Wedding day family portraits are not our usual unposed photography style. Even still, they are very important to most of the family, friends and wedding guests. Therefore, we always work with our couples to carve some time out of their wedding day for these portraits. Most of the time its a very short list, with the most immediate family involved. The amount of time needed will obviously differ from family to family, but a good rule of thumb is to allow about 20 minutes to be safe. Here are our recommendations when thinking through your family portraits:
The best time for family and bridal party portraits is before the ceremony.
Everyone is ready to go and no one will miss any cocktail hour or reception time. It’s possible to do them after the ceremony, but making sure all of the people involved stay put after the wedding is a difficult task. If you plan for these photos after the ceremony you will likely run into issues with wedding guests interrupting to congratulate the bride a groom, losing family members to the cocktail hour and sending someone to go retrieve them, and missing out on quality reception time with your guests!
Determining who makes the cut
I recommend keeping the list short because on your wedding day smiling at the camera posed with tons of different groups will wear you out! Stop and think about how you want to use these photos. If you know you want to gift your Grandma a portrait for Christmas add that to the portraits list. If your mom wants a photo of your immediate family framed on the wall, add that portrait to the list. Knowing HOW and WHEN you will use these photos is a great way to keep from adding groupings to the list "just because" or because you think it is "what you're supposed to do."
Providing a list
We will work together to create a family portraits list. This usually happens 2 to 4 weeks from your wedding date. This can seem like a daunting task to sit down and do all by yourself when you have a do list that is a mile long. We get it! That's why we just check it off your list when we do our final wedding consult and itinerary planning meeting. It's one less thing you have to finish before your wedding day! (It also gives you a chance to inform us of any family dynamics we should be aware of).
Enlist someone to help on the wedding day
Yes, we have a list. Yes, I have a loud voice and can holler out names. However, family portraits always seem to go more smoothly when we have a helper that knows the people on the list. This way they can round up the group "on deck" while we take the portraits. This keeps things moving and makes sure that you are spending your time hanging out and having fun instead of standing and smiling at the camera.
Have you ever been to a wedding when the cousin brings his girlfriend and she hops in the family photo? Awwwwwkward. Well, this is pretty simple - make sure you communicate with every family member that you want in a photo! By sending the portraits list out you will eliminate any wedding day awkwardness. We recommend sending out the WHO, WHERE, and WHEN to your family a few times prior to the wedding day.