4 Steps to Successful Family Photos at Your Wedding

June 26, 2020  •  1 Comment

One of the biggest photography-related stressors that couples planning their wedding have is the family group photos. They often think "How am I going to get my crazy family to cooperate? It's going to take forever, it'll be stressful, I just want get to the reception!" While family formals aren't the most exciting photos to take, they are very important. You and your family members will want to look back on those photos years later to remember everything about the special day: what everyone looked like, who was there, & how happy everyone was! So, how do you make sure the family formal pictures go smoothly? Keep reading for tips!

South Carolina SC photographer Ashley Homan4 tips to successful family group photos at your weddinghow to organize large group pictures at wedding reception or ceremony

1. Prepare a list of family members & groupings

Give your photographer a list of your family members' names and the groupings you would like pictures of. This will save time as they can systematically go through the list. It will be much smoother than trying to get the right people together and remember which groupings you want on the spot. Your mind will be on so many things on your wedding day, so prepare beforehand to avoid frustration and tension. It's best to assign a close friend to go down the list and shout out the names. I personally always have a second shooter or assistant with me at weddings, so if no one else is available they can take this job. I have a sample list of common family groupings if you need help getting started on this task. Click here to see it

2. Tell the family when & where to be

Inform everyone who will be included in family photos of where and when they should be before the wedding day. Then make an announcement on the day of the wedding, perhaps just after the ceremony, as a reminder. This will prevent confusion and late or missing people. It will keep the schedule for the rest of the day on track. Everyone will also be more at ease because they know where to be, and this will show up well on everyone's faces in the photos. It may be good to have a member of the bridal party let all family members know this information (less work for you)! SC South Carolina outdoor group pictureHow to organize large family group photos at wedding receptionby Myrtle Beach photographer Ashley Homan Photography

3. Communicate any special circumstances to your photographer

Let your photographer know of any potentially awkward family dynamics. Maybe there's a few in the family who don't get along particularly well, and wouldn't enjoy being next to each other in photos. Tell your photographer if someone is especially uncomfortable in front of the camera. If there are older ones or someone with a disability that may have trouble standing for a long period of time or must sit, communicate this. If you have a specific location you'd like to use or any other special requests, let them know. Keep them up to date on any changes to schedule as well, as this may impact when and how long you have for family photos. 

4. Try to relax and enjoy your family's company 

With good preparation, the family formals should only take about 15 to 20 minutes at most. Despite "formal" being in the term, there doesn't have to be anything strict or formal about them. It's best to smile and laugh with your family. It will take the pressure off of everyone in the group. Then you all can get to the reception without a hassle!

SC photographerFamily group photos wedding ceremonyCharleston, South Carolina family photo at wedding by Ashley Homan Photography


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