Family Wedding Photo

planning family formal photos

Most of my day is spent quietly observing, but for 15 minutes after the ceremony it's the complete opposite. It's important to capture images with those closest to you, but if it's not planned well it quickly descends into chaos. Here's how to avoid that situation.

have a list, check it twice

Ahead of time, I provide an online form to collect info I need to make the day run smoothly, including a list of formal photos.

Keep it concise.
Each group takes about 2 minutes to shoot.

10 groups = 20 minutes.
20 groups = 40 minutes.
Time before you're over it = 5-10 minutes.

I'll shoot 100 formal photos if you like, but your schedule needs to allow for it. There will be time for friend groups at the reception - keep this limited to close family.

Avoid doubling up.
A common mistake is writing a list like :

couple + A
couple + A + B
couple + C + D
couple + A + B + C + D

I understand the desire to cover all your bases, but in reality this is a huge time sink. On the day, A+B have wandered off while you shoot C+D and then we need to find them again. Condense your groups, shoot one photo with everyone and move on.

Use first names.
If I yell out 'bride's cousin!' no one turns around. If I yell 'SARAH!', Sarah turns up.

Tell family members they'll be in a photo before the wedding.
They'll probably forget anyway, but hopefully it can avoid family members disappearing before you can get a snap together.
Family wedding photo at the Woodhouse Wollombi

have a (loud) helper

I have a list, but I don't know who everyone in your family is.
Pick someone who knows the people on the list to help out.
This person should rarely be on the list themselves. The more authoritative this person is, the faster these photos will go. Are you friends with a school teacher? An auctioneer? These types of people leap at the chance to create order out of chaos. My longest lists have been done in the shortest time if they're paired with an efficient helper.

the huge, enormous, absolutely-everyone group shot

Taking a great photo of everyone at once takes time. For some venues, it's near impossible. This isn't a shot that I usually include, but if it's important to you, let me know.
Group Photo Tocal Homestead

the finished product

The final version should look something like this ( but with first names )

- Mum & Dad
- Mum & Dad + siblings
- Mum & Dad + siblings + partners
- Grandparents
- Aunts/Uncles/Cousins/Nieces/Nephews
- Both sets of parents
- Repeat for your partner