In this article, we’ll talk about how to take photos of groomsmen that all the wedding party will love.
In my article about how to take bridesmaids’ photos, I stressed the importance of focusing on quality over quantity and considering the experience of the people involved.
The same is true here. The groom and his groomsmen often want the formal portion of the wedding day to be short and sweet, but that doesn’t make those photos unimportant.
Let’s talk about how to capture quality, memorable photos of the groom and groomsmen, even if it’s a rambunctious bunch.
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How to Take Photos of Groomsmen: 5 Tips
Let’s talk through some tips for wedding photographers to take better photos of the groom and groomsmen.
You don’t need a million groomsmen photo ideas as much as you need to remember what makes a good photo.
1. Remember Your Photography Skills
Before you start worrying about poses and combinations, think about your photography basics.
I’m talking about remembering framing and composition tips, such as not cutting anyone off in weird places or having trees sticking out of their heads.
I’m also talking about finding nice soft light that flatters everyone rather than hard light that puts shadows under their eyes.
Don’t forget to make sure everyone is sharp in the photos checking the line is straight and that your aperture selection doesn’t make the depth of field too shallow.
Once you remember the basics of photography, you can consider building an interesting photo.
2. Start With Getting Ready Groomsmen Photos
Even though the groomsmen don’t always need as long to into their wedding attire as bridesmaids, there are great potential candid moments the photographer can capture.
Sometimes you can encourage the groom ahead of time to plan something to do with his groomsmen before the ceremony, such as shooting pool or having a toast. Activities are more fun for them than posing.
From there, you can capture things such as groomsmen trying to remember how to tie a tie or figure out how to pin on the flowers or put on their cuff links.
Oh, and who forgot to iron his shirt? Those are the types of details that make great photographs.
It’s not as much about the flower on the lapel as it is about the laughter and personality that you can witness and capture as the anticipation for the wedding ceremony builds.
Look for moments and meaningful interactions between the groom and the men he’s chosen to stand by him.
3. Capture the Transitions
Since the groomsmen getting ready portion of the day can be a little stagnant, it helps to remember to photograph the transitions.
There might not be a lot of action in the getting ready room, but what about groomsmen walking to the next location at the venue?
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A group walk can be a fun photo that’s both relaxed and tells a story, especially if the venue is in the background setting the scene.
Not only can the transitions add movement to your photos, but they can help tell the story of the wedding day and what’s happening.
It’s equally important to show the emotional moments before the main event. It’s all the drama that adds up to create the special day.
You don’t need a ton of out-there groomsmen photo ideas for capturing the groom and groomsmen. Instead, just photograph what they’re doing and create candid shots that tell the story of the day.
4. Formal Shots to Get
When it comes to posed formal shots, it helps to communicate with your couple ahead of time and clarify expectations of what’s important to them.
Even though I mostly shoot photojournalistic wedding photography, posed formal shots of various groups are important to my clients, and groomsmen portraits are no exception.
They’re the shots that everyone wants but no one wants to take – especially when it’s a group of impatient or slightly tipsy groomsmen.
I find that if I’m efficient, professional, and fun, I can knock off the key formal shots quickly and keep the groom and groomsmen happy.
Instead of complicated groomsmen poses or an intricate shot list, start by having them line up for a photo. They’ll naturally visualize what kind of photo they want from the big day and land in a pose they expect from a group shot.
Then, you can adjust the poses as needed to make the photo look better while keeping some of their own style and inclination.
One thing to look out for is what the hands are doing.
Everyone can be doing something different or everyone can be doing the same thing – but if everyone is doing the same thing except for one person, that will be distracting in your photo.
If they look very casual, I might have them strike a more formal pose next. If they look formal, I might have them loosen up for another shot so that there’s instantly more than one photo.
If the groomsmen have any poses they want to do, I always indulge them so they get the shots with their friends that they want to have.
After I know I have a solid group shot or two of groomsmen portraits to choose from, I get individual portraits of each groomsman with the groom.
You can have the groom stay in one spot and rotate the groomsmen through efficiently.
Most of the time, these individual portraits are nice to take, especially if all of the groomsmen don’t know each other. They can be more personal.
When deciding what photos to prioritize, I think about what photo might get printed or downloaded by the bride and groom, bridal party, or family members.
It’s worth having a conversation with your bride and groom to set expectations and get clear on priorities so you know what to photograph.
- Related: 13 Must-Do Wedding Party Photos
5. Ceremony and Reception Groomsmen Photos
Once you have a solid formal shot of the groomsmen, you’ll want to capture more candid images of them and their impact on the groom.
During the ceremony, you might want to capture their expressions and emotions. Anticipate when they might laugh or cry and shoot through the moment.
These pictures can be impactful.
At the reception, you might capture them dancing, toasting, or having a good time at the party. (See my article How to Take Photos at a Wedding Reception for some tips on this.)
At the beginning of the day, everyone can be very serious, but later they’re more relaxed. Watch for the moment when they let their guard down and forget that photographers are shooting everything they do.
Think about telling the wedding day story and using the groomsmen as supporting characters in the story.
What do their actions and antics say about the groom? The groomsmen often tell the story of the party, whether it’s a wide shot of the bar or close-up shots of laughter.
Summary of Tips for Groomsmen Photos
Remember not to get so focused on the posing that you forget the purpose.
And certainly don’t get so creative that you don’t have any images that are solid, sharp, well-lit, and well-composed.
The bridal party often decides how great a photographer you are before they’ve ever seen a photo. They decide based on the experience they have.
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Therefore, don’t get bogged down in trying to come up with countless groomsmen photo combinations.
Instead, focus on getting high-quality formals and then spending more time capturing candids of the groomsmen actually enjoying the wedding day.
FAQs About Groomsmen Wedding Photos
How long does it take for groomsmen photos?
Every photographer is different in how they shoot bridal party pictures and how much time they spend on them, but you might budget 15-30 minutes of time for groomsmen pictures.
It’s finding the balance between getting enough images and the groomsmen getting impatient with the photography.
What is the etiquette for groomsmen?
When a friend asks you to stand up for him on his wedding day by being a groomsman, your main job is to support the groom.
This often means arriving early to get ready and shoot group portraits. You might be asked to wear a specific suit.
Other responsibilities might include seating wedding guests or giving a toast after dinner.
Ask the groom more about the expectations.
What should a groomsman expect to pay for?
As a groomsman, you might be responsible for buying or renting a suit or tux as well as any accessories required such as socks, cufflinks, ties, pocket squares, etc.
You might also need to pay for your room and transportation and any other expenses from any wedding events.
Who walks with the groomsmen?
The groomsmen can walk alone, in pairs, or with the bridesmaids as they walk down the aisle.
What makes the groom stand out from the groomsmen?
Sometimes the groom will wear a suit or tux in a different color in order to stand out from the groomsmen. The groom might wear a different tie or other detail to help him stand out.
Do grooms take getting-ready photos?
Grooms can take getting-ready photos too! Whether it’s capturing putting on cufflinks or the personalities of the groomsmen in those moments before the ceremony, getting ready photos can be fun pictures to have from the wedding shoot. It’s up to you what’s important to get from your wedding photography.