­di­ate fam­i­ly, grand­par­ents and the bridal par­ty] to go off, grab a drink and mingle.
If we then move on to the pic­tures with the grand­par­ents, they won’t have to wait around too long for their turn.
We’ll gen­tly work our way through the remain­ing request­ed group shots.
Par­ents of bride.
Par­ents of bride plus broth­ers and sisters.
Par­ents of groom…
You get the idea.
We’ll be left with just your­selves even­tu­al­ly and if you’ve got time, we can go off for 15 min­utes and have pic­tures with just your­selves as a fresh­ly mar­ried couple! 

I encour­age my cou­ples to try stick­ing to a small­er num­ber of group shots because (and I say this at every client con­sul­ta­tion, so much so that it feels like a bit of a cliché now) “you don’t want your day turn­ing in to a pho­to­shoot, nei­ther do your guests.”

Also, with each group, try to keep the num­bers down.
10 shots, each with 25 peo­ple in isn’t much fun.

After you’ve decid­ed who you’d like in your pic­tures and put the groups in the right order, I’d love it if you were to email me a copy of that list. I’ll keep it on my phone for quick reference.
Unfor­tu­nate­ly though, I don’t know the names of all your guests…yet, so if that list is also giv­en to each ush­er they’ll help round up any peo­ple who have strayed off!

So yes, I take for­mals, in fact I often quite enjoy them as it gives me a chance to intro­duce myself to a group of peo­ple by name. I like to show to your guests that you’ve invest­ed in a real life per­son with a smile rather than a man with a cam­era attached to his face.
I don’t show those pic­tures on here because I don’t feel that set-up fam­i­ly shots reflect my style.
I pre­fer to show you how I love cap­tur­ing the day as a fas­ci­nat­ing real life story. 

A post with­out pic­tures is a bit of a bore, so I’ll share a few favourites with you now.
Even when the events around you are being script­ed, I still like to keep my eye open for the more inter­est­ing moments.

I feel like I’ve answered that ques­tion, if you have a ques­tion that you’d like answered, drop a com­ment at the bot­tom of the page and if it’s fre­quent­ly asked, I may make it a blog post.

  1. Razvan October 20th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    These are some fun for­mal shots! It’s a great idea to have a list of the for­mals before the wed­ding. It saves a lot of time when it comes to pho­tograph­ing them.

  2. Alison Makosz October 20th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I am the bride in the 4th shot and i remem­ber this moment so well. My brides­maid was get­ting a bit close for com­fort. But it real­ly made me laugh and is a mem­o­rable moment of the day and i’d much rather this shot that a for­mal / posed one.
    Our wed­ding pic­tures, tell an amaz­ing­ly accu­rate sto­ry of our day and we did have half a dozen for­mal shots, but it was more than enough. Joseph’s style was perfect!

  3. Kat Braman October 20th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    these are fantastic!

  4. benj haisch October 20th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    nice, dude, nice.

  5. Alyssa Schroeder October 21st, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Awe­some advice. These “for­mals” mean so much more than a stan­dard stare at the cam­era and smile! It shows the fam­i­ly’s per­son­al­i­ties too.

  6. Daniel October 21st, 2011 at 12:55 am

    These are great for­mals. Can­did and beautiful!

  7. James GIfford-Mead October 21st, 2011 at 7:40 am

    What a great blog post Joseph! Well writ­ten and the for­mals shots look great!

  8. Phill October 21st, 2011 at 8:22 am

    This is a fan­tas­tic resource Joseph. What you’ve got between the look to cam­era moments is fan­tas­tic too. Where posed pho­tog­ra­phy meets gen­uine documentary.

  9. ALMA October 21st, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    nice one :) and love­ly frame too!

  10. Nick October 21st, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I love for­mal pho­tos that turn out to not be so for­mal. Love it!

  11. Sara October 21st, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Great advice.. and gor­geous photographs :)

  12. matt Stanton October 23rd, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Great advice Joseph, and each frame is excellent!

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