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Photography Question 
Rachel Putnam

How to photograph large wedding parties

I have a wedding coming up and there is a very large wedding party, ten people on each side to be exact plus flower girls and ushers. I have never photographed such a large wedding party. If anyone has any ideas I would really appreciate it.
Thank you,

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1/17/2006 2:59:05 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/7/2005
  I would make sure you take a photo of everyone, so everyone fits in the frame to start off with. Then, mount your camera on a tripod and do a panoramic shot, take a 3 photos, the left, middle and right, making sure there is heaps of overlap, do it quickly though, as children won't stand still that long, then you can stitch it together. If it doesn't work, you still have the first shot to fall back on. Otherwise, you will have to photograph them casually grouped, not standing all in a line, like have them near a sofa some behind, some sitting, leaning on the arm etc, that way they won't extend out so long.

Hope this helps.

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1/17/2006 3:13:43 PM

Denyse Clark
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/2/2002
  When I got married, I had 7 on each side (and I thought THAT was ridiculous, lol)... my photographer was prepared with some little fold up chairs that he brought for the large group shots so he could put some of them standing and some in front sitting. It worked pretty good. I hate to upload a photo that isn't mine, but I can email you one if you'd like to see what he did. Let me know if you do. (

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1/17/2006 5:29:36 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Rachel;

What equip do you have?
Available light?
Indoors or out?


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1/17/2006 6:18:05 PM

Rachel Putnam   Pete,

I have a digital rebel XT, I also have a light set that includes a large soft box, two strobe flashes with umbrellas, I am planning on purchaseing a larger flash to use with my camera such as a canon 420, I am unsure if I need to purchase more lights. There is not a lot of available light in the chapel, the wedding is in early April and Outdoor photos will depend on the weather. I am not sure if I described my equipment clearly enough so If you need more info let me know. Thank you, for your advice in advance.

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1/18/2006 8:56:23 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Ok; let's start with just the one BIG group shot.

Forget the softbox, from the range you will be at, I doubt if it will help much. You may be able to use it to balance some light, or weak areas where the umbrellas are starting to feather.

Forget about trying to achieve a 2:1 or 3:1 portrait ratio; with that many people, it will be almost impossible.

With your two umbrellas,(silver reflectors) you will want to distribute the light to cover everyone evenly. Your modeling lamps should help here. Both umbrellas need to be the same distance from your group, and ALSO, spaced evenly left and right of center (Thats you and the camera.)

Flash heads should be set to max.
I doubt this will overpower

Get as close as you can using your wide angle.

Make sure you take several shots as someone ALWAYS has their eyes closed. LOL

Open your f/stop only as much as you need. I prefer to use smaller stops to take advantage of the physics of the lens (sharper) although this is not always practical given the amount of light you have.
If you must go to ISO 200, do so. No higher.

Lemme' know what else specifically you need.

Group this large gathering tightly as possible.
Be extra careful that one individual casts no shadow on another.

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1/18/2006 3:56:38 PM

Rachel Putnam   Thanks Pete Your suggestions will be extremely helpful. I appreciate your response.

Thank you

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1/19/2006 5:40:50 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/4/2004
Pete has given you wonderful advise!
now may I add:
when doing a pose like this it is helpful to have a couple chairs etc.
you can do a few with the Bride and Groom sitting in front and to even that a bit, I would sit the Bride and Groom with best man and maid of honor and put the rest of the large pary behind.
I would also do the whole group standing:
you want to use Bride and Groom as anchor in the Middle, then working off them angle each sidewith a shoulder a a angle towards you-Not totally at their sides though that would be "cutting into their shoulders" and that is undesirable in Portraits.
It is probubly better for you to see a few groups so I have encluded a few for you.
Wishing you the best of luck in all your ventures,

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1/19/2006 7:10:26 AM

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