3 Tips for Navigating Sensitive Family Dynamics at a Wedding

I would like to venture a guess that most photographers don’t love family formals during a wedding day. I weirdly enjoy them. However, it can be challenging to navigate family dynamics at a wedding if you haven’t done your homework. I’m going to give you 3 Tips for Navigating Sensitive Family Dynamics at a Wedding that you can take and implement to ensure you don’t put your foot in your mouth the next time you’re taking family formals.


It is crucial that you send out a wedding day questionnaire to your couple a few months prior to their wedding day. This will create the foundation of the wedding day and help prepare you for anything out of the “ordinary”. Make sure to ask if there are any sensitive family dynamics that you should be aware of.


Often times once I receive the questionnaire back from my clients, I have a few questions. When I am discussing any questions regarding the wedding day, I will also make sure to address what they’ve answered for the family dynamics question.

Be an Ally

I’ve had to be the bad guy a few times at a wedding so that the couple doesn’t have to be. An example would be when the couple didn’t want the step father in the photos. During the “discussion”, I told them that if their mom started asking questions, we would pop him in for one photo and then pop him back out. That way mom is still happy and the couple can just delete that photo. Sometimes what might happen is that a parent of the couple want photos of specific things and then I always inform them that the couple have a list of specific photos that they want so I have to prioritize those first and for them to come grab me at the reception.

Communication is the most important part of photographing a wedding. You will want to know the vision of the couple, help them decide on a timeline, and help navigate any of those sensitive family dynamics that I mentioned.

The Essential Communication Handbook for Wedding Photographers is your guide to preparing and organizing the couple’s wedding day so that the day can run smooth and on time. Learn more here!

If you found this information helpful, make sure to check out How to Work Effectively with Wedding Vendors. Being good at this could help you sky rocket your photography business.

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