Tips for Family Photos on a Wedding Day

As wedding photographers, we handle the most challenging tasks…for example photographing 14 family groups in 20 minutes. Right after the ceremony ladies may leave to touch up their makeup but the biggest hindrance of all—OPEN BAR! With a list of the names of family members in a sea of 200+ people the idea of bringing a megaphone doesn’t sound so silly.

I’m going to be admit gathering people for wedding day family photos can be the hardest part, however family photos are some of the most important.  Lists are only helpful when there’s someone there to help. This is where my assistant comes in…this is the only time of day that my second shooter does not shoot along side of me because their only job is to herd family members!

I send my brides and grooms a ‘family photography sheet’ to fill out. I also ask that they indicate if any family members cannot stand for long periods of time, if there are very young children or any other family dynamics I should be aware of.  I review the bride and grooms requests to ensure we’re on the same page, then I email and ask her to assign one organized family member from her side of the family and one from the groom’s side of the family to help with photos in addition to my assistant.

I always take time to educate my clients and let them know what they need to do to ensure everything flows smoothly.

tips for family portraits at weddings
Here’s a sample email I might send:
Hello Fabulous Couple!

I am sending you this email separately because of the high importance.

Family formal photos can be chaotic…I would like to make sure that they run as smoothly as possible on your wedding day.  Please let both sides of the families know they are NOT to leave at the end of the ceremony.Please ask that they hold off on getting a beverage or running to the restroom until after the photos are taken (except for emergencies of course).  Can you please assign one organized (a.k.a. bossy) family member from each side to help corral family members for photos? I also ask that ALL members of the wedding party stick around as well.  In my experience, if everyone is ready to go and present then we will be able to complete the family formals in less than 20 minutes (which means more time for cocktail hour!!)  Can you please confirm that you received this email?

Can’t wait to meet your families,


Tips for photographing families at weddings

For the gentlemen… hands in pockets and jacket buttoned. For the ladies…. bouquets placed right under the bust and positioning on the side that will allow the corsage to show.


Tips for Photographers:

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