Posed family photos - it's pretty much a staple in every wedding and probably the most dreaded of the wedding day photos. These photos generally involve rounding up LARGE groups of people in a very short amount of time, getting them posed, fixing the bride's train, scooting people together to close gaps, moving people back out a step or two because they're now too close, getting the lighting right, making sure no one pulls the bride's veil out when they wrap their arms around her and then making sure everyone smiles, keeps their eyes open and looks right at the camera - at the same time. It's exhausting just saying that. Generally speaking, these are the photos that mom and dad and grandma want framed and hanging on their walls, so they are a vital portion of the wedding day. Do you ever wonder how we can make these posed photos a little less painful? Well my friend, you're in the right place - just keep reading!
1. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
Making your list of family members doesn't have to be difficult. Make it easy on yourself and keep your list simple. Have you, the bride AND groom in all of the photos and stick to immediate family members. If you have a special request of a photo with your college friends or your mom with all of her siblings, those photos can easily be done during the reception during some down time.
2. Make your list and let your family members know they're on it.
Chances are, your photographer is asking you for a list of group shots prior to the wedding day. Finalize the list and then send it off to all of the people on it. That way, they have a heads up and will know to stick around for the photos.
3. Have a time and place set for these photos.
When you pass along your list to these special family members, make sure you let them know WHEN and WHERE these photos will be. If they're not there, they're not in the picture. Don't stress about it because chances are we can get them in a photo at the reception.
4. Assign a helper.
No matter how many times you remind them, someone always forgets to stick around for the family photos. Ask a person from both families to help gather people for the photos as soon as the ceremony ends and the ceremony site is clearing out. That way, you can be ready to begin photos while the rest of the people are trickling back.
5. Plan enough time.
One of the biggest mistakes I see is when couples don't plan enough time in between the ceremony and reception. Family photos aren't always the only photos to be taken after the ceremony ends. Usually the bridal party photos and bride and groom photos still need done as well. Plan enough time in between to accommodate for all of the photos that need to get done. I usually allot 30-45 minutes for family pictures. There are usually a couple of shots that end up getting added to the list. If these shots are large family photos, that can push us behind 10-15 minutes, if not longer. So err on the side of caution and plan for extra time to accomplish these photos. The last thing you'll want is to rush these photos and make them more hectic.
6. Do your family portraits before the ceremony.
If you're looking for an alternative, doing your family photos before the ceremony can really open up your timeline. I've done this for quite a few weddings actually, and it really helps create a less stressful day.
7. Communicate any family feuds with your photographer.
Honestly speaking, us togs don't want to know the ins and outs of your family relationships to be nosey. We just want to know if there are any feuds so we don't add fuel to the fire by asking arguing parties to stand together in a photo. If your parents are divorced and don't get along, give us a heads up so we can plan the order of photos in a way that keeps the awkwardness at a minimum ;]
8. Trust your photographer.
Above all else, trust that your tog wants to make this process as easy and swift as possible. They're a professional that has done this A LOT. They got your back, boo.