Formal Family Photo Tips

Tips and Advice for Formal Family Photos at your Wedding

Weddings are one of those occassions where families come together and getting some formal family photos are an imprortant part of the day. But family photos at a wedding can be a crazy and potentially stressful part of the day, particularly if you have a large wedding, a large family, family politics or if there are just a lot of people to photograph.

Generally speaking family photos happen after the wedding ceremony and after people have congratulated you. So here are some tips to get through it unscathed.

  • Don’t worry about the location of the photos. I will look for a location around the church or ceremony that has good, even light and a background that is not too busy. 
  • If you have a complicated family (ie divorces, people not talking to each other etc), then consider writing a list so that we get all the right combinations. 
  • Write the list on the back of the program, so family & guests know exactly who is required for photos.
  • If your siblings have partners and they are not married, get one photo without partners and one photo with their partners. I’m not saying they will break up, but if they do then at least you still have a nice family photo. Yes, I have had to photoshop ex’s out and it is not easy and is sometimes impossible.
  • Enlist the help of the Bridal Party, MC and/or extroverted family members to help round up family & friends as I have no idea who anyone is. Finding missing family members is one of the most time consuming factors with family photos.
  • It is best if I am the only one taking photos. Often there is an aunty or uncle that likes to take photos of every combination as well. It’s really not necessary as they can get a copy of the photos off you. It does slow the whole process down. But I find the main problem is that people don’t know where to look and even when I ask people to look at me, you will inevitably get photos of people looking everywhere. 
  • To work out how long family photo take, just add 2 minutes of shooting time for each combination. So if you have ten combinations, then it will take approximately 20 minutes.

insert pic

If you don’t have a list there is no need to worry. I will run through the standard combinations in my head.

This is pretty much how I do it, so feel free to adjust and tweek to suit your families needs.

  • B & G with Brides parents
  • B & G with Brides parents and siblings
  • B & G with Brides parents, siblings & Grandparents
  • B & G with Brides extended family
  • B & G with both parents
  • B & G with Grooms parents
  • B & G with Grooms parents and siblings
  • B & G with Grooms parents, siblings & Grandparents
  • B & G with Grooms extended family

The big group photo of everyone at the wedding is not a photo that I will offer to take. If you would like me to do it, I am more than happy to photograph it for you, but I am not a huge fan of it.

  • It stops the flow and vibe of the wedding as it requires me to use a big loud voice and interrupt everyones conversations to tell them we are taking a photo.
  • Often there is very limited space particularly around church grounds.
  • It can be tricky getting even light on the entire wedding.
  • A photo of 40 – 200 people all looking at the camera is not a great photo. You will see the first row of people well, and you will see the faces of the second row, but you can barely make out everyone else behind.
  • I would much rather take group photos of your guests ie your work friends, your uni friends, your school friends etc. But again, if it’s something you really want, then I am totally happy to photograph it for you :)