9 Tips for Fast and Easy Wedding Family Photos

Last Updated on April 11, 2024

Your wedding day is filled with unforgettable moments, and among the most treasured shots are often those taken with your family. These are the photos that will likely be displayed in your home and be cherished for years to come. To ensure these moments are captured smoothly and efficiently, here are nine tips to help you navigate your family photos with ease.

A black and white photograph of a diverse wedding family gathered on steps of a church for a family wedding photo, with the bride and groom in the center.

1. Prepare a Wedding Family Photo List Together with Your Partner

Discuss this list with your families to manage expectations and ensure you’re capturing all the important arrangements and nobody is disappointed after the wedding! While there are traditional groupings, such as the list below, your arrangements may vary depending on family dynamics, cultural traditions, and your personal preferences.

To maximize efficiency, sort this list so your Photographer shoots the largest groups first, allowing any people who aren’t needed for more shots to leave the area. Remember to consider other factors such as the elderly, young children and/or pets that may affect the order of your list.

Typical Wedding Family Photo List

  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s extended family
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s immediate family
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s extended family
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s immediate family
  • Bride & Groom with both immediate families
  • Bride & Groom with both sets of parents
  • Bride & Groom with Bride’s parents
  • Bride & Groom with Groom’s parents

2. Reserve a Realistic Amount of Time

Allocate around 30 minutes for 10-15 groupings, or approximately 2-5 minutes per group, depending on size. If you have a large family, have guests who are photo-enthusiasts, or anticipate that gathering people may be challenging, consider allowing more time to avoid running behind.

3. Assign a Group Shot Assistant

Designate 1-2 family members or friends who know both sides of the family to assist with group shots. This person can help gather and identify family members, ensuring no one is missed. (We don’t want to have Grandma missing from the family photo if she’s still in the bathroom!) Provide them with a microphone so their announcements can be heard easily and keep the process organized.

4. Share any Special Situations/Considerations with your Photographer

Inform your photographer of any mobility issues, visual impairments, conflicts, or strained relationships within the family. This will allow them to be sensitive to these factors and adjust their approach accordingly.

5. Give Your Family a Schedule of When/Where These Photos Will Happen

Make sure your families are aware of when and where the family photos will take place, especially if it is not immediately following your wedding ceremony. This will help ensure everyone is present and ready when it’s time for their group shot.

6. Make Your Shot List Accessible to All Guests

Display the photo list on a screen or print it in the ceremony program so that all guests are aware of the order. This will help prevent people from leaving the area if they’re still needed for a photo. This is especially important if there will be group photos with friends and colleagues in addition to the family photos. If time is tight, try your best to stick to the list and defer any requests for additional shots to cocktail hour or the reception.

7. Create One-Way Traffic for People to Come Up to the Front

To maintain efficiency, have the next group waiting on one side while the current group exits on the opposite side. Avoid having guests walk around your photographer in the centre aisle and keep the process streamlined.

8. Ask Your Guests to Put Their Phones and Cameras Away

This tip is probably the hardest to enforce with your guests, but it’s also the one that will save you the most time! A person’s gaze is naturally drawn to people they are familiar with. If multiple phones/cameras are shooting at the same time, not everyone will be looking at the Photographer’s camera when group shots are taken. This can cause delays as your photographer waits for everyone to look at the camera. If you anticipate that your family and guests will be unlikely to cooperate with this request, allow more time for your photographer to complete the shot list.

9. Make an Announcement Immediately After the Ceremony

Before people leave the Ceremony area, have your officiant or group shot assistant announce tips #6 to 8. This ensures that everyone is aware of the order for family and group photos, the request to put away their phones/cameras, and the one-way traffic system for group shots. If you have guests who do not understand English, make sure the announcement is translated so everyone understands what to do.

Remember, the key to successful family photos is clear communication and organization. By following these tips, you can ensure that your family and group photo session runs efficiently and is enjoyable for everyone involved!

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