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For family group photos, I generally try to:
- Slightly angle everyone inwards
- Ensure suit jackets are buttoned properly (buttoning primer)
- Ask men to put their outside hand into their pant pocket
- Ask guests to put down their purses, ceremony programs, jackets, other miscellaneous stuff
- Ask taller people to stand towards the back, BUT I try to keep family units together (which can lead to unbalanced 'height' groupings, but I'd rather keep families together, y'know?)
- Position people such that the 'totem pole' effect is minimized (ie - avoid head stacking ; position heads so they are in between the two heads of the row in front of them)
- Ensure females are standing in a flattering manner (weight on back foot, push back hip away from the camera, slightly bend front knee), with special attention to the posture of those in the front row, especially if they're wearing high heels and shorter dresses/skirts
I usually don't shoot with as long a focal length as I would like -- but a wider lens gets me closer to the group so I can minimize how much I a) raise my voice to be heard, b) walk back and forth adjusting people and c) clear out other guests who have wandered into the photo area by accident.
I wouldn't say any of these are "rules" per se...but it helps me to keep things somewhat uniform.