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It’s Called a Wedding PARTY for a Reason!

August 3rd, 2011  |  Published in Shoot  |  2 Comments

My primary goal during the time I have allotted for portraits at a wedding is to get a great variety for backgrounds and poses for the bride and groom. My secondary goal, is to get a great portrait or three of the bridal party together. And I don’t mean a photo of them all lined up together (though I take that shot every wedding), or the shot of the bridesmaids scrunched together, or the groomsmen holding the bride, or the wedding party jumping together…those have all been done before by many thousands of wedding photographers more qualified to shoot them than I. I’m talking about groups shots like you see on the cover of the fashion magazines, when all of the most popular young starlets of the day get together for a cover shoot. It is often THIS shot that gets me the most positive comments from the participants…and many of those participants are young women that are approaching the wedding planning process themselves!

This shot can be done with the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and both (time permitting).

The Bridesmaids:
I most often get a shot like this with the bridesmaids. In the planning stage with the bride, I typically suggest that everyone be dressed and ready 30 minutes prior to the time when they have to leave for the ceremony. That gives me time to take some bridal portraits, and some time to set up a bridesmaid “magazine” shot. When it comes to the ladies, posing is something that they are usually pretty good at naturally, whether they know it or not. They’ve been looking at fashion magazines from the time they were little girls, and all of those images leave an impression.

Since this is the first time I’m describing setting up the shot, let me step out of the bridal portion for a moment, and say that I follow this process whether I am setting up bridesmaids, groomsmen, or both. Fits off, I find the space that the shot should take place in. It could be a couch or a pair of chairs in the hotel suite, or the lobby of a hotel…or it could be the laundry room across the hall, or the cool car that they will be riding to the wedding in. Once I have the space, I begin to set up the participants. In my mind, I have visualized the entire scene, but I have to build the scene one piece at a time. So I start to grab the participants, and put them into place. I have found that the fastest way to get someone into a pose, is to demonstrate the pose myself. With the bridesmaids, I really play it up, assume the pose, and challenge the bridesmaid that will be filling the place “try to look this sexy”. As each participant is placed, I take a step back to see how the entire scene is coming together adjusting as needed. Once everyone is in place, I tell the bridesmaids, “Give me your best (rhymes with witchy), look” and take the shot. All in all, it takes about 5 minutes to set the shot up, and 15 seconds to actually capture it!


The Groomsmen:
Compared to the bridesmaids, the groomsmen shot usually comes together a bit easier. For one thing, I usually have less time to set up the groomsmen shot, since I typically have to set it up at the end of the family portrait time. Most often with groomsmen, I will do a “Reservoir Dogs” shot, where I tell them to line up staggered, about 75 feet from me, and walk towards me, interacting with one another. When I don’t have open space to set this up, I will arrange them similar to the ladies – minus the “try to look this sexy” comments. With guys, I tend to set up the shot at the bar – which is usually where they are hanging out in the first place!


The Wedding Party:
Arranging the entire wedding party is the most challenging of the shots, and the most time consuming, so I rarely get a chance to do it. When I do, however, I ask the members of the wedding party to pair up with the person that they escorted down the aisle. I then ask if any of them are actually “together”, to see if I can make their pose a little more romantic. From this point I build the shot, just as described in the bridesmaids section, but with each couple instead of each individual. Again, I place them in the pose then stand back to see how it affects the scene. I am looking for balance and to avoid duplicating poses as much as possible.

One last piece of advice for those wanting to venture into the “magazine style” pose. Study magazines! Especially the issues of Vanity Fair that feature the group photos that the magazine is famous for. Study the poses and the relationships between the poses to understand how and why each participant was placed in that spot in the frame. Then sit back and start adding some PARTY back into the bridal party!

About Jamison Wexler

Jamison Wexler has written 15 post in this blog.

Jamie is a Boston Wedding Photographer who believes every client is a rockstar.



  1. Marisa says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 8:39 pm (#)

    Excellent work, inspiring.. :)

  2. Admin says:

    August 3rd, 2011 at 9:14 pm (#)

    Thank you Marisa!


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