For a lot of couples, photos with their family members are some of the most important shots on the wedding day. These are the people who have loved and supported you since the very beginning and many of them probably invested a lot of time, talent, and energy into not only your relationship as a couple but also your wedding day!
As photographers, it is our goal to do everything in our power to ensure that these photos both look beautiful as well as run efficiently. We realize that no one wants to stand around for hours waiting to get their photo taken. With that being said, here are a few tips we usually share with our couples to help them (and those involved!) make the most of their family photo time : )
- Make a list, ahead of time, of the family groupings/photos that you want on your day. Be sure that you both give your input on this! It is your decision if you want to involve others’ input as well (parents, grandparents, etc). Making this list before your day is absolutely crucial and is the biggest factor to avoiding chaos, confusion, and frustration during family photos.
- Once you have made your list, you can send this out to family members ahead of time, so those involved in these photos know where they need to be and when. If you are doing family photos before the ceremony, they know to arrive early and if you are doing family photos after the ceremony, they know to stick around/not leave for the reception right away. I can promise you don’t want to be waiting around, looking for Uncle Bob for 15 minutes during this portion of your day because he missed the memo — this is the type of situation we have seen cause a lot of stress and frustration on the wedding day.
- Additionally, since you have decided your list ahead of time, you can avoid potentially challenging “in-the-moment” conversations during family photos when people are suggesting you take additional group photos that you maybe don’t want! You can just say, “We have a list that we need to stick to!” : )
- At the end of the post, you will find a suggested family photo list to help get you started!
- Have a bridal party member, personal attendant, or friend be in charge of “organizing” this time on your day. Make sure it is someone who is comfortable taking charge and rounding people up! Give your family photo list to this person and have them in charge of calling out names, organizing groups, getting family members in the “queue,” etc. While your photographer is shooting a group, they can be organizing the next and this allows things to go as smoothly and quickly as possible!
- If you are not attached to a certain location for your family photos, we often recommend doing them outdoors. We are primarily natural light shooters which is why we recommend this! Photos outdoors, with natural light, will help your family photos be consistent with the rest of your wedding day portfolio.
- Hug your family members in between photos. While this time can often be a bit chaotic, it’s important to let the ones you love most know how thankful you are to have them celebrating with you!
Family Photo Grouping Ideas
Bride & Groom with:
- Ring bearer and Flower Girl
- Bride’s Grandparents
- Groom’s Grandparents
- Bride’s Parents
- Bride’s Immediate Family
- Bride’s Siblings
- Both Immediate Families Together
- Both Parents Together
- Groom’s Parents
- Groom’s Immediate Family
- Groom’s Siblings
*Note — we usually suggest planning for 2 minutes per family photo grouping!
For more wedding planning tips, be sure to check out additional posts in our For Brides series!