As a wedding photographer, I’ve worked with a lot of unique families! This year, I included a family tips section in my Bride Guide to help brides and their families plan for efficient family photos. The best part is, these tips help in the planning of every day family sessions and extended group sessions also!
We strive to make family photos as quick and relatively painless as possible (I know we all have people who hate taking photos). But family photo time can add up quickly. Plan on each grouping taking about 2-3 minutes if everyone is ready, and remember the more time we spend on family photos the less time you‘ll have for Bride & Groom photos. If you have 10 family groupings, expect to spend about 30 minutes on family photos. If you have 20 family groupings, expect to spend about 60 minutes. Most couples have photograph lists that range in between 30-60 minutes. I always recommend a minimum of 30 minutes planned for family photos.
I recommend limiting your family photos time to your immediate family, grandparents, and other extremely important people, and save the rest of your group photos for the reception (like coworkers, cousins, high school friends!). Choosing your top 10 photos is recommended.
When creating your list, add groups in order of most important:
Since I don‘t know everyone‘s names, it‘s really helpful to write something like ‘Bride & Groom with bride‘s immediate family (Bryce, Luke, and Sally)‘, so that I know what the group is and who we need in the shot (names help if we have to track anyone down!)
Please help me avoid any confusion or awkwardness and include in your notes if your parents are divorced, remarried, or you‘ll be remembering a lost loved one with a photo remembrance. Feelings run high on wedding days and I want to be respectful and aware of those circumstances and any other special circumstances.
Bride & Groom with Bride’s Family Members
Bride & Groom with Groom’s Family Members
Lastly, Make sure to tell everyone that is expected. When are they expected to participate in photos? What time do they need to be ready and meet (usually right after the ceremony if you‘re not doing a first look)? Having to wait on family members is one reason photos can take longer than expected, and can make others frustrated. The wedding pictured below was one of the most efficient groups I’ve ever photographed. We completed over 20 groupings in a short 30 minutes. The bride and groom set clear expectations for each family and they respected and followed the plan!