Tips to smooth, painless family wedding photos
Your ceremony overs, you have hugged all your guests (pre-covid) and heard all of their ‘congrats’ - now it is time to do family photos. These are the many combinations of family members with you, the newlyweds, often at the ceremony site or a nearby location. Family photos can be cherished shots to capture in years to come when you look back on who was all their on your special day, but if not planned and prepared for can end up being one of the most unforeseen stressful moments of the day. But do not fret! A couple of simple steps in the planning processes can ensure that family photos are quick, easy, and stress-free! Whew!
Create your family shot list ahead of time
One of the pieces that I asked for from all of my wedding couples is a family shot list. This is a list of the different combinations of family members you would like photos with. Thinking of this list ahead of time allows you to create a comprehensive list and to get any other opinions that might be important to you on who is all included in family photos. When the day arrives, your photographer has the list and all you need to do is simple stay in position as the photographer shuffles people in and out to get all of your family photo combinations.
Consider the order of family combinations
It can be nice and helpful to plan to do the largest family photos and the photos with elderly and littles early. This gives grandpa and grandma time to rest and recoup before the reception and gets the littles done before they get antsy. Having the large family photos done early is especially nice if you plan to include aunts, uncles, and cousins, if they are not in any other shots they can then head over to the reception sooner.
Assign a louder family member (or close family friends) that knows the people on your list to help the photographer swapped people in and out
If you have an Aunt Sally that is not afraid to be loud and call out who is up next for photos, this can help the photographer focus on placing people and capturing the shots. If Aunt Sally and your photographer work together, family photos will go a whole lot quicker.
Tell family in your family photos ahead of time
Let all of your family members that are in your family shot list when and where they need to be for family photos. This can help eliminate us from searching for your cousin Bobby or grandpa Joe who left right after the ceremony to head over to the reception. A quick heads up keeps everyone on the same page and ensures everyone is present for family photos when it is time.
Four simple steps can really make all the difference between family photos taking 20 minutes or an hour. Doing a little work ahead of time and communicating with your family can really make for a better wedding day experience for both you and your loved ones. If you have any questions about planning for your wedding day family photos, let me know! I would love to chat. :)
How many hours of coverage do I need?
This is often a question I get from couples booking their wedding day photography with me. It can be a daunting question for couples as you want to make sure you are getting all the coverage you want, but also meeting your budget needs. My job as a photographer is to ask questions and listen to what your priorities are for your wedding photos. A number of factors go into how many hours of coverage you may need such as; travel, timeline, size of family/wedding party, desire for getting ready photos, etc. Here are a few questions that can guide you in choosing how many hours you need to get all of the photos you want. Obviously, I am always more than happy to talk through your wedding day and help you figure out what is best for your wants and needs.
Do you want to capture getting-ready images?
Do you want the photos of your hair and makeup being put on? Are you getting ready onsite of your ceremony or is their travel involved? For all of the getting ready details I would suggest allocating three hours of coverage prior to your ceremony time. If you are looking for just photos of you getting your dress zipped up, and your bridesmaids together in the dressing room, an hour before the ceremony should be sufficient.
Are you having a first look?
If you are planning to do a first look prior to the ceremony, this is something that you don’t want to rush and I would recommend allotting the time to make this moment special for you and your partner. Your wedding day is going to be filled with love from friends and family and a first look can give you two intimate times on your special day. This time can also give us the opportunity to capture bridal photos of you as a couple if you have a shorter time frame between the ceremony and reception. I suggest adding an additional 30-60 minutes prior to the ceremony for a first look to truly treasure the time together.
How much travel will be involved?
Is your ceremony and reception all at the same location? If so, it will take less time to capture bridal and bridal party photos in-between the ceremony and reception, which would allow for a shorter period between these events. If there is travel involved between the ceremony and reception, or you would like to go to a separate location for photos, be sure to calculate travel time when mapping out your wedding day timeline.
What activities do you have planned for your wedding reception?
I would say in the majority of cases an hour into dancing most couples will feel satisfied with the photos captured and are ready to enjoy the night with friends and family. In the first hour of dancing, first dances have occurred and any special events (bouquet toss, garter toss, grand march, etc). If these activities are going to occur longer than an hour into dancing, you may want more coverage or want to talk to your DJ about adjusting the order of events.
One average most couples decide that 8-10 hours is the perfect fit for their wedding day needs. If you book and decide that you want to adjust the number of hours your need for coverage, we can talk about updating your contract appropriately. If you have any questions, or would like to sit down to go through your wedding day timeline just ask, I would love too. :)
Hello! I'm glad you are here.
I am an Appleton, Wisconsin-based photographer. I lean into my creative side when I shoot and love bringing out your personality during your session. To ramble off a few of the things that fuel my soul (other than my camera); clear night skies, snuggles with loved ones, the outdoors, sunsets, having genuine conversations with new people, and listening to audiobooks.