When we talk about candid wedding photos it’s always with a sort of half meaning. That is to say, it’s common for a photographer to ask a wedding party to socialize or to start getting dressed for the ceremony, etc., and then start snapping photos; the concept is staged, but individual shots are candid. It’s always a little awkward for a moment, but then people actually get into whatever they’re asked to do, and you can usually pick up some excellent candid photos.
In that spirit, we’ve put together a few ideas for a groom and groomsmen shoot that go beyond the typical posing or putting on suits. Some are a little specific, but for the right wedding party they could be perfect.
Out On A Walk
Out on a walk doesn’t sound that original at first, because plenty of wedding party pictures are taken outside. But the idea of the groomsmen (and groom) simply walking down a path, or dispersing outside somewhere, is a little bit different. We got the inspiration from a bridal site’s rundown of awesome groomsmen photos, which included a mesmerizing shot of seven groomies in kilts and sport coats walking down a beautiful, hazy path. It looks more like the beginning to some curious tale than a staged wedding photo, and is exactly the sort of candid picture so many of us want on this occasion.
At The Bar
It’s not uncommon by any means for groomsmen to have cocktails or beers while they’re being photographed in the final hours before a wedding, getting ready for the occasion. What’s a little more unusual though is a full-fledged happy hour (not that anyone should get too crazy!). If the wedding is being held at any sort of hotel or venue with a bar, think about setting up a situation in which the groomsmen and groom are simply hanging out at the bar counter, talking to one another with drinks in front of them. After a few minutes this will turn into ordinary socializing and you’ll be able to take pictures down the line, capturing the group in what may well be its most natural state.
It’s a little bit of a cliché, but there’s just something iconic about a group of well-dressed men playing cards. If there’s a suitable table, it can be a great idea to ask the guys to start a game and then take pictures of the action. And actually it can be a fun idea for a pre-wedding activity even if the groomsmen aren’t experts. Most people at least understand the basics of poker, and you can learn the blackjack rules with just a few minutes spent online or at a digital gaming platform. Both can produce great, recognizable images, either of a flop of cards in the middle of the table and groomsmen all around it, or of each individual with a pair of cards, one face-up, one down, hoping to land blackjack.
Occasionally, a wedding party just wants to chill out before the big ceremony starts. Depending of course on the groom’s preferences, that might just mean watching TV or even a favorite movie to loosen up. This kind of moment is actually perfect for candid photos as well. If everyone is dressed and ready, sitting together with eyes on a screen, you can get some very interesting photos that simultaneously show a sense of unity and detachment – like they’re all in it together but not sure what they’re in for (which tends to be the case).
It’s fairly traditional as mentioned for groomsmen to be photographed as they’re getting ready – which is to say putting on their suits, etc. But one thing we overlook is that men have to actually get groomed as well. You can find all kinds of grooming tips for men in wedding parties, and a lot of men pay more attention to the finer points of their appearances than they might outwardly let on. Consider making this part of the photography process as well. It’s almost combatting a stereotype, capturing the men prettying themselves up the way we so frequently think of women doing the same!