Since it's a Monday morning (yuck)... I figured now would be the best time to talk about (almost) everyone's least favorite part of the wedding day... formal family photos. We have all been in those weddings where the family photos drag on and on, and we all know that we just want to get to the food! Early on in my photography career, I would mostly play it by ear and photos would seem to last forever... and there would always be something that was missed. It was always so stressful for me, but worse, for the bride, groom and their families.
I quickly learned that this was not what I wanted weddings to look like- I strive to help my brides and grooms be completely stress-free on their wedding days and this was throwing everything off! So, I changed my approach completely and now have the bride and groom provide a full & detailed list before the wedding day. I have them chat with their parents together to set expectations. If we only have 15-20 minutes for all of the family photos, we cannot have a list of 30+ variations.
Some tips I've learned along the way:
* Talk with your Mom & your future Mother-in-law to make sure everyone's expectations are set. Discussing how you have 15-20 minutes of family portrait time that you're splitting between your family and your fiance's family.
*If there are people you want in family photos, make sure you're communicating that with those family members! Having to search someone down in the middle of portrait time is no fun!
*We can start family photos right away, even if there are some guests still around! Once they see us starting photos, they will automatically start walking over to the cocktail hour!
*The best light is not always the ceremony site. I will scope out the lighting situation before photos and have a plan for where would be best for those!
*I always start with the officiant, and then the family with the oldest members so they can get into the reception and sit down!
Here is the list that most of my couples start with, and then adjust it based on their specific family members attending their wedding!
Bride & Groom with Officiant
Bride & Groom with Brides Full Extended Family (parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.)
Bride & Groom with Brides Grandparents
Bride & Groom with Brides Immediate Family (parents, siblings, spouses & children)
Bride & Groom with Brides Immediate Family no spouses (parents, siblings)
Bride & Groom with Brides Parents
Bride with Brides Mom
Bride with Brides Dad
Bride with Brides siblings
Bride & Groom with Brides Siblings
Bride & Groom with Grooms Full Extended Family (parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.)
Bride & Groom with Grooms Grandparents
Bride & Groom with Grooms Immediate Family (parents, siblings, spouses & children)
Bride & Groom with Grooms Immediate Family no spouses (parents, siblings)
Bride & Groom with Grooms Parents
Groom with Groom's Mom
Groom with Groom's Dad
Groom with Groom's siblings
Bride & Groom with Groom's Siblings
Remember, the more detailed you can be for your family list the better!! It is always so helpful for me when I'm calling out names to be specific! Calling out "Brides Aunt" can be a lot more productive if there's a name included in that!
See, formal portraits don't have to be THAT difficult! I can knock them out in about 15-20 minutes and get you enjoying your wedding reception sooner than later!!