Las Vegas & Non-Disclosure Agreements
Photographing 5 or more people and make them look good in front of the camera is a true testament of how well you work under pressure, how quickly you resolve those issues that arise in the moment, true observer of people, at the same time make them feel candid for everyone to see in the photo.
I've shot a TON of weddings. When I mean a ton, I mean't they're almost, in a assembly line kind-of-fashion where I would churn out 5-6 weddings each week. That's because when I worked in Las Vegas, and tourists from all over the world fly to get eloped, have fun, maybe hire a photographer to document their Hangover Part I, II, & III Experience(I have countless stories where the bachelor or bachelorette would hire me multiple hours in the night doing illicit drugs to keep themselves awake.) Sign an NDA at the end of the session(or break of dawn) to protect themselves from damages.
So. I know a thing or two about photographing groups hahah
My Frustrations with Group Photos
For a long time, I've photographed group shots where the bride and the groom and everyone else would line up in front of the camera. These are typically what...a 'typical' wedding albums would look like. Don't get me wrong, you will still see me do that as a baseline, just incase the artistic group shots didn't entice.
I hated my photos. I didn't know what to look for. When 20 people are staring at you, asking you for directions, I just come up something in the fly and group everyone together. Sometimes I would dust off the groom's shoulders, adjust his bowtie, if the brides hair is in the way of the eyes, id ask them to move it away. I'd get too focused on one thing that I'd forget to see the bigger picture. Literally.
My compositions* suffered because I was taking in too many clients. I got fatigued, burnt out, it wasn't portfolio worthy. The next photo will tell you why.
Refrigerator-Worthy Photos to Wall Art
Thankfully as years go by, the more weddings I've photographed, the more of my group shots improved.
I studied how other wedding photographers shoot their bridal party. I was and still am enamored by photographers like Chuy, Jose Villa, Elizabeth Messina, Thierry Jubert, Judith Rae just to name a few. I have read their books, listened to their podcasts, learned their approach to wedding photography and it really as made a difference in framing my mindset over group photos.
I watched John Branch IV's wedding video several times to get an idea how a typical wedding go. His mannerism, professionalism, have impacted the way I photographed my weddings. If you're reading this John, hello!
I paid close attention to compositions, lighting, and developed in my own artistic style. And finally get group composites like these.**
Knowing My Clients
I realize that I shouldn't be taking in any clients because when our beliefs do not align, it just doesn't make for a good photo. Everyone is dragging their feet asking me to hurry up. I know that this might be anti-capitalistic view of how any business should run. That, I should photograph everyone, and be inclusive. But I also run my business as an individual with very open-minded views of the world. I want to feel good about my work. I should love every shutter count. Otherwise, how else would I grow as an artist if take in any clients?
The people that I love to work with support LGBTQIA and BIPOC, Asian community, and Artists who supports other Artists.
Tying this back to wedding group shots, I am more likely to get people engaged with camera with wedding couples I've qualified with my weddings.
Group shots is the pinnacle of the wedding albums and North Carolina family portraits, they make you point out to the loved ones around you when you huddle up in your couch and see their very best of your day.
One of the main things that I do to make everyone feel included is setting up a shot list for the family or bride and the groom. Who you pick is totally up to you because when thinking about who to include in your family portraits is an intricate web of complicated family dynamic. Ie. Dad & Step-Mom should be separate from Mom & Step-Dad.
Normally, I'd just let everyone gather in one place, assign a cousin, to call out names of the families so I wouldn't have to yell on the top of my lungs, to get everyone there. People would cluster with their families if your brother, cousin, etc., are with their significant other, and naturally would herd with them.
Elevating Artistic Group Photos
After the completing the guided shot list, I would give my clients the option to do more artistic group photos. I'd let them pick who to be in these photos and form them into a much more interesting, more editorial, and artistic group photos.
In our consultations, we'd discuss inspirations, what they want their photos look, either black and white, color, groups of 5,7,11, or more. These photos could feel dignified, fun, with artistic sense. They are meant to be printed in a large landscape in their living rooms, over their couches, or a blank space in their walls.
Some or many people would find these to be outside of family or wedding photography, but thats because it is. Much like a painting, I can introduce subjects in the frame to create interest, fingerprint of the artist. But unlike a painting, which you'll never see wedding painted in a clear format its harder to replicate. They ask more questions than they answer.
Questions for you;
- Why the hell not?
- Why should you have the same photo as the bride/family before you?
- Why not collaborate with your photographer?
Reason why I love this;
- I love to be challenged and be given prompts I've never experienced before.
- With these many subjects how can I turn down photographing the next Henri-Cartier Bresson photo?
- If it doesn't turn out good, I have the photos I've photographed in the shot list to fall back to.
Ralph Waldo Emerson says "be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment"
"be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
HEY! I'M GLENN GUIAO
Learn how to get a free engagement session
Hi there! I'm a wedding and portrait photographer based in Wilmington, NC. I have a passion for capturing the beauty and joy of life's most precious moments through my lens.
With years of experience and a keen eye for detail, I specialize in creating stunning, natural images that reflect the unique personalities of my clients. Whether you're getting married or looking to capture a special family moment, I am dedicated to creating beautiful, timeless photographs that you will cherish for a lifetime.
How many photos am I going to get for a wedding?
Normally I'll send between 100-120 per hour session, which means in a typical 8 hour session, you'll receive about 800-960 photos. Not every wedding is the same. It will also depend on how dense the timeline is going to be.
How much does it cost to hire a photographer?
A seasoned photographer can cost about $3000. This will depend on the location, the saturation of the market, cost of doing business, etc. My packages start at $3300.
Do I need a second wedding photographer
It depends on your needs. For a full coverage, a second wedding photographer is a must. There are many useful things a second photographer can do. Weddings with 50+ guests can give the lead photographer a relief between sections of the wedding. They can photograph your significant other getting ready. They can slow down and find beautiful compositions while the second gets the essential shot list. A single photographer can't be at two places at once. They could be photographing a family wanting a photo of them, another could be photographing you.
How should I have a wedding photographer for?
8 hours. That's usually the traditional wedding from Getting ready to Reception. However, there are options for a longer or shorter reception.
Maria & Herson
"Glenn has been nothing but terrific as our photographer. Between the year that we had our engagement photos done and the day of the wedding, he checked in with me and offered answers and guidance; including tips on overcoming awkwardness in front of the camera! It really helped that we had done our engagement photos and had those check-ins, because we felt way more comfortable during our next photo shoot as a result. The day of our wedding he was our superstar vendor by going above and beyond through communication and people-wrangling. My only wish is that we would have booked him for a larger package."
"Glenn was an absolute pleasure to work with! He is so positive and has such great energy! On a day that flew by and felt hectic most of the time (our wedding), Glenn was the easiest and most fun vendor we worked with! We also received the pictures and they look amazing! We could not be happier with how they came out. Would highly recommend him for weddings or other events."
"It was incredible to work with and have Glenn with us on our wedding day. Booking was a breeze with a detailed and professional consultation. Day of, he seamlessly fit into the group and became a family member almost instantly. He made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and did a great job catching staged and candid photos. The shots he captured were beautiful, artistic, and some of the best pictures I've ever seen. His picture composition, color balancing, and focus is stunning and his experience shines through his work. The pricing for the photos and his time were very reasonable for the quality of work produced. 10/10 would recommend"