As your wedding photographer I want you to enjoy the greatest day possible. Before your wedding the family groups photos can be that part of the day that many couples stress about most. Everyone has heard the nightmare stories or been at weddings where the couple and their families have been whisked away by the photographer for hours to take family photos.
You will be glad to hear that it doesn’t have to be this way. If you have done your research, found the right photographer (maybe me) and follow these simple tips below, your family photos will be quick, stress free and amazing. This will mean that you both can get back to enjoying the party with your friends and family and everyone will thank you for it.
With all that being said, I do believe that the family photos on your wedding day are a really important. It’s probably not that often you get all your family together in the one place looking their best. These are the photos that your mum will frame and put on the mantle piece to cherish. When done properly they can be fun and finished in 20 minutes and you will have amazing photos and memories to look back on.
Below I have outlined useful tips to help you avoid some of the the mistakes I’ve seen over the years.
Make a list and stick to it:
During your pre wedding consultation with your photographer chat and ask questions about who you want in the family group shots. A great idea is to prepare a list of groups you want in the family photos and give it to your photographer before the wedding to make a plan of action. I always recommend to keep the amount of family photos to a minimum. Your family will thank you for this as nobody wants to be standing around for hours and missing the reception. Be selective with who you choose. My advice would be both immediate families, plus your siblings extended families (partners and kids). It’s important to stick to the list and remember the more group shots you add to your list the less time you have at your reception to party with your mates.
When & Where is best?
When and where to take your family group photos can depend on a number of factors. I would recommend you let your photographer choose the best location as they are the professional’s and will understand what works best in certain situations. Trust your photographer to find the best backdrop and light for your photos.
Here are some options.
(A) Ceremony at the venue.
If you have decided to have a civil ceremony at the your venue I would recommend having your family group photos straight after the ceremony. When your ceremony is over you can arrange that both your families can go to the nearby location that has been chosen by your photographer for the photos. Twenty minutes later when the group photos are finished both your families can head for the reception and enjoy the day.
(B) Church ceremony.
You have some options if you have decided to have your ceremony in a church. Again, straight after the ceremony is a great option, but only if the church has nice grounds or gardens. When the ceremony has ended and you have finished greeting all your guests both families are outside the church and all be in the one place. This makes it easy to round everyone up for photos. If the church you have chosen does not have a garden or nice grounds I would recommend waiting until we go back to the venue.
Before your wedding try to designate a groomsman or a family member that is familiar with both your families to help your photographer gather everyone together. This can save precious time and that means more time at the reception for everyone.
To save any stress on the day and to avoid your Dad or brother going on the missing list just before it’s time for the family photos, try to inform both families when and where the group photos are taking place. Family photos can not take place if you’re missing your dad or brother and it can really prolong the process if a family member has decided to check into their room at the wrong time.
How long should it take?
If you have planned properly and communicated with your photographer before your wedding, the family group shots can be done properly and should only take between twenty and thirty minutes. Enjoy the moment and have some fun with it. I promise it’s not as bad as you think.
What about photos with my mates?
Some group photos with your best mates are a must. I would however recommend having these taken back at the reception when everyone has had a few drinks and is more relaxed and chilled out. During the reception just tap me on the shoulder when you have a group of your closest friends together and we can get some awesome photos of all of you. Don’t worry if you forget as I will be there to remind you. This can also be a great time to take some photos with any aunts and uncles that weren’t involved in the family photos.
One final tip and probably the best tip is to have your bridal party group shots taken at the same time as the family group shots. As soon as the family photos are finished let both families to go back to the reception and arrange for all your bridal party to stay behind. This is a great way to save some valuable time and have all the the group shots taken together.
Always remember that in the end it’s your wedding and it’s totally up to you when and where the family photos are taken and who’s in them. I hope these tips and guidelines will help take the stress out of planning your family photos. Below I have outlined a standard list of group shots to give you an idea of what’s involved and to get you started. This list can be modified to suits your needs.
Standard list for family group shots :
Bride & Groom + Both Bride & Grooms Parents
Bride & Groom + Brides Parents
Bride & Groom + Brides Immediate Family
Bride & Groom + Brides Extended Family ( parents, siblings, siblings partners and children )
Bride + Brides Parents ( together & individually )
Bride & Groom + Grooms Parents
Bride & Groom + Grooms Immediate Family
Bride & Groom + Grooms Extended Family ( parents, siblings, siblings partners and children )
Groom + Grooms Parents ( together & individually )
I hope you found this helpful. Wishing you the very best in planning your wedding. For more tips and inspiration go to my blog main page. You may enjoy reading ‘5 Reasons to consider having a ‘First Look’ on Your Wedding Day’