OK, let’s be honest, no one loves corralling relatives and then standing around with plastered smiles waiting in the hot sun (or bitter cold) to cycle through 30 different combinations of everyone in your family tree. However, we know that many of these photos are necessary. Weddings are like reunions, and many of these people will likely never be in the same room again, which means formal family photos at your wedding are a Must. I’m here to tell you that they do not need to be a painfully drawn-out experience. That’s right! Check out my 5 tips below on how to breeze through your family wedding portraits with ease and a smile to spare.
1. PLANNING: First of all, plan to take as many photos as possible before the ceremony. This will ensure that you’re able to enjoy the cocktail hour with your guests and the yummy appetizers you’ve planned for, rather than running around corralling (and waiting on) family members. I’m sure your bridesmaids and groomsmen are awesome, but your guests are there to celebrate you and they want to have as much time as possible to do so.
2. THE LIST: Talk with your partner and your families (you know your mom/grandma/aunt Suzie is going to have some input) ahead of time when deciding who you want/need photos with and make a list of each of those photo groups. This is often something that is left to the last minute, however everyone has a different idea of who should be in these photos; you may assume the family photos will just be of the two of you with you parents and siblings, when your partner wants to include their aunts and cousins as well. The sooner you have this figured out, the sooner you’ll be able to nail down your timeline. This list will also let you to know who you’ll need to notify to be early for photos and will ensure we’re not calling too many last minute “audibles” on wedding day and running over our allotted time. I suggest starting with the smallest group from your side, working up to the largest combined group from both sides, and then working back down to the smallest group from your partner’s side. Remember to include first names to make it easier on your photographer when calling out people for photos. Check out this example:
1. Chris + Anna (mom)
2. Chris + John (dad)
3. Chris + John + Anna
4. Chris + John + Anna + Jo
5. Chris + John + Anna + Jo + Jim (Jo’s dad) + Steph (Jo’s mom)
6. Jo + Jim + Steph
7. Jo + Jim
8. Jo + Steph
3. TIMING: Take a look at that list you just made. Now consider that each group of 2-4 people will take 1-2 minutes each and groups of 5 (+) can take 5-10 minutes each, depending on the size and cooperation level of the group. You’ll notice time adds up very quickly. Consider combining groups to save time and/or talking with your photographer about how much extra time may be needed for your specific list. I like to plan for no more than 30 to 45 minutes of family photos.
4. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Let your photographer know if there are any special dynamics that they should be aware of. Every family is different and it’s best to be clear before we end up with a possible awkward situation. If grandpa needs a chair, but always refuses one, let’s be sure we have one ready. If mom and stepmom aren’t on speaking terms, perhaps they don’t need to be in the same photo. If your brother is going to want his girlfriend of two-weeks in every family photo, let’s have that list ahead of time so that we call the shots. 🙂
5. COORDINATE: Last, but not least, let your families know your wedding colors and request they dress appropriately. Now, this doesn’t mean everyone needs to wear the same color. If your primary wedding color is purple or navy, let them know and then consider requesting that they wear something close to that color palette or “jewel tones”. The idea is that no one immediately stands out among the rest of the group (except for you and your partner, of course). It’s amazing how much quicker it is to organize and pose a group of people when everyone matches.
I hope these tips help you roll through those family photos with ease. If you have tips of your own you’d like to share or comments on what you’ve read, be sure to leave a message below! xx, Amy