Wedding day family photo tips

Let’s be real here…you NEED wedding day family photo tips.  Think about it, your family wants to see all the guests.  There might be an open bar.  Heck they might have already been drinking.  They wander away to socialize and sometimes getting them all back on track is like herding cats.  Mom runs off to make sure everything is set up perfectly.  Grandparents just want to sit down and eat.  It’s just the way things are.  Plus no one wants to be standing around taking pictures forever so let’s make sure we get them done and get everyone to partying!

The first group photo tip for your wedding day is to give your family a heads up beforehand AND also have the officiant announce the immediate family will need to stay in the area after you and all your wedding party walk yourselves back down the aisle.  What you’ll want to do is hide yourselves away with the wedding party, usually the venue will have someone grab some of those hor d’oeuvres that will be floating around your cocktail hour and bring you water or drinks.  If not have someone from the wedding party go grab you everything you want!  If you stay out with the guests then you’ll end up talking to everyone and getting to pictures will take forever.  More time taking family photos means less time for those romantic photos AND that timeline starts to run behind which means you’re going to be late getting to that awesome meal you have planned!  You get all night to party with all those loved ones! Once the guests have gone, then we gather up those family members and knock out those photos so they can get to socializing too!

The second wedding day family photo tip is to have given your photographer (hi that’s me!) a list to work off of before the wedding day.  Personally I keep the list in my phone and on my watch and work off of it to keep everything moving along.  This also helps if there are any family dynamics to be worked around.  Pro tip…this is also a question I have in the final questionnaire because all families have their things. A good extra tip with this is to enlist someone from the wedding party who knows everyone’s names and dynamics. They can help wrangle and direct and can even read off that list if the photographer is working with big groups.

I like to work big groups to small so we can start letting people go on their way as soon as possible. It’ll save your feet in those beautiful shoes and your face from cramping up with all the smiling for endless photos. No one wants those sweet grandparents on their feet any longer than they have to be.  And if there are any little ones (some weddings are kid free and some aren’t), their tolerance for standing still is a teeny, tiny window. Let’s get them running free as soon as possible.

Below is an example to help you get started on that group list.  It’ll definitely be switched around with family dynamics and we will possibly wing part of it if family has wandered away.  Sometimes there are cousin photos or single parent photos or your kids if you have any etc. These are just suggestions to help you get an idea of what we’ll do to keep things moving along.

We work one side of the family first and then work big to small. Think of each grouping taking 5-10 minutes depending how quickly we can get everyone switched out.

  • The big family photo is first.  Squish in nice and tight and someone will automatically say “act like we love each other!”
  • Immediate family.  Mom, dad (unless divorced then we work each side separately), siblings (and spouses and nieces and nephews), and grandparents.
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings
  • Parents

Rince and repeat with the other side.  Let everyone go as soon as they’ve had their photo.  They get to go socialize and you get to take those photos and make out with that hot new spouse of yours without an audience. Well except for that creepy wedding photographer (me again) making you kiss in front of a camera…

Another tip is to only include extended family in one group photo if you reallyyyyy need one.  Any smaller individual groupings you can grab a photographer during the reception and get a fun photo then!  This will help move things along quickly and painlessly. For the bigger group photos, make sure no one is hiding in the back. If they can’t see the camera then their faces won’t be in the photo.

And my final tip? Don’t forget moms. This seems to be a given right? Oddly enough I find it’s often the most forgotten about photo if it isn’t planned out.  Moms get busy!  Plus it makes a great Mother’s Day present (wink wink).  I’m not leaving dads out here.  They’re usually telling dad jokes and can get distracted too.

Here’s to a smooth as silk, easy as pie wedding day!! And check out these other timeline tips here!


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