On a wedding day, things can get behind schedule and turn hectic which is why I want to share how to achieve flawless family photos on a wedding day!
I have a seamless framework that I follow each and every wedding that I photograph and I want to share it will you too so that you too can go into this part of a wedding day with no stress.
For each wedding, I send them a wedding day questionnaire that helps me best prepare for the day. Within that questionnaire, I ask them the names of their immediate family that they want photos with. In the definition of immediate family I put in brackets (parents, siblings, grandparents). I also ask that they provide the names of the spouses and children that will be included as well.
Within this questionnaire, I have a section asking what combinations they would like. They have the ability to choose as many as they like.
Bride w/ grandparents, B&G w/ bride’s grandparents, Bride w/ each grandparent alone
I also leave a section for them to add any comments.
One of the most important sections of this questionnaire is my question “Are there any sensitive family dynamics?” – This gives the couple an opportunity to let you know if mom has a new boyfriend that they don’t want to have in the photos. If the boyfriend shows up for photos, I always take the couple aside and say, “Listen, to avoid any awkwardness, I will pop him in and out of photos. This will keep your mom happy and then you can just delete those photos”.
Create a List
Once I have all of the information that I need, I type out both sides of the families names and the combinations that they would like.
I also take note of any comments they made to ensure I have all of the information that I need.
You will find yourself in situations where the mother of the bride or groom, an aunt, uncle, cousin or neighbor decide they want to add various people into the mix. How should you respond to this?
“We are pressed for time and I have a very specific list of people B&G want photos with. So if we have time at the end, I will for sure fit those photos in and if not, make sure to come grab me at the reception or cocktail hour and we can get those photos for you!”
Family Member Appointed
It is super important to inform the couple that you would like them to designate one person for each side of the family to help gather the family. As soon as the ceremony is over, I go to those designated and tell them where to corral everyone.
If you are lucky enough to have someone assisting you or a second shooter, I always have them yelling who will be in the next photo. This keeps everything running smoothly and on time.
I hope that these tips help you nail your next family formal session and ease any anxiety or stress you might have going into them.
I have an Ideal Wedding Day Timeline freebie you can download to ensure your next wedding is flawless.
Feel free to check out Lenses every wedding photographer needs while you’re at it!