DEFINITION OF FAMILY PHOTOS: Trying to herd a bunch of people that are either counting down the minutes until they can go to the bar for cocktail hour or are trying to be funny with their comments and poses, all while you are rallying everyone to look presentable, hoping that no eyes are closed, and posing them in a boring way to just make sure everyone is in and looking happy. Oh yeah, and making sounds that you didn’t even know came from you when trying to make the baby in the photos smile!
However, we have to remember that family photos are treasured. Weddings are a chance to bring families together, and sometimes people have traveled across the world to be there. These photos are important, and it is our job to make sure these photos are done right. It is also the time of day when you are on display for a bunch of people and this is your chance to impress them!
Here are our top 5 tips for Family Photos:
#1 – Have a list and check it TWICE
It is not always ideal to get lists from clients as you can end up with pages and pages. We have a standard photo list of about 8 combinations with the immediate family and also have a space in our questionnaire to mention if there are any additional photos they would like. Having our list gives them a place to start and often, they just stick with our list or they may add on 3-4 other combinations with aunts and uncles, etc.. If you do have a lot of particular family photos that the bride wants, it is usually best to have a list from them as it is hard for them to think about what they need on the day.
Having our systemized list is important for a few reasons – it is designed in a way that makes the most sense system wise. If a bride is writing the list, it may be more random and switch back and forth between families. It also gives us a consistent system that we know well, so we can make sure we get all the necessary shots efficiently.
Ideally, you want to have an assistant or second shooter crossing off your list and helping organize people. Missing one or two of the crucial photos may seem minor, but it can be a game changer afterwards if something was missed.
#2 – Start with kids and elderly
If there are young kids in the family, it is ideal to start with those combinations. Usually the kids are done after the ceremony and ready to go have a nap, so get those out of the way as soon as possible if you can. Also, Grandpa and Grandma may have a hard time standing for long, so keep them in the shade and the quicker you can do their photos, the better.
#3 – Work your way down with large families
A lot of our couples like to have photos with their extended family. We are ok with this as we know how important it was for us to get those on our wedding day. It can be intimidating though having up to 50 people watching you do the stressful event of family photos and it is also hard working around that many people that are waiting, so the sooner you can get the majority of people finished the better. We usually take all of the large extended family shots first, then work our way down to our regular immediate family list.
#4 – Take the time to pose everyone
Take a second to look at the photos to make sure eyes are open, hands are in pockets, and that everyone is looking at the camera. This few seconds can save you hours in post-production. Also, with smaller families, it is fun to treat them like a wedding party. Often, family photos are very traditional and formal looking, but they don’t have to be. It is good to take a “safe” shot, then get the family all cuddled in for one or even do a fun one, or incorporate some chairs to add layers.
#5 – Take photos of individual couples and families
If you have time or a second shooter, we like to take a photo of just mom and dad together, or the bride’s brother with his wife and kids as a family. It’s a nice gesture, and another way to provide outstanding service to our clients by giving their loved ones a professional photo as a couple or as a family. Don’t forget to take a photo of Grandpa and Grandma too!