Getting the wedding party to be crazy. Techniques?


TPF Noob!
Jul 14, 2010
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OK, for all of us who shoot weddings, we all get the same request regularly. A bride & groom and/or wedding party says "we want you to shoot some fun/crazy shots of us, but we don't have any ideas." So it's up to you (the photographer) to coax them into some fun looking setup. So my question is, what do y'all do to get the shot? We've all seen the usuals: groomsmen lifting up the bride; wedding party jumping in the air; wedding party lined up like a football team. I'm curious what tried and true approaches all of you have to getting "fun" shots of the wedding party. I know personally it's a challenge for me. I always pull something off, but if the wedding party doesn't have any ideas of their own, it's tough for me to suggest things because I don't know their personalities and don't know how crazy they want to get. So it's always kind of touch and go to come up with something. Let's hear your ideas.
Tequila loosens people up quite rapidly,and one bottle is enough for five or six people.
I have a texas mickey of tequila in a pink tommy gun bottle you can buy. Why the husband thought I would ever go through that much tequila Im not sure.
Great! But how about wedding parties that don't drink? I know, I know - they don't exist, right? I've actually had a few.
Great! But how about wedding parties that don't drink? I know, I know - they don't exist, right? I've actually had a few.

It's helpful if you have a bunch of ideas stored away in the back of your that you can come up with them when needed. Try some image searches for 'fun wedding' and so on. Maybe even save a bunch of your favorites so that you can review them from time to time.

One of the most important things about shooting a wedding (IMO) is reading the 'feel'. How is the bride feeling about the photos? What about the groom? What about the wedding party, the parents, the grand parents, any small kids that might be there....

If people are not in a good mood, for whatever reason, I think you have to be responsive to that. If they don't seem like they will be up for some fun shots, don't try to push them into it because not only will the photos fail, but you'll only put them into a worse mood. But you can also tell when they are up for anything, and that's when you can get creative.

Also, you should be able to use the environment that you have around you, to get inspiration. If you are by some water, maybe get the groom to roll up his pants and carry the bride out over the water. (risky, but could make for a cool shot).

I was shooting at the University Campus this summer, where they have some very nice (big) trees. I mentioned to the other photographer that it would be cool to have the wedding party up in the branches of a particular tree. Well, one of the groomsmen heard me and went for it. Even though the lowest branch was about 9 feet up, and they only had dress shoes, the groom & his boys all climbed up into the tree for a few shots.
I always start out easy, it helps loosen everyone up and gets the juices flowing!

I definitely recommend having an arsenal of ideas ready so you can help direct, but so often once I start with an idea the party takes it their own way, and inspiration just hits!

So, for example, the last wedding I shot we went out into a field that was next to where the ceremony was. I crawled in way deep into the tall grass. My second photographer was laying in the grass right next to everyone to get sneaky shots. I lined everyone up really quietly, then made everyone hug really, really, really tight in a chain. They thought it was weird but it worked, everyone is laughing their heads off in the picture. After that they were totally willing to climb over fences, lift eachother up, even do leap frog down a pathway. Awesome.

So have a handful of ideas and start with a generally easy one to get everyone laughing. That's what makes the pictures crazy and light hearted, I think.
OK, so I just sat down and brainstormed ideas for fun wedding party and/or B&G shots. Actually it's the first time I've thought about it seriously while not actually shooting and having people looking at me saying "we want to do a fun shot". Surprisingly, I came up with nearly 20 new ideas that in my mind are really cool and could be done almost anywhere (no special location setup needed). Sadly, I'm not going to share my ideas here bc I haven't even had a chance to use them yet. The reason I posted is that I recommend to all of you who have a tough time coming up with fun scenarios on command should sit and brainstorm when you're not "on command". You'll be surprised what you come up with. For me, the first few ideas were slow to develop, but once I started rolling they came much quicker.

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