Wedding photography in the last few years has come on leaps and bounds. It has a reached a level no-one ever dreamt it would a few years ago, with some truly amazing results being created by some seriously talented photographers.

However, while the stylish shots and the reportage style shots, which are ever more popular and make up a good part of the portfolio that is created, there are still the all-important group photos that need to be taken to make sure you have a record of who was present, which gives that all important snapshot into family history in years to come.

So how do you go about getting these taken quickly and efficiently, making sure that they do not become a chore and that your smile does not drift to just a grin or even a grimace!

So here are Toastmaster James Hasler, The Man in the Red Coat’s top tips, to help make this experience less tedious for all involved.

  1. Plan your wedding photo list making it clear who you wish to have in each shot
  2. Then put those wedding shots into a preferred order
  3. Then look at your order and work out who is in more than one photograph – in particular the elderly
  4. Then try and build up wedding group photos, before knocking them down again (Example to follow)
  5. Then appoint team leaders for each photo whose job it will be to get the other members together,thus speeding up the process.
  6. If possible send the team leaders via email, WhatsApp, text, letter or handout on the day, the information concerning their group, including people and the all-important photo number they are scheduled in.
  7. Then make sure that you send copies to your photographer, best man and toastmaster (if you have one) and a prime member of each family to help with coordination.

On the day if you are employing a toastmaster, while your photographer concentrates on taking the pictures, he will be lining up the shots. This is important as there should be little or no gap between each picture, cutting down on wasted time. It is one of the biggest advantages to using a toastmaster and can make such a difference to this part of your day. The biggest wasted time on any wedding day is normally caused by gaps in between group photographs, while those who should be in shots are searched for! The toastmaster minimises this considerably.

I mentioned as tip 4 the building up and breaking down of groups. Here is an example of what I mean.

Very often I am sent group lists as follows. (In all are the bride and bridegroom)

Wedding Photography Group 1

Parents of the Bride

Siblings of the bride

Group 2

Parents of the bride

Group 3

Parents of the bride

Grand parents of the Bride

Siblings of the bride

Group 4

Parents of the Bridegroom

Siblings of the Bridegroom

Group 5

Parents of the Bridegroom

Group 6

Parents of the Bridegroom

Grand Parents of the Bridegroom

Siblings of the Bridegroom

Group 7

Both sets of parents

I would rearrange this into the following order

3, 1, 2, 7, 5, 4 & 6

In each case I am moving the fewest number of people. This saves time and avoids people wherever possible from coming in and out of shot.

These really close family shots do not necessarily need a team leader. The team leaders become much more important as the extended family shots take place, as well as group shots of friends. The toastmaster can then concentrate on calling on those team leaders, with their corresponding photo number, rather than reading out long lists of names.

As a toastmaster I do not mind calling out endless lists of names – in some cases it can be fun. However, I am conscious of people getting bored of the sound of my voice, making it less effective for when more important announcements need to be made. So having the team leaders can really make a difference to the overall noise level at this time, making everything less stressful for everybody.

I have alluded to this earlier, but the big advantage also in using a toastmaster to coordinate your photos, means that your photographers can concentrate on taking the photos, rather than wasting time trying to get people together to put in them. Having this production line means there should be invariably 2 photos waiting to be taken at any one time, avoiding any delays.

Ideally people should be happy in the photos you have taken. You can spice things up, especially with the younger generation by saying that the last one into any photograph will be pointed at as a record of who was the slowest! (It does need controlling though to make sure that it does not get out of hand!!) This technique can work and at one wedding I achieved 38 group shots in just over 40 minutes! Everybody joined in with the spirit of the occasion and there were some terrifically funny shots as a result. However, these were exceptional circumstances.

In simple terms though, the difference between using a toastmaster, or not, can be as follows;

With a toastmaster 20 shots can take 25 to 30 minutes, being relaxed and fun where appropriate.

Without a toastmaster or any coordinator, 20 shots can take an hour and can cause unnecessary stress.

So plan ahead everyone and you will enjoy these moments much more and have more time for wedding photography like the one below.

Jewish-wedding-300x200 Wedding photography

James Hasler Toastmaster – The Man in The Red Coat will allow your more wedding photography like this!

James Hasler is a professional toastmaster, master of ceremonies and event facilitator, a Fellow of the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters. He is experienced in running all kinds of events from conferences, awards ceremonies, fundraisers, and weddings of all cultures that take place in the UK. He has worked with and for people from all walks of life, from the most humble to celebrities and even members of the Royal Family.

You can get in touch either via the enquiry form on this website, you can send me an email to or phone me on 07773 229909