5 ways to get good photos of your friends at your wedding

It’s automatic that most people want to have setup shots of their family. Parents, grandparents, aunts, etc are a default for many group shot requests I get.

But what about a couple’s friends? Often, couples forget in their wedding timeline and planning to reserve special moments to celebrate the many friendships they have. Sure, toast time means we get to hear from 1 or 2 of them, but I want to encourage more people to think about setting aside time to make sure they have private moments with their closest friends and get great pictures to celebrate those relationships.

Let’s start with the Getting Ready part of your wedding day:

The wedding industry has made getting ready time into this whole fake situation of “Let’s get photos of shoes” moment that most of my clients want to avoid at all costs. I get it, I’m not the kinda of photographer that wants to devote precious coverage time to getting epic shoe shots.

But getting ready time is #1 best time to get the best photos of your friends. It’s THE time to get natural, fun photos of your best friends all in one place.

Here are a few suggestions to make sure you get lots of great friend shots before the ceremony even starts:

-Toasts with champagne/mimoas! We know the official toasts come later, but this is a perfect time for the couple to say thank you to their close friends. It doesn’t have to be formal or written down: the only audience you have are those people who support you the most and don’t care if it’s perfect. But they will appreciate you taking a moment to toast the lasting relationship that you have with them.

-Get a big enough space to fit your closest friends in one or two rooms. Having too small a hotel room makes it much harder for your friends to naturally gather in a way that feels comfortable. It often results in people standing around feeling awkward because there is no seating other than the bed. There should be a couch and a few chairs available to hang out, relax and enjoy.

-A big reveal for friends. I often get a special request from parents of the bride(s)/groom(s) who want to have that moment of helping their child put on their wedding outfit. Sometimes it’s nice to go into a more private space and allow just the child and parent to share that moment where they put on their wedding attire. If you elect to do so, it’s often a ton of fun to do a “first look” for your friends. Coming out of the private space and allowing your group of friends to see you and react is often incredibly emotional but often jovial as everyone is slapping high fives and giving hugs in the excitement.

-A moment of reflection/moment of mediation. I first saw this when a bride gathered her friends around in a circle, had them hold hands, close their eyes and do a guided mediation for a minute with them! You don’t have to be a yoga instructor or spiritual guide to take a moment to have a bit of silence to ground everyone for the excitement to come. Just asking everyone to gather in a circle and close their eyes or have everyone put their hands in the middle of the circle for a big chant/group high five. Sometimes this results in a side splitting laughing fit like the bride above!

-Wedding party gifts. If you are giving your wedding party a gift, do so when I first arrive for coverage. The meaning behind the gifts often generates some big smiles and of course, a bunch of hugs.